Forklift truck training website

Saving lives and money by Stuart Taylor - Mentor Training

klift accidentToday at a workplace in the UK one worker will be dealt a life changing injury by a fork lift truck. About three more will have accidents that keep them off work for a week and there'll be more minor incidents than you can count. The same thing will happen again tomorrow. And every day after that. It's a grim kind of lottery, with catastrophic consequences and not just for the employees themselves. Purely as a business cost, the price of an accident can be painfully high and goes far beyond the obvious aspects you might think of.

So what does an accident really cost your business?

HSE and legal costs: This is the part everyone thinks about. After all, the record fine for a UK forklift accident stands at £800,000. A quarter of a million pounds of that figure was HSE costs. Even for a non fatal accident five figure sums are not uncommon not counting compensation to the victim, which can be up to ten times higher again. Plus, with the HSE focusing on supervision as key to reducing accidents, a growing number of managers are now being prosecuted personally. The maximum sentence is two years in prison, or an unlimited fine. Oh, and you'd better brace yourself for your future insurance premiums, too.

Lost working time staff and management: If an employee's injured, there's sick pay, plus overtime to cover their shifts. And the lost time while the accident is cleaned up. And what about your time as manager, dealing with the legal fallout and HSE? Meanwhile there's a measurable fall in productivity when staff feel they're unsafe at work, and a poor accident track record makes it more expensive to find and retain good staff -not to be sniffed at, when Toyota Material Handling estimates every new fork lift truck operator costs in excess of £4,000 to recruit. New workers can be less productive, which could result in more accidents.

In the real world not every accident injures employees, or ends up in a prosecution. So let's talk about real costs you're paying out for, right now. Damage to stock, machinery, fixtures and fittings: Forget about big accidents and court cases for a minute. Think about all the minor accidents, mishaps and scrapes. Dropped loads. Bumped racking. Dented trucks. Those costs come straight off your bottom line - and the scale might shock you. British businesses spend millions - possibly billions - of pounds a year simply repairing racking and fork lift trucks, as well as replacing needlessly damaged stock. Toyota estimates 5% of the total cost of buying and running a forklift is unbudgeted and unscheduled repairs outside of the contract. To put that in context, it's half the purchase or rental price. And that's just the start. As a rule of thumb, for every pound you spend on truck repairs, up to ten pounds of tangible damage is caused elsewhere - racking, buildings, stock and the like. Even a dropped pallet of coffee can have the retail price of a small car.

Toyota says a typical pallet is handled six times during the distribution process - the more a pallet is handled, the more risk to the pallet. Of course it's right to protect employees. But thinking of safety as an overhead cost to prevent some bigger catastrophe is really missing the point. Unsafe practice is costing you money, today.
Too many companies simply write off huge bills damage to fork lift trucks, stock and racking as if they were an inevitable business overhead. They're not. The HSE says 70% of accidents are avoidable.

Safe practice isn't really a precaution at all. It's an opportunity to increase your profitability.