It has been reported that during some visits to companies the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) inspectors found that workers often didn’t wear seatbelts, and the forklift driving operations were not suitably managed within the company. The speed at which some drivers drove was also not controlled, leading to a dangerous situation for many employees.
Forklift trucks are involved in hundreds of accidents in the UK each year, very often resulting in serious or fatal injuries. Make sure you manage your driving operations properly in your workplace.
5 Top Tips for Safe Operation of Forklift Trucks
- Ensure that all of your forklift truck activities are risk assessed so any dangers are identified. Consider how reversing operations should be safely carried out – aim to limit reversing where possible, and use one-way systems to keep vehicles moving in the same direction. Keep pedestrians separate from driving operations by using barriers and specific pedestrian walkways.
- Make sure all drivers are suitably trained for the type of forklift they will be driving (e.g. counterbalance or reach). The training undertaken should include the activities they will be expected to do in their role, so doing it on your own premises is a good idea if possible. Organise refresher training at regular intervals.
- Workers need to know the safe operation rules. Use regular toolbox talks or similar training to remind them of the speed limits, the required use of seatbelts to prevent them falling out of the cab, and the need to carry out pre-use checks each time they use a forklift truck.
- Make sure your pre-use checks include verifying that all safety features are present and working – this includes mirrors, reversing lights, alarms, and seatbelts. Drivers should sign to say that they have completed the checks. Have a system in place whereby any defects are reported immediately, and the truck is taken out of use until repaired. Remember also that forklift trucks need to be under a scheme of thorough examination by a competent person.
- Check the local environment regularly, to ensure lift trucks can operate safely. The ground should be level, free from potholes and able to take the weight of the vehicles on it. Ensure good housekeeping levels are maintained, and that rubbish does not accumulate in the driving areas.
Contact us should you require assistance.