A fatal crash between a forklift and a heavy goods vehicle has prompted the Fork Lift Truck Association (FLTA) to remind forklift users of the laws governing safe operation on public roads.
Michael Moran, 50, from Warrington, died when the forklift he was driving collided with a lorry on a road outside an industrial facility in Runcorn. The accident is another to occur in the borough of Halton, highlighted by the FLTA as the UK's worst hotspot for forklift fatalities and targeted for special support during last year's National Fork Lift Safety Week.
Details of the accident are under investigation but the location of the crash has caused the association to remind companies using forklifts on public roads of their responsibilities.
FLTA CEO David Ellison says any forklift driven on a public road must be registered, taxed and insured even if you are only unloading or crossing between sites.
"What's more, these rules apply anywhere the public could reasonably have access - such as a car park or forecourt," he says.
Ellison stresses that the operator must hold a valid car licence and that a provisional licence will not suffice. "Banned" drivers are also not allowed to operate a forklift on the road.
"In addition, if the truck will travel more than 1,000 yards, it will also need to comply with the Construction and Use Regulations or have Type Approval. These rules can be tricky to understand. Our members' technical bulletin summarising the key points is 14 pages long.
"Mature operators with good road sense should be used. Other road users will not understand that forklifts swing out as they turn and that operators have restricted visibility. Flashing orange beacons can be a real bonus and having a colleague help with manoeuvring can be useful at busy or difficult locations.
"If you are in any doubt at all, consult your local FLTA member, or read the free fact sheet on our website," Ellison explains.
A free fact sheet on best practice when using a forklifts on public roads is available from the FLTA website www.fork-truck.org.uk
. FLTA stresses that its safety alert is general in nature and while prompted by the Runcorn accident, is not a comment on the operating arrangements in place on the site.