Peter Harvey MBE is chief executive of the Fork Lift Truck Association.
offers some advice to prevent the loading bay from becoming a disaster area.
Bringing together forklifts, lorries, their drivers and other workers on foot, loading bays can be risky business for those overseeing workplace transport. Indeed, more than a quarter of accidents occur there.
Train everyone... not just drivers
Training is the key to reducing this risk and it cannot be stressed strongly enough that this should not be restricted to operators.
Working day in, day out with trucks, drivers are aware of the dangers associated with operations. However, their colleagues on foot often are not.
This may contribute to the fact that 57% of those injured by forklifts were not
driving one at the time of impact.
Drawing on 'common sense', many simply make a dangerous assumption that an operator has seen them ... only realising their mistake when it is too late.
For this reason, any employee who may come into contact with forklifts, no matter how infrequently or distantly, should be made aware of the dangers they pose. More importantly, they need to know what they must do to avoid them.
Ideally, this should be done before that first interaction occurs - preferably, as part of induction training. Our Employee Safety guide book has been designed for just this purpose and includes guidance for managers and supervisors, too.
Whether a worker on foot has been with you for an hour or a decade, it's never too late for him to benefit from this knowledge. By sharing it across a warehouse, managers and supervisors will benefit from a workforce that recognises when bad practice occurs and feels confident to speak up about it.
Segregate pedestrians and forklifts
Segregating pedestrians and trucks reduces that danger further. Introducing controls and barriers is easiest to implement in a new build, but existing workspaces can also benefit from systems such as:
* Signs and signals;
* Barriers, pedestrian crossings and 'give way' markings;
* Clearly designated pedestrian routes.
There are other steps which managers and supervisors should strongly consider, such as:
* Enforcing speed limits for trucks working near pedestrians;
* Prohibiting use of mobile phones and personal stereos;
* Establishing waiting areas (pens) for lorry drivers during loading/unloading.
The FLTA realises that keeping up with the latest developments in best practice can be arduous. Legislative literature can be lengthy and complex - and you have a company to run!
With this in mind, we created the Safe User Group. It is designed to keep members informed of all industry-relevant developments. We cut through the jargon, and deliver the information and resources needed to keep your workforce safe and productive.
Keep loading bays safe