Article date: 29 May 2008
Almost a quarter of all workplace transport incidents involve forklift trucksi, Norwich Union is warning, as part of its Simply Safety campaign.
Of the 21,190 injuries involving forklift trucks reported between 2001-2006, 94 were fatal and 15,338 resulted in people being absent from work for three or more days.ii
Phil Grace, liability risk manager, Norwich Union says: "Forklift trucks are particularly dangerous in the workplace, with the most common types of accidents involving workers being struck or run over by a vehicle, or being hit by something falling from the vehicle.
"Other accidents can involve individuals falling from vehicles or the vehicles overturning. These types of incidents are most commonly caused by workers operating the vehicle incorrectly, or by failure to follow training."
According to Grace, it is vital that each driver is given adequate training when they are recruited and when they are exposed to new risks, with managers taking steps to ensure that training is followed
"The premises can also be another cause of accidents relating to forklift trucks," adds Grace.
"Traffic routes in a workplace must be suitable for the vehicles that use them. Surfaces should not be uneven, potholed or slippery, and slopes should not be too steep, causing vehicles to overturn. Traffic routes should also be clearly marked and well lit if used at night.
"Route junctions should be minimised and separate loading areas should be clearly identified."
Grace advises that selecting equipment appropriately is also key to reducing risks.
He says: "Forklift trucks must be suitable for the task and should not be used unless they are fitted with appropriate visual or audible warning devices. Attachments should only be fitted if they are in accordance with the manufacturer's regulations.
"Employers or managers have a duty to ensure that all operators of forklift trucks are fit and competent to operate their vehicles, and that their machines and attachments are maintained correctly," continues Grace.
"By law, employers and supervisors must understand their workplace hazards and risks and take steps to eliminate or reduce them. It is also important that supervisors accept the responsibility to communicate any identified hazards and the necessary measures to control them.
"The key to minimising the dangers associated with forklift trucks is good training, supervision and cooperation between workers and duty holders," concludes Grace.
A one-day "Workplace Transport" course, which provides information to help ensure vehicle movements in the workplace are carried out safely, is available from Norwich Union Risk Services www.nurs.co.uk/.
For further information, please contact:
Alex Anderson at Staniforth on 0161 919 8021 or Sally Leeman at Norwich Union on 01603 684225/ 07789 270677.
Notes to editors:
Norwich Union is the UK's largest general insurer with a market share of around 15%, with a focus on insurance for individuals and small businesses.
It is a leading provider of life, pensions and investment products and one of the largest financial adviser (FA) providers. FAs provide over 70% of the company's long-term savings business in the UK.
Norwich Union's news releases and a selection of images are available from Aviva's internet press centre at www.aviva.com/media.