Fork lift safety: bosses 'often weak link'


Many managers are less aware of fork lift truck safety risks than the employees they supervise, the Fork Lift Truck Association (FLTA) has claimed. Unveiling a collection of free safety resources for supervisors, offered throughout September to mark the third annual National Fork Lift Safety Week, Association chief executive David Ellison commented that busy managers are "too often the weak link", lacking the necessary awareness to implement and enforce safe working practices.


 
"British workers are killed or hospitalised by fork lift trucks, literally on a daily basis," he said. "The risks those frontline staff face are influenced very significantly by the decisions their supervisors make. However, those line managers can be very busy, perhaps with several areas of responsibility. Often, they have had no formal fork lift truck safety training, and as a result are less able than their employees to understand potential risks, or spot dangerous working habits."
 
To help address the issue, the FLTA is offering a free, downloadable PowerPoint presentation and Good Practice Checklist at its website www.fork-truck.org.uk, giving managers an immediate insight into the key issues. Although accident figures have fallen significantly since the Safety Week's inception, the fork lift truck is by far the most dangerous category of workplace transport and it is hoped that by encouraging managers at every level to take safety more seriously, the injury toll could fall still further.
 
Ellison continues: "From casual agency staff to the managing director, who influences policies, budgets and an organisation's culture, everyone at whatever size of business has a crucial role to play in safety. Given the risks involved, anybody responsible for staff who work near fork lift trucks really owes it to them to spend at least a few minutes reviewing the major issues and perhaps pass the materials on to their own line manager in turn. We've already seen that a little awareness can make a real difference now we want to spread the message."

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