Tony Wallis, sales and marketing director for Toyota Material Handling, explains why firms should focus on three key areas to achieve maximum safety and efficiency.
As an employer you have a legal responsibility to ensure the health and safety of your employees. There are more than 800 accidents a year in the UK involving forklift trucks and in the worst scenario it can cause death.
Even when an incident does not result in a personal injury, it can result in damage to trucks, infrastructure and goods, which means reduced productivity and increased cost.
So it is important that you do everything you can to protect the people who operate forklifts or work alongside them.
Toyota Material Handling UK believes that companies that operate material handling equipment should focus on three key areas to be safe and efficient; people, product and process.
PRODUCT – Suitability for use
Forklifts should be suitable for the task, but also take into account the working conditions and health and safety risks. When choosing new or used equipment make sure you receive a full site survey from the supplier to identify the best options for your business.
If you are buying new equipment, check it conforms to the requirements of European Community law; it must be CE marked and come with a Declaration of Conformity.
PROCESS – Keeping your truck safe
Managers and operators need to work together to ensure the truck and the site in which it operates remain safe. Having a regular service and maintenance schedule for powered and manual trucks is the first step.
Your trucks should be inspected in line with the number of hours and working environment. If you own or operate a forklift truck, you are required by law to make sure it meets safety requirements of LOLER98 and PUWER98.
A Thorough Examination accredited by the CFTS meets and exceeds your obligations under LOLER98 and PUWER98. In addition, at the start of each day/shift you should ensure operators carry out daily checks to ensure the truck is in a safe condition to operate.
PEOPLE – Culture of safety
Safety on site is the responsibility of everybody: managers, operators and pedestrians, and it starts with good communication and training.
Operator training can help make your operation safer and help your operators work more efficiently. As an employer you need to ensure that employees have adequate training on all necessary equipment.
A training programme should cover all areas of driver and site safety, including site speed limits, mobile phone use and the wearing of PPE. Make sure both operators and pedestrians follow the site safety rules – and that they are clearly visible throughout the site.
Regular risk assessments on your operation will help identify areas for improvement.