Mentor Training: Economic recovery can lead to a hike in accident rates.
Forklift accidents could increase with the improving UK economy unless companies invest in workforce training.
This will be the focus of a message to delegates at next week's National Fork Lift Truck Safety Conference by Mentor Training's Stuart Taylor.
Taylor will explain how sudden economic shifts often lead to a spike in accident rates.
"The connection between recession and accidents is clear," he says. "In tough economic times, struggling companies can be pressured to make cutbacks, and inevitably that leads to an increase in accidents.
"What's less well known is that an upturn is dangerous, too. While workloads increase, confidence takes time to return. There's an understandable reluctance to expand teams and invest in new equipment and skills.
"For workers, that can mean longer hours, at higher intensity, under more pressure - until, ultimately, mistakes are made."
Although forklift accidents have fallen considerably in recent years, Taylor explains, there is no room for complacency. Forklifts still account for a large proportion of all British workplace transport accidents, and workers are hospitalised on a daily basis.
Management and supervisor training have a role to play in determining the safety impact of increasing throughput at materials handling sites.
Taylor says: "Managers promote and maintain a company's safety standards ... The latest version of the L117 Approved Code of Practice confirms that management safety training is compulsory. Combine that with the strong financial benefits of lower damage and improved efficiency, reputation and morale, and it's a pretty compelling case."
The Fork Lift Truck Association's 11th National Fork Lift Truck Safety Conference will take place at Warwick University on Wednesday, 25 September.