Manufacturing: 10% of workforce, 25% of fatalities

Posted on 9 Apr 2013

Despite improving health and safety regulations, workplace injuries and accidents in manufacturing are still too commonplace, law firm says.

The Health and Safety Executive has reported that despite manufacturing industries only accounting for 10% of the UK workforce, the sector is responsible for 25% of employee fatalities and 16% of reported injuries to employees.

The type of work heavily influences the prevalence of factory accidents claims, with work involving the use of fork lift trucks considered by the HSE to be “particularly dangerous in the workplace.”

The HSE report asserts that around 15% of the reported major injuries were caused by moving machinery, with fork lift accidents contributing to those statistics.

Considering accidents at work, Asons executive Laura Williams, said: “Fork lift accidents are known to be common and the dangers are well publicized; employers have a responsibility to ensure they have met the legal minimums for basic training fulfilling the ‘duty of care’ they have to their employees.”

Employers who utilise fork lift trucks within the workplace can put in place various procedures to minimise the associated risks:

• Provide operators and ground personnel with appropriate personal protective equipment, including: high visibility jackets, hard hats and safety boots.

• Attempt to separate areas of forklift operations from those used by pedestrians

• Protective barriers should be erected just outside entrances and exits to prevent ground personnel from stepping into the path of moving fork lift trucks.

• Fork lift routes should be clearly marked, giving way to pedestrians where possible.

• Supervisors and trained professionals should be present to identify arising issues before a serious incident occurs.

• Fork lift trucks should be well maintained, according to health and safety standards.

“From reading the statistics and considering my professional experience, the majority of factory accidents are easily preventable; especially in the case of fork lift accidents,” said Asons claims executive Becki Raby.

“Following procedures, in this case, saves lives; more employers should take note.”