Why There is a Need for Training
Health and Safety in the workplace is paramount. Investing in professional training is money well spent. With the knowledge that having received this training, your company is now compliant with HSE Regulations and Recommendations. Associated benefits can also mean minimised risk to workplace incidents and accidents, as well as less equipment damage, lower insurance premiums, lower legal costs, higher productivity and not forgetting less waste and damaged stock.
The need for professional training for lift truck operators is pressing, every year there are about 8000 reportable injuries involving lift trucks, these injuries, some fatal, create suffering for those involved and their dependants. They also involve a heavy cost to the employers. Scroll down to read case studies associated with accidents in the work place.
Lift truck accidents are frequently associated with lack of suitable and sufficient operator training. Such training is an essential first step in reducing damage and injury.
The HSE (Health and Safety Executive) state that under the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations (PUWER) 1998 under Regulation 9 - Training:
Every employer should ensure that all persons who use work equipment have received adequate training for purposes of health and safety, including training in the methods which may be adopted when using the work equipment, any risks which such use may entail and precautions to be taken.
More information can be found by visiting www.hsebooks.co.uk
At Surrey Forklift Training we can offer training and instruction for operators, supervisors and managers from our qualified instructors.
Instructor Training courses are also available for companies who require the need for an in-house instructor or for individuals who wish to work as lift truck instructors.
We offer a number of courses both on site and from our RTITB accredited training centre in Broadstairs. Each course is designed to meet existing and proposed legislation in the training of operators.
As many companies operate shift working hours, we offer flexible courses to suit your business needs. See what courses Surrey Forklift Training can offer you. Please contact us for more information and a detailed quote.
The following case studies have been taken from the HSE Workplace Transport Safety 'An Employers Guide' booklet - HSG 136.
More relevant legislation can be found in the following publications, all available by visiting www.hse.gov.uk
Case Study 1
A site employee suffered severe injuries when he was trapped against a doorframe by a lift truck, driven by an untrained operator. When a delivery arrived earlier than expected, there wasn't a trained lift truck operator available on site. The delivery driver decided to operate the site lift truck himself to unload. He reversed into pallets, over-corrected and reversed into the site employee.
The site operator should have made sure that only authorised people could use the lift truck. The site operator and the driver's employer should have liaised and agreed procedures for unloading deliveries. These procedures should have included fixing a time for vehicles to arrive with deliveries. The driver should not have tried to operate a site vehicle without authorisation.
Case Study 2
An elderly shopper was crushed to death by a lift truck at a DIY store.
During prosecution, the firm claimed that the day of the accident was an isolated incident and control of lift truck movements at the store did not comply with the company's own guidelines. However, CCTV tapes seized during the investigation showed that lift trucks were used in public areas of the store on a number of occasions during the six months prior to the accident, and in a manner unsuitable for public areas.
The prosecution was successful, and the firm was fined £550 000 with £250 000 costs.
Case Study 3
An employee was injured by a 360° excavator, which was operating in a poorly organised scrapyard.
The employee was removing a part from a vehicle when the reversing excavator, which had been converted for use as a vehicle grab, hit him and the track went over his right leg. The excavator was not fitted with devices to improve visibility from the cab, such as rear-mounted convex mirrors or CCTV, and the driver had not received formal excavator training. The excavator was working within 3 or 4 m of the injured worker on a daily basis, had knocked him once before and would often lift scrap cars over his head.
After the accident, the firm reorganised the yard and fenced off the area where employees were manually dismantling vehicles. The excavator is now used in a pedestrian-free area.
Case Study 4
A company was fined a total of £20 000 after a reversing vehicle at its site killed a delivery driver.
The driver was delivering goods when the accident happened. Standing by the side of his lorry after overseeing the removal of its load, he was struck by a reversing lift truck. He died instantly.
The company had failed to carry out a suitable risk assessment for the movement of loads at the site. This would have shown the need for lift trucks to avoid reversing for long distances, and that drivers should be removed from the danger area. They should have installed suitable barriers to prevent pedestrians gaining access to areas where vehicles were working, and established a formal system for supervising site visitors.
It had also become common practice for heavy goods vehicles to reverse onto the site from the public highway, putting pedestrians at further risk of being struck by vehicles.
Since the death, the company has issued health and safety guidelines to all visitors and has improved the supervision of vehicle and pedestrian movements on site.
Case Study 5
A temporary worker was struck by a lift truck and injured as he left the site at the end of the day. As he crossed in front of a door used by lift trucks, he suffered serious injuries when the forks of an emerging vehicle knocked him down.
The employee had not heard the vehicle horn and had received no information on general workplace hazards and how to avoid them. Vehicle and pedestrian routes were not marked or segregated. There were no markings on the doors to indicate their use and drivers could not see employees outside the building, as there were no vision panels in the doors.
The site operator is responsible for assessing the risks at the workplace arising out of work activities, and for taking the measures necessary to reduce those risks so that they are as low as ‘reasonably practicable’.
Case Study 6
A food-factory dispatch clerk was killed instantly when she was knocked down and run over by the bucket of a 15-tonne loading shovel.
Risk assessments failed to identify workplace transport issues adequately. It was regular practice for staff to walk across a warehouse where the loading shovel was operating, and no measures were put in place to prevent this.
The judge identified 'fundamental flaws of the management' and the firm was fined £400 000 following a prosecution.
Case Study 7
A joiner suffered severe head injuries when he fell from the top of a stack of timber on the back of a flatbed lorry.
The joiner was helping to unload the delivery when he climbed on top of a timber stack. While edging along the stack, he lost his footing and fell. An unloading bay with a concrete platform was available to provide safe access for unloading vehicles, but was not used.
Case Study 8
An employee of a logistics firm was delivering to a distribution warehouse in a curtain-sided lorry, when he received a serious hand injury.
A warehouse employee was using a fork-lift truck to offload pallets of newspapers. The trailer’s centre pole was obstructing one of the pallets. The lorry driver tried to remove the pole manually, but other pallets were pushing against it so he couldn’t remove the locking pin. It was decided to relieve pressure on the locking pin by using the fork-lift truck to push the pole, and the lorry driver’s hand was either struck or trapped by one of the forks, which severed his index finger.
The firms’ risk assessments had failed to identify this unsafe system of work, which was common practice in the warehouse. Both firms were prosecuted and have now revised their systems and trained staff how to remove poles safely.
Case Study 9
An employee received fatal injuries when he was crushed between the mast and the top of the overhead guard of an industrial counterbalance lift truck.
He accidentally operated the mast tilt with his boot as he climbed onto the dashboard to wrap plastic film over the overhead structure to protect himself from heavy rain. The lift truck engine had been left on and handbrake off.
Although eight lift truck drivers worked for the firm, several had not had refresher training for many years, and two had received no training at all. The use of cling film for weather protection was common, as was the fitting of wood or metal covers on lift trucks.
The truck was mainly used outside, but the company had not assessed the need for a cover. Appropriate weatherproofing should have been fitted; access to the bulkhead should have been restricted and accidental use of the controls prevented by fitting a transparent half-screen.
The firm was prosecuted and fined £5000 with £3000 costs.
Case Study 10
A shunt driver fell from a lorry cab because of a faulty door. He hit his head on a concrete floor at his company's depot and died some days later from his injuries.
The company had failed to deal with the faulty handle because of a 'systemic failure' in the company's vehicle checks. The shunt vehicles were treated as low priority for repairs and maintenance, and vehicle servicing was often late.
The company was fined £150 000 and ordered to pay £21 000 in costs. Since the accident, new vehicles have been bought and maintenance improved.
Case Study 11
An employee driving an all-terrain vehicle (ATV) received spinal injuries after the vehicle overturned while he reversed it down a slope.
To prevent the ATV from landing on him, the driver arched his back and pushed the ATV away from him. He was not wearing a helmet, and tried to protect himself as the vehicle overturned. He and other employees had received no training and the wearing of helmets was not enforced.
The company was issued an enforcement notice to train employees in the correct use of ATVs.
Case Study 12
A bus driver was run over and killed by a double-decker bus while he walking across the depot yard.
It was dark and raining, and the driver had just parked his bus. The company had not controlled the risks that resulted from vehicle movement in the yard. They failed to segregate vehicles and pedestrians, had not provided suitable signs and road markings, and the lighting was poor.
The bus company were prosecuted and fined
£50 000 with £15 000 costs.
Case Study 13
The driver of a lift truck was injured when he was struck by a pallet falling from the back of the goods vehicle he was unloading.
The goods vehicle was loaded with pallets of flat-packed cardboard boxes, packed three pallets high. The forks did not reach high enough to unload the top pallet, so the driver tried to unload the top two pallets in one go. The top pallet toppled and fell approximately 3m, hitting the driver.
The lift truck did not have enough reach and was therefore not suitable for the task. A lift truck with protection against falling objects was also needed for work where objects could fall on the driver. It is the employer’s responsibility to provide equipment that is suitable for its intended use.
Case Study 14
A self-employed lorry driver suffered a broken leg when scrap steel fell from the trailer of his vehicle.
Case Study 15
A worker died when his vehicle toppled over an unprotected edge.
A weighbridge was set near the entrance of a waste-handling site. It was raised about 30 cm above the level of the surrounding ground, and had no edge protection.
An employee driving a 2.5 tonne counterbalance lift truck followed regular practice and drove across the elevated weighbridge when a trailer blocked the normal site access road. The rear left wheel went over a 22 cm vertical edge and the truck toppled onto its side. The truck was not fitted with a seat belt, and the driver died when his head was struck by part of the lift truck frame.
Risk assessments had identified the potential for overturning - and the lack of a seatbelt - but no remedial action had been taken. The firm was prosecuted and fined.
Case Study 16
A worker fell over 2m from a pallet balanced on the forks of a lift truck.
Pallets of sacks were stored three high but had settled unevenly. This sometimes made retrieving of the top sack difficult.
Using pallets raised on the forks of a lift truck as a work platform is dangerous, and is a common cause of accidents in warehouses. Pallet racking and a safer way of accessing the sacks should have been provided.
Access should have been gained using a mobile elevated work platform, a purpose-built and properly secured lift-truck working platform, or a stepladder.
Case Study 17
An experienced LGV driver suffered head injuries when he fell approximately 4m from the top of a stack of pallets loaded on to a flatbed trailer.
He had climbed on top of the load to release a snagged rope used for securing the pallets.
A safe means of access to the top of the pallets should have been used, for example a mobile elevated work platform.
Climbing on top of loads should be avoided whenever 'reasonably practicable', and should not be attempted without appropriate precautions. The employer is responsible for instructing employees on the use of safe working practices.