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The hidden dangers of forklift trucks

The hidden dangers of forklift trucks

Posted 5 months ago by in

In 2017/18 there were over 8,000 reported accidents involving the use of forklift trucks in the UK each year, unfortunately, 144 of these were fatalities. Understanding the risks associated with forklift trucks, methods of prevention and if necessary how an individual can gain compensation if they are involved in an accident is paramount.

The Fork Lift Truck Association, explains the seriousness of this machine. He claims that every working day, five lives are changed from forklift truck accidents. These time-saving machines can cause debilitating and life-changing injuries to those that operate them or happen to be in their path. These injuries include complex fractures, dislocations, deglovings and even amputations. Employers must take full responsibility for these incidents and look for methods of prevention.

According to Advanced Forklift Truck Training (AFTT) 70% of all accidents could be prevented with correct training, a safe warehouse or factory and safety briefings.

Training
Training is provided by numerous awarding bodies including the Road Transport Industry Training Board (RTITB) and National Plant Operators Registration Scheme (NPORS). They offer various courses from complete novice to refresher to ensure operators are up to speed on the latest practices.

Novice training consists of a mixture of theory relating to forklift truck operation and health & safety. Similarly to driving a car test, the practical training is conducted to ensure the operator is confident when using the machine.

Refresher training may be conducted if an operator is found to be unsafe, has been in an accident or near miss, received a poor evaluation, or when there are workplace changes e.g. type of truck or environment.

A safe warehouse or factory space
It is common in many warehouses and factories using forklift trucks to have coloured walkways that are separate to the path of the forklift truck. Barriers, lights and yellow tape are common indicators of this.

Investment in the correct safety materials, such as industrial floor marking tape, anti-slip flooring and sufficient lighting throughout a warehouse or factory space can make the world of difference for staff safety.

Adhering to the codes of the walkways will ensure safe travel across pathways and around the areas of operation.

Maintaining a forklift truck
In many warehouses, forklift trucks are an indispensable piece of machinery and regular maintenance will help to prevent workplace accidents whilst increasing the lifespan of a truck.

They’re among the most rugged and reliable warehouse machines and have been designed to excel in tough conditions but they do need to be regularly serviced. The level of maintenance received will be a major factor in a forklift trucks performance and longevity.

There’s a number of points to consider when determining the frequency in which a forklift needs to be serviced that includes age, condition, hours of operation, obvious damage and tyre condition.

Regular maintenance of a forklift will help prevent major downtime and any future expensive repair costs.
What do I do if I have an accident?
Although prevention is always the desired outcome, unfortunately, incidents involving forklift trucks are on the rise. With this in mind, it is important to know what you can do if you have an incident.

The process to follow if you have experienced an accident is:

• Record the incident in the Accident Report Book. If serious, it should be reported in accordance with RIDDOR (Reporting Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995)
• Details, including full name, address and contact information, of any witnesses to the accident should be recorded to corroborate with what happened
• The work first aider should provide initial medical assistance until an ambulance arrives. If a workplace does not have a first aider, this is classed as negligence on behalf of the employer
Matthew Trusch, Partner at Aequitas Legal commented: “The number of claims relating to forklift trucks is increasing. We’d urge anyone involved in an accident to get in touch. Aequitas Legal provide free consultations for anyone who may have been involved in an accident up to three years after it has occurred.”

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