Health and Safety within the Workplace – Forklift Trucks

Forklift in warehouse

Safety within the Workplace – Forklift Trucks

Forklift trucks and other types of lift trucks are involved in around a quarter of all workplace transport related accidents. These accidents can often be put down to poor supervision and lack of training.

As an employer, you have numerous duties under various health and safety law. Employees and the self-employed also have duties to look after their own health and safety.

Employers must:

• Ensure that you assess and control the risks within your workplace

• Manage health and safety by ensuring responsibilities are clearly allocated

• Consult with your work force in good time on health and safety matters

• Ensure all managers, supervisors, employees and contractors are competent to do their work properly

• Co-operate with others within shared workplaces to ensure all parties can meet their health and safety duties

Ensure the workplace is safe for the people and vehicles using it:

• Careful consideration will need to be given to traffic routes, ensuring FLT’s and people can move around safely

• Reasonable adjustments should be made to avoid putting disabled people at a disadvantage in the workplace

• Consideration for one-way systems to help prevent conflicting movements caused by two-way traffic flow

• Segregation of pedestrians from vehicles, preferably by making routes entirely separate

• Provision of appropriate, suitably marked and sign posted pedestrian crossing points

• Provision of barriers to prevent pedestrians crossing at particularly dangerous points

• Allow for good visibility to enable drivers, and pedestrians to see and avoid hazards

• Limiting the speed of vehicles can control traffic; however careful consideration should be given when considering traffic calming measures as they can sometimes increase the risk by affecting the stability of a load being carried by a FLT

• Ensure clear signs are located around the site

• Ensure all traffic routes have suitable and sufficient lighting

• Avoid using FLT’s that generate potentially harmful exhaust fumes

• Ensure good communication, co-operation and planning to allow for safe loading and unloading for deliveries

Legal Requirements surrounding Forklift Trucks:

• FLT’s must be suitable for their purpose, taking into account the environment they are going to be used in and for the loads they need to carry

• Forklift drivers should hold evidence of training and receive some form of specific job training and familiarisation training

• After employees have successfully completed their training, you are required to give them written authorisation to operate the lift trucks they have been trained to use

• FLT’s should only be used for what they are designed for. FLT’s are generally intended for lifting materials and not people. In certain circumstances, where it has been planned, FLT’s can be used with integrated and non-integrated working platforms to allow people to work at height

• If your FLT is used to lift people, you must be aware that there are legal requirements for a thorough test and examination of the FLT and lifting equipment to be completed at least every 6 months, as opposed to 12 months if only being used to lift materials

• Every employer must ensure that the work equipment is maintained in an efficient state (daily user checks, planned maintenance and 6-12 monthly through examination).

• You should maintain and ongoing programme for re-assessment and refresher training

For a FREE Forklift Safety poster or if you need any advice or assistance, contact us on 08450 267 745 or submit a request below:

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Written by Neil Whitney, CFS Health and Safety Consultant based in the Midlands.

Neil has worked in Health and Safety for the past 10 years, supplying a range of industries with health and safety solutions. Neil is currently working towards a NEBOSH Diploma, with NEBOSH General and Construction Certificates already under his belt.