Vehicles used in the workplace always carry a certain level of risk, whether that vehicle is a golf buggy or a cherry picker.
Some of the most dangerous types of vehicles used in a huge range of industries in the UK, are forklift trucks. This is primarily due to the unstable nature of the truck which means they are likely to tip over if not loaded and operated correctly.
Duty of Care
Every employer has a moral duty of care to protect the health, safety and well-being of their staff. If you do not, you will be directly responsible for any harm they experience as a result.
Alongside this moral duty, as the employer, you also have a legal duty of care to provide your employees with an appropriate level of training that will enable them to fulfil their daily tasks safely.
Fines and Penalties
If you choose to cut costs and provide insufficient training to your staff, or worse, no training at all, you could face extensive fines and penalties enforced by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). If, as a result of substandard training, your employees are involved in an accident, these fines and penalties will increase, and if you are found to have been grossly negligent in your duty of care, you could be looking at a criminal conviction and even imprisonment.
In August last year, a food packaging company, Primopost Ltd, received a substantial fine after a pedestrian suffered serious injuries after being hit by a forklift truck at work.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigated and found the company had not implemented safe working practices as they hadn’t established a separate walkway for pedestrians to use away from forklift traffic.
As a result Primopost were found to have breached the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992, and the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, and were fined £30,000 and ordered to pay £2,979 in court costs.
Even if you escape penalties from the HSE, if your employees are injured at work, they can make a claim against you in the civil courts. If they are successful you will be expected to pay compensation, court costs and fines.
They are much less likely to be successful if you can prove you have fulfilled your legal and moral obligations to them regarding their training and safety.
Another cost to consider is the forklift itself. Forklift trucks are a large investment for any business, so if one is involved in an accident that causes it to be written off or undergo significant repairs, it can be a hefty business loss that you’ll have to foot.
But the cost and the damage will not be limited to the forklift. Forklifts are heavy vehicles, so a crash can cause substantial damage to other machinery, equipment, goods and even the structure of your property.
As a business owner you will be aware that bad publicity can seriously affect your standing in your industry. If you are prosecuted for a forklift accident your business network, suppliers, customers and even your potential employees, could be deterred from working with you in the future.
This can have a huge impact on your profit and revenue, and can ultimately cause your business a loss it can not recover from.
Health and Safety Training Limited
Despite the hundreds of accidents involving forklift trucks every year, with the provision of proper training your operatives will be able to identify, understand and avoid the risks. Without this training, the business owner is wholly liable for any injuries, or damage that result from an accident, and this can be a very costly consequence.
To find out more about how forklift training can protect your workers and your business, simply get in touch with the team at Health and Safety Training Ltd. We have years of experience tailoring training courses to meet the specific requirements of businesses and their operatives, so you can rely on us to help you create a safe working environment.