Graph depicting falling rate of forklift accidents in the UK.
The Fork Lift Truck Association (FLTA) is encouraged by new Health & Safety Executive (HSE) statistics showing a significant fall in UK forklift accidents since the introduction of its National Safety Week, but is reminding managers that there is still much more to do.
Announcing the dates of this year's Safety Week, from 20-26 September, FLTA CEO David Ellison confirms that last year's overall accident toll was the lowest recorded in the century - down 25% from the average annual figure.
The fall contrasts with accident figures for other workplace transport, like light goods vehicles (LGVs).
Workplace transport analysis on the HSE website states that the number of accidents involving LGVs has remained "broadly flat over recent years" but the number of forklift injuries fell sharply over the last year, leaving it 13% below that of 2001/02 for the first time. (The HSE only started providing forklift-related injury data in 2001/02.)
Forklift-related deaths and injuries among members of the public dropped last year to 59% below the average of 14 deaths, a statistics the FLTA hopes is a reflection of the wide targeting of its safety message.
"It is far too early to fully appreciate whether this is a two-year blip or an ongoing trend but any reduction in the injury toll is, of course, extremely welcome," Ellison says.
He adds that the coinciding of the improvement with the start of FLTA's Safety Week campaigns is "most encouraging".
"Clearly there is no room for complacency. Serious forklift-related accidents remain all too common and still hospitalise UK workers at a rate of more than one per day. But these figures show the difference that individual workers, managers and forklift operators can make with just a little more care."
The FLTA introduced National Fork Lift Safety Week in 2008 to reduce the number of British forklift accidents attributable to human error, through complacency or lack of awareness of basic safety procedures.
For information on National Fork Lift Safety Week or to download free safety resources, go to www.fork-truck.org.uk