See danger, speak up…

10 August 2015

From 1 September 2015, the Fork Lift Truck Association (FLTA) will be running its ambitious, month long safety campaign - Safetember.

As part of the programme the FLTA will be providing a range of free resources designed to help companies to eradicate bad practice and tackle a range of safety issues on sites of every shape and size, whether the site runs just one or a whole fleet of fork lift trucks (FLTs).

The safety campaign has been extended from one week to a month this year in an effort to mount a larger offensive on the unacceptable number of fork lift truck accidents in our industry. Last year a staggering 800 people were injured in accidents involving FLTs, most resulting in traumatic injuries that will change lives forever. One worker is killed by a fork lift every six weeks in the UK.

When a fork lift truck makes contact with flesh the results are not for the faint hearted – a glance at the accident statistics involving FLTs will reveal the words 'de-gloved' with alarming and stomach churning regularity. Warning: do not Google that phrase if you are in any way squeamish. And it can happen when a fork lift travelling at walking speed simply runs over a foot. FLTs are not like cars.

Eradicating bad safety practice is good for the bottom line

Most companies are aware of the costs of bad practice: time off work, personal injury claims, damage to stock and racking and the down time that accidents cause. The fines and penalties for being caught lacking can put your business and your reputation at risk, with the record fine for a UK fork lift accident standing at £800,000. Importantly, a growing number of managers are now being held accountable and prosecuted personally by the HSE, with a maximum sentence of two years in prison, or an unlimited fine.

Not only that, the shame of facing public prosecution and gaining a reputation for non-compliance may render you unable to attract good staff and be left coping with sky high insurance premiums.

Avoidable costs like these can be eradicated by ensuring that the safety culture in your warehouse is one that encourages and rewards good safety practice.  

Changing Attitudes

The fact is that FLT equipment itself has never been safer.  In recent years manufactures have responded to the accident statistics by introducing a host of innovative modifications that are designed to increase safety.

However safe the truck, though, in order for things to really change - a profound and lasting shift in behaviour and attitude has to take place wherever fork trucks are used.

Through Safetember the FLTA aims to encourage businesses to establish a self-policing environment where bad practice is simply not tolerated by the community. The Association wants to take the lead in ridding British industry of a culture in which employees may spot bad practices but don’t report them, either because they don’t think it is their responsibility or, far worse, fear that they will be ignored, socially excluded or worse.

This means creating an environment where responsibility for safety across a site is shared by all who work there. With all of us looking after each other and those speaking up being encouraged to do so. When this attitude becomes part of all of our shared values we will have a safer industry.

One of the innovative resources that will be available during Safetember is a cleverly designed online attitudinal test for managers, operators and pedestrians - produced in partnership with Mentor Training. Not only will the test highlight safety concerns that are common to all sites, it will also (anonymously) build up a profile of current attitudes and highlight misconceptions and gaps in understanding that can then be addressed.

The resources being delivered during Safetember will include those that support continuing vigilance and reminders so that bad habits do not creep back in. These include videos, guides and posters that will also share many affordable and easy to apply gems of safety wisdom on how to make space use on sites safer, including how to create pedestrian segregation.

During Safetember, Mentor and the FLTA will also release an aide memoire for managers and supervisors, which is a quick reference guide of safety issues concerning fork lift trucks in the workplace. It can be used not only as a prompt but also as documented evidence that necessary checks have been performed.

The aide memoire will be officially launched at the FLTA National Fork Truck Safety Conference at Loughborough University on 23 September, where attendees will each be given a free first copy.

More information on Safetember and to download the resources visit:


National Fork Truck Safety Conference

As part of Safetember, the FLTA National Fork Truck Safety Conference will feature peer-to-peer presentations by the winner of the FLTA Safe Site Award 2015 and some of the Highly Commended finalists, who will share the simple yet award-winning ways that they made their sites safer.

The Safe Site Award recognises and rewards the achievements of companies who have implemented safety measures that have genuinely lowered the risk of damage or injury caused by fork lift trucks on their premises.

These measures often include physical changes to the layout and space use of a site, often aimed at the segregation of pedestrians and fork trucks. By doing so, either by physical barriers, one-way systems or even overhead walkways in one case – they have eradicated many accidents for good.

Also at the Conference will be the Safety Panel, comprising experts from across the industry, who will answer questions covering the entire spectrum of operations and maintenance.

Importantly, the Safety Conference is now also fully Continuous Professional Development (CPD) accredited. As a registered CPD provider the FLTA can now award 4 hours of CPD credits to Conference attendees.

More information (including how to nominate yourself or someone for the 2016 Safe Site Award) is available at: