News story

Safety convention calls for leadership

Wednesday, 20 November 2019 ( #950 ) - Coventry, United Kingdom
Another successful National Forklift Safety Convention
Another successful National Forklift Safety Convention
Delegates from around the UK attended the recent National Forklift Safety Convention at the Heart of England Conference Centre in Coventry to hear a number of expert speakers share insights and advice on how to improve forklift safety.

Keynote speaker Kanwal Kanda, head of transportation for the HSE, underlined the need for constant monitoring as bad practice often develops over time through inadequate management systems which allow opportunities for correction to be missed, ignored or misunderstood.

Exploring the ways that safety can be evaluated, Mike Belson of Aggregate Industries pointed out that the absence of accidents doesn't equate to the existence of safety. He suggested that rather than evaluating success by the things you don't want to happen (accidents and incidents), safety should be measured by the things you want to see.

According to behavioural psychologist Prof Tim Marsh, for change to be successful, management must engage meaningfully with those who work on and alongside forklifts in order to obtain their total buy-in. "A company's culture is what happens when you're not there," he explained. "When it comes to operating safely, your staff know all the answers... all you need to do is ask them ... and genuinely listen.

"Trust is key to improving a company's culture and that works both ways. Be prepared for mistakes - they are inevitable, but they are also an opportunity to learn and improve. Above all, avoid blame as that is corrosive to trust. And remember, you can't just tell a workforce to behave differently - is changing the situation is ten times easier than changing the person. If you want your people to care, you have to show them the company cares."

Explaining the value of the event, FLTA chief executive Tim Waples said: "The Convention provides delegates with the opportunity to see the latest equipment first-hand in the Safety Exhibition, to receive guidance from leading experts, and to network with like-minded colleagues willing to share their experiences and solutions."

"The convention is invaluable as it brings the industry together for a common goal: ensuring best practice and creating safer places to work. It's something directly relevant to every company that uses even a single forklift," he added.

The annual event is organised by the Fork Lift Truck Association.
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