Use of fork lift trucks in workplaces across Britain is widespread, with over 30,000 new trucks being bought every year in the UK. Unfortunately, fork lift truck accidents are common too, with approximately 8,000 happening every year.
Employers have many responsibilities to ensure using forklifts is as safe for everyone as possible. This includes maintaining the trucks, training and the setup of the work area. Some of these issues are looked at in more detail below.
A suitable working area
Employers have a duty to ensure the area where trucks operate is suitable for all users. This includes:
- Making sure the area is well lit
- The area is clear of obstructions
- Pedestrian and truck areas are segregated, with any crossing points clearly marked
- Warning signs are displayed highlighting that trucks may be in operation
- The area is of sufficient height and width for safe lifting
It is worth knowing that pedestrians and fellow workers are most at risk, with 58% of accidents resulting in injuries to non-drivers. A suitable working area can help prevent common accidents where someone is struck, trapped or crushed by a moving truck.
It goes without saying that fork lift trucks should not be used to lift people unless a proper work platform is used, as this could cause a fall from height accident. Also, no one should walk under a load as it is being lifted.
Maintenance of trucks
Employers have a legal requirement to ensure that trucks are maintained properly to help keep them safe to use. There should be a well documented regime of daily and pre shift checks that amongst other things might include:
- Checking mechanical fluid levels
- Checking forks for cracks and defects
- Checking tyre pressures
- Checking for other defects
In addition to this, drivers must be provided with helmets and restraining devices to protect them should there be an accident. Training of drivers is also critical, and should be carried out by an accredited trainer before a new driver is allowed to be in control of a truck.
Correct truck maintenance and driver training can help minimise accidents which result from mechanical faults, the truck overturning and collisions.
Compensation for truck accidents
Unfortunately accidents involving fork lift trucks still happen despite all the laws aimed at preventing them. If you have been injured in such an accident it can be difficult to know if your employer is at fault. This is where expert knowledge is invaluable.
If you have suffered any injury from a fork lift truck accident, then the best thing to do is to seek free expert legal advice about your exact circumstances.