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National Fork Lift Safety Week 2013

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National Fork Lift Safety Week 2013

This year Fork Lift Safety Week runs from 23rd September through to 27th and, as ever, aims to raise awareness around a serious issue in the workplace. The annual campaign is led by the Fork Lift Truck Association and is designed to coincide with a particularly problematic time of year. For some reason late summer sees a regular increase in forklift related accidents. With this in mind, the week is aimed at warehouse managers, logistics executives, forklift truck operators, picking staff and the wider public to try and reduce the number of injuries caused by operating this sort of machinery.

Roughly four hundred employees suffer serious injuries per year following involvement in a forklift truck accident. These injuries range from fractures to dislocations and sometimes result in amputations and long term conditions. It is also worth remembering that forklift truck accidents are responsible for the fatality of a British worker every six weeks over the course of a year. Even more sobering, the usual fatality rate doubles during the month of September.

However, it is not just forklift drivers who need to know about the sort of safety issues raised under the campaign. Of course, forklift operatives should be trained in safety procedures already, even if this awareness ought to be refreshed by the week’s campaign. Note that, the figures relating to industrial accidents caused by forklift trucks demonstrate that it is not just drivers who suffer injury. On the contrary, the majority of these types of accidents lead to injuries for people who were not operating the equipment at the time. As much as two thirds of forklift injuries fall into this category. Therefore raising awareness among the general public, and anyone who might visit a warehouse in particular, is just as essential as targeting forklift operatives themselves.

The safety week aims to bring drivers and their managers up to speed with the latest government regulations surrounding health and safety law. It also means that many employees will learn about best practice guidelines – something that can change from year to year. Furthermore, the campaign aims to encourage workers to be more engaged with their own safety and that of their colleagues, rather than leaving it to managers. Ultimately, the campaign is designed to help reduce the number of accidents in the following twelve months.

Many forklift related accidents occur when workers on foot are distracted or unaware of the proximity of a forklift truck. Visitors to warehouses who are unfamiliar with forklift safety regulations are a particularly vulnerable group. The campaign will highlight the need for operatives to remain ever vigilant when driving a forklift truck and to anticipate problems, like people stepping out in front of them. As with previous years, the awareness campaign will also encourage those who engage with it to spread the word among colleagues about safety measures and vigilance.

About one million people in the country are expected to be involved with the week long campaign at some level. Launched in 2008, this year’s campaign includes a free online resource which is designed to test knowledge surrounding forklift safety and raise awareness of some new issues. The programme will culminate with the National Fork Lift Safety Conference which is run by experts in the field. Held at the University of Warwick, the conference is open to anyone with an interest in this area of workplace safety.

This year’s conference aims to provide a more engaging and hands on approach than ever before with plenty of educational material to get involved with.

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