Looking at the HSE website we were surprised on how many businesses continue to overlook the dangers posed by operating fork lift trucks in the workplace. Invariably it seems that the incidents of people being badly hurt tend to come down to basic failures; namely poor or no risk assessment and a lack of training.
Failures to complete risk assessments is inexcusable as its been the basis for providing a safe and healthy workplace for over 20 years; taking the time to look at the risks within a business really can make such a difference. Of course if done badly, just for the sake of compliance, then it will protect no one.
The same goes for training take the time to plan it out and deliver good training can not only make a workplace safer but also more productive in our experience. Decide to deliver tick box induction training again won’t protect your workers, you or your business.
The following cases show that even larger businesses are guilty of doing the basics well:
Pickfords the nationwide removals and storage company has been sentenced for safety failings after a forklift truck reversed into a worker at an Essex site, causing serious injuries. A worker was struck by the truck as he stood by the cab of a removals lorry during a loading operation at Pickfords’ Appletree Farm site. The man suffered three broken toes when the front of his left foot was forced into the steel toecap of his boot during the impact. He also suffered a dislocation of the upper foot as well as bruising.
The HSE prosecuted Pickfords Ltd after an investigation found that the company didn’t have sufficient procedures in place to keep pedestrians away from operating forklift trucks. The court was told that the forklift truck also had had a broken reversing alarm when the incident happened, which had not been working for over a year.
In another HSE case an agency worker was left with life-changing injuries when his leg had to be amputated after he was crushed between a moving vehicle and a water tank. The 32-year-old was trapped for almost an hour before being freed by emergency services at the premises of Con Mech Engineers Ltd in Stanley, County Durham.
The worker was in hospital for a month. His right leg had to be amputated below the knee, and then later above the knee, while his left leg also suffered a fractured femur and severe crush injuries.
The incident was investigated by the HSE which again found serious safety failings. It was found that Con Mech Engineers Ltd had failed to assess and identify the risk posed to workers from contact with the dangerous moving vehicle, which runs on a fixed track transporting heavy components. As a consequence, it had failed to provide effective measures to prevent any contact.
These are two life changing incidents for the men involved and really could have been easily avoided yet their businesses chose to overlook the need to do the basic right. We suggest you don’t let this happen in your business.