The road transport industry now has the UK's worst forklift safety record, accounting for about 25% of the overall injury toll, according to new figures released for the Fork Lift Truck Association (FLTA)'s National Fork Lift Safety Week.
The National Fork Lift Safety Week 2011 runs from 19-25 September. To boost awareness of forklift safety, the FLTA circulated a list of industries with the worst accident record - as well as the most improved.
They show a 237% increase in forklift-related injuries to road freight employees since 2001/02. The industry has gone from having the UK's fifth-worst figure just seven years ago, to having more forklift incidents than the next four industries combined today.
About 384 haulage employees were injured by forklifts in 2009/10 compared to 114 in 2001/02. The change contrasts sharply with a sustained national improvement in the forklift safety record since the Safety Week campaign was introduced in 2008.
Conversely, the storage and warehousing industry, previously the UK's worst for forklift safety, saw a 77% improvement, from 308 injuries to 71, over the same time scale.
The figures, extracted by the FLTA from RIDDOR (Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995) reports published by the Health & Safety Executive, include injuries that required workers to take three days or longer off work, as well as hospitalisations and fatalities.
The HSE believes non-fatal injuries are substantially under-reported, meaning the true accident toll could actually be higher.
Industries surveyed saw an average 28% improvement in the safety record since 2001; several of these recorded some extremely impressive changes - notably the textile industry, which recorded no accidents in 2009/10.
FLTA CEO David Ellison says that the wide variance between industries shows that awareness and management attitude can have an impact on forklift safety. "Storage and warehousing, in particular, once had the worst forklift safety record of any industry, so it's good to see them get to grips with the issue.
"Sadly, there are obviously some other industries where the safety message has yet to be fully understood, and where workers face unacceptable risks. Forklift injuries are frequently extremely serious and managers have a legal and moral duty to ensure safe working systems, good equipment and proper training are in place."
Free resources are available for download from www.fork-truck.org.uk
until the end of October. Companies in the identified risk industries are advised to email the FLTA at firstname.lastname@example.org
to request a free employee safety booklet.
|Forklift injuries: the most dangerous industries|
|Total injuries outright|| (2009/10)|
|Freight Transport by Road||384|
|Food & Beverage Manufacturing||114|
|Storage & Warehousing||71|
|Food & Beverage Retail||59|
|Metal Products Manufacturing||53|
|Forklift injuries: the most improved major industries (% decrease since 2001/2)|
|Textile & Carpet Manufacturing||100% (0 accidents reported)|
|Electrical Product Manufacturing||79%|
|Storage & Warehousing||77%|
|Motor Vehicles - Maintenance & Repair||76%|