The autumn chill is creeping in and even though construction season might be coming to an end, it's important to remember that some equipment operates in our warehouses and stock rooms all year round. In the UK, there are an estimated 1300 forklift accidents every year, which breaks down to roughly 5 accidents a day.
Sponsored by Windsor Handling, Safetember is a month long safety initiative that aims to raise awareness about the risks of working with forklifts, and reduce the number of accidents that occur every day.
According to a statement on the FLTA website:
The reason we do this – and the reason Safetember is so important – is because the ubiquitous fork lift truck is the most dangerous form of workplace transport in the UK; it is responsible for more accidents and serious injuries every year than even HGVs.
The statement fits in perfectly with this year's theme You don't walk away from a forklift accident, which highlights the severity and life altering implications these accidents can have. Due to the size of the equipment, and the heavy weight of the loads they normally carry, accidents related to forklifts often involve serious, life-changing injuries.
According to a post on Lift and Access, the three most common forklift accidents are:
- Forklift overturn
- Worker struck by a forklift
- Falls from a forklift
None of these scenarios sound pleasant and by following just a few simple guidelines, most of them can be avoided all together. Next time you are operating, or working in the same area, as a forklift, consider the following:
- Operators must be qualified. Forklifts are considered heavy machinery and shouldn't be used as an elevator or transport. Only workers who have received the proper training and license should be allowed to operate a forklift.
- Consider the surrounding environment. Always be aware of who and what is around you while operating a forklift. Keep an eye out for other workers in the vicinity, and ensure you drive only in designated areas and take extra care where loading docks and height clearances are present.
- Ensure your load is stable, secure and evenly distributed. Before you begin moving a load, make sure that the load is properly stacked across both forks. this will keep it from falling as the vehicle begins to move. Loads that are uneven may become unstable and fall from the forks, which could lead to damage or injuries.
- It is everyone's responsibility to stay safe around heavy machinery. If you are working in the vicinity of a forklift, always be aware of where the forklift is operating and what kind of load it is moving. Stay out of its path and give the operator as much room as possible to maneuver the equipment.
#Safetember is for anyone who wants to make the workplace a little bit safer, and the easiest way to help is to spread the word! Whether you want to share the FLTA's resources or share your personal experiences with forklifts, use the hashtag #Safetember, and don't forget to show @theflta some support by throwing in a mention.