To any warehouse operation, fork lift trucks are an essential piece of workplace equipment but they are dangerous, especially when pedestrians are also working in the same space. They are responsible for more serious accidents at work than those involving cars and Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGV's) put together. It is reported that every day a worker needs hospital treatment and one worker is killed every six weeks after being injured by a fork lift truck. In addition over 8,000 reportable injuries take place every year and not too mention all those that are not even reported.
Reports show that over 60% of accidents involving a fork lift truck cause injury to someone who was not the driver of the truck. This means that people working near trucks are at an increased risk of being injured, especially the general public who may be visiting a store and not aware of the truck operating nearby.
There are a number of ways that someone can be injured when working on or near fork lift trucks -
- A truck collides or crushes a pedestrian, or simply runs into them
- Loads are not secure and get dropped onto passers-by
- Fork lift trucks collides with warehouse racking, doors or walls and hurt people nearby
- Pedestrians walk into the trucks path
- Fork lift trucks topple over due to holes in the floor or other unsuitable surfaces, eg slopes
- Trucks topple over due to lifting too heavy weights or over-reaching
The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations state that pedestrians and vehicles should circulate in a safe way and most of the accidents above can be prevented with some fore-thought and sensible working arrangements.
Solicitors like accidents involving fork lift trucks as there are many of them and it is usually easy to prove that the driver was negligent for some reason e.g. driver did not have the correct license, incorrect or no training or a failure in process or operation as the truck was able to hit someone.
Most of these are relatively easy to protect against although it will mean that business owners have to provide training and on-going monitoring. Unfortunately human nature means that if you are told not to do something you instinctively do it. Telling people not to go near trucks for some reason doesn't work so you may have to provide physical protection for staff as if they get injured you will be held responsible - even if it was their fault.
Nigel J Welford is a qualified Health & Safety professional and believes in making health and safety as simple as possible whilst still being effective and meeting all the regulations. For his free report "The Secret To How Health & Safety Can Improve Your Business And Profits: 7 Everyday Pitfalls To Avoid" from http://bit.ly/TI68sD
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