As part of a commitment to raise standards and improve the safe operation of materials handling equipment, the British Industrial Truck Association (BITA) is championing the UK introduction of National Forklift Safety Day. Secretary General, James Clark, outlines the plans.
Already in its sixth year in the United States of America, National Forklift Safety Day will debut in the UK on 11th June 2019 as part of a global promotion to raise awareness of the safe use of forklifts and the importance of proper operator training.
Working closely with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), key trade association partners including UKWA and FLTA, and media partners including SHD Logistics, BITA is leading the initiative to promote National Forklift Safety Day in the UK.
Figures released by the HSE in October 2018 report over 3.9 million days being lost in 2017/2018 due to non-fatal workplace injuries with an estimated cost to the UK economy of over £5.5 billion. Forklift injuries are included in these statistics and a delve into the figures reveals forklifts remain the most dangerous form of workplace transport, accounting for 25 per cent of workplace transport injuries.
National Forklift Safety Day will focus on raising awareness of safe working practices with end users of materials handling equipment – and this is where BITA members have significant influence. For the HSE, enforcement of seat belt use on forklift trucks is a hot topic and BITA, through their members and other supporting trade associations, will be working to raise awareness of this issue and others through a strong social media and poster campaign.
BITA plays a pivotal role in the materials handling industry, helping set and maintain the highest technical standards while working continuously to improve forklift safety. The numerous standards governing design, manufacture, operation and maintenance of industrial trucks reflect the diversity of the sector, and these standards are continually being reviewed and revised. BITA distils the key points and actions required for operators and users into its regular executive briefings and offers a wide range of essential safety and technical publications, available online via the BITA website – with many free to access for BITA members.
With this role in mind, 11th June 2019 will also be the day for BITA’s next Thought Leadership conference. Health and safety will naturally form the central theme of the day’s programme as members and partners come together with other key invited guests to learn, influence and network – more details to follow soon.
As part of BITA’s continued commitment to lifting industry standards, the Design4Safety Awards will run this year alongside BITA’s co-owned exhibition, IMHX 2019. A judging panel is currently being assembled and more details will be announced in the May issue of SHD Logistics but the purpose of the awards is to highlight the importance of a product or service design in improving safety. By focusing on ‘design for safety’, innovative thinking will be recognised, regardless of the type or cost of product or service.