Stuart Taylor of Mentor FLT Training explains why those working alongside forklift trucks should understand the risks to help keep themselves and others safe.
According to RIDDOR figures from recent years, 43% of incidents involving a forklift truck were impacts with a third person. These include pedestrians engaged in unrelated activities, co-workers, supervisors and delivery drivers. Only recently a company in Blackpool was fined £40,000 after a worker was struck by a forklift.
Unlike operator training, awareness training for those working alongside Materials Handling Equipment (MHE) is often overlooked, and yet, these individuals are the most vulnerable. While the operator is protected by the truck’s cab, pedestrians are exposed and most likely to sustain a serious injury, should something go wrong.
Remember, when we refer to pedestrians, we don’t just mean colleagues who work in the area. It includes visitors, delivery drivers, staff members from other areas of the company and even forklift drivers themselves, once they have dismounted from their trucks. Anyone who may find themselves in the vicinity of MHE is at risk.
Ultimately, it is the responsibility of forklift operators (and their manager/employers) to ensure forklifts are used safely on-site. Ensuring that measures such as operator training, safe systems of work and regular monitoring are in place will undoubtedly help to create safer operations.
But further improvements can be made by providing basic awareness to those most at risk and preparing all staff to handle potentially dangerous scenarios safely. Real gains can come from ensuring that everyone working in the vicinity of MHE understands what to do – and what not to do – to keep themselves and others safe.
What steps can pedestrians take?
Training for all
It’s important that everyone at risk understands the importance of following safety measures, and the potential consequences if they don’t. By increasing forklift safety awareness across the board, you can ensure that everyone is equipped to contribute to a safer site.
Disclaimer. The legislative information contained on this web site is my interpretation of the law based on many years in the health and safety business. A definitive interpretation can only be given by the courts. I will therefore not be held responsible for any accident/incident/prosecution arising as a consequence of anyone using any information obtained from this web site.
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