Road transport worst for forklift safety

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The road transport industry now has the UK’s worst fork lift truck safety record, accounting for around a quarter of the overall UK injury toll, according to figures collated by the Fork Lift Truck Association for National Fork Lift Safety Week.

The figures show a 237 per cent increase in lift truck-related injuries to road freight employees since 2001/02 – meaning the industry has gone from having the UK’s fifth worst figure just seven years ago, to having more lift truck accidents than the next four industries combined today.

Some 384 haulage employees were injured by fork lift trucks in 2009/10, compared to just 114 in 2001/02. The change starkly with a sustained national improvement in the fork lift safety record since the Safety Week campaign was introduced.

However, the storage and warehousing industry – previously the UK’s worst for fork lift safety – saw a 77 per cent improvement, from 308 injuries to 71, over the same time scale.

The figures, extracted by the FLTA from RIDDOR reports published by the Health & Safety Executive, include injuries that required workers to take three days or longer off work, as well as hospitalisations and fatalities.

FLTA chief executive David Ellison says: “Although the economic downturn will obviously have had some bearing on materials handling activity levels, the wide variance between industries show that awareness and management attitude can have a far greater impact.

“Sadly, there are obviously some other industries where the safety message has yet to be fully understood, and where workers face unacceptable risks. Fork lift truck injuries are frequently extremely serious – sometimes fatal – and managers have a legal and moral duty to ensure safe working systems, good equipment and proper training are in place.”

National Fork Lift Safety Week runs from 19-25 September. As part of it, The FLTA is running a Safety Conference on 21 September.

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