As part of its commitment to raising safety standards across the materials handling industry, the British Industrial Truck Association (BITA) is once again championing the cause of National Forklift Safety Day – with a new theme for 2020.
The inaugural UK National Forklift Safety Day took place in 2019 to great acclaim, with BITA leading the campaign and working closely with its members, together with supporting industry associations and other stakeholders to convey the safety message to as wide an audience as possible.
The 2019 campaign message was that the correct use of seat belts can save lives and that it is the responsibility of management to ensure that where fitted, operator restraints are always used.
This year, the campaign – which will take place on Tuesday 9th June – has a different theme but one that conveys an equally important safety message.
The purpose of National Forklift Safety Day 2020 is to raise awareness of safe working practices amongst anyone working on or near, materials handling equipment. The message for 2020 is that for all sites where materials handling equipment is in operation, effective systems must be in place to keep pedestrians and co-workers safe from collision with such equipment – and the best way of ensuring this is by physical separation.
Therefore, BITA will be promoting the campaign message that Management is responsible for segregating pedestrians from Materials Handling equipment.
Accident figures based on RIDDOR (Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations) over the last three years show that 43% of incidents involving a forklift truck were impacts with a third person. Of these, around 65% were pedestrians engaged in activities unrelated to the immediate truck operation, 20% were co-workers/supervisors and 15% delivery drivers watching or assisting with loading/unloading their vehicle.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE), which is backing this year’s campaign, stipulates there must be adequate segregation of forklift trucks and pedestrians within the workplace. A risk assessment must be carried out where frequent MHE movements take place to ensure the safety of all personnel within the workplace.
The 2020 campaign will focus heavily on the vital safety function played by a correctly implemented risk study.
The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 require all employers to carry out a suitable risk assessment to protect employees and others. To be effective, the assessment should be broken down into stages so that potential hazards are identified, who could be at risk from them – and how, what steps should be taken to eliminate the hazards, how the findings are to be recorded and that the plan is flexible enough so that periodic reviews can be conducted to ensure it remains effective.
A hazard is defined as anything that could potentially cause harm to someone. In a warehouse or factory environment where materials handling equipment is being used there are myriad hazards, therefore, the plan must be conducted by a qualified member of staff, who has experience of properly assessing risk.
The risk assessment must also be specific to a site, its equipment and the loads being handled. It may sound obvious, but it must also demonstrate that steps have been taken to eliminate risk.
BITA is proud to be delivering National Forklift Safety Day once again. The campaign provides an opportunity for everyone to promote a safer materials handling industry and to propagate best practice across the industry. We hope that you will join us.