Peter Harvey MBE is chief executive of the Fork Lift Truck Association.
While forklifts play a fundamental role in many industries allowing businesses to work productively and efficiently, without due care and attention, their impressive achievements can come at a high price.
Here in the UK, forklift accidents change the lives of approximately 1,000 people each year. Deglovings, amputations and dislocations are common results for those who survive.
Perhaps surprisingly, it is workers on foot, rather than drivers, who are most at risk of accident, accounting for 57% of serious injuries.
You don't plan to have an accident and no-one ever wants one, but it can happen to any company and in any industry.
That's why, as an association, we feel it's vital to communicate the dangers inherent in forklift operations and the consequences of an accident as widely as possible. New partners
In recent months, we've held talks with a number of key trade bodies that represent industries heavily dependent on forklifts.
I'm pleased to say that these discussions have proved very successful. To date, we've already have six major trade bodies partner with the FLTA for safety. These include:
The British Association of Removers (BAR) - the trade association for the UK removal industry, dedicated to promoting professional excellence.
The Builders Merchant Federation (BMF) - the only organisation representing and protecting the interests of merchants in suppliers to the merchanting industry.
The Event Supplier and Services Association (ESSA) - the trade body representing the very best suppliers of goods and services to the events industry.
The Food Storage & Distribution Federation (FSDF) - the sole UK trade body focusing on representing and supporting the interests of the entire food and drink logistics industry.
The Timber Trades Federation (TFF) - the UK's foremost membership body for the timber supply chain, embracing importers, merchants, agents and manufacturers.
The United Kingdom Warehousing Association (UKWA) - Britain's leading trade association for the warehousing and logistics industry.
The enthusiasm we've seen so far from our new partners - particularly during Safetember - has been incredibly positive and I must applaud each and every one of them for their level of engagement.
It's still early days, but this hints at a brighter (and safer) future for their members and their workforces.
These six associations are the pioneers of a new class of membership: partnership members. It is a relationship that will be truly symbiotic. Our partners will have access to a huge raft of exclusive safety resources and be encouraged to take part in our award-winning safety events and the FLTA's core membership will learn much more about the issues facing our partners and be party to their campaigns and promotions. The benefits
For the members of these new partner organisations - those who actually own and operate forklifts, there is the opportunity to join the FLTA's Safe User Group membership at specially negotiated and discounted rates.
Many dangers lurk in warehouses
The Safe User Group, which was formed in 2001, is an important part of what we do. It was established to ensure managers and supervisors are always 'in the know' when it comes to legislation and best practice and are well-supported as they put that knowledge into practice on site.
While every FLTA member is updated with the latest information, Safe User Group membership tailors that knowledge specifically to the needs of those overseeing forklift operations.
Membership gives them an extra layer of support, including: health and safety bulletins, technical bulletins, fact sheets, and a free expert advice helpline. On top of that, they get access to Safer Site Pro - a 26-part program which helps managers and supervisors steer their sites towards safety. It's packed with practical advice and guidance, as well as practical tasks and resources.
Welcoming these new voices from different industries will also contribute greatly to our members' shared knowledge and experience. Having their new thoughts and perspectives in the mix will help us shape what we can and should be doing to best support our goal.
The more bodies which partner with us and join in with the important work we're doing, the better.
In the weeks, months and years ahead, I hope to see the association working with and partnering more and more organisations with a unified goal: to help deliver a safer tomorrow.