A GUIDANCE NOTE ON THE SAFE USE OF FORK LIFT TRUCKS

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1 abcde A GUIDANCE NOTE ON THE SAFE USE OF FORK LIFT TRUCKS Public Protection Services Health and Safety Section Civic Offices Colwyn Bay, LL29 8AR

2 This guidance note has been prepared by the Environmental Health Departments Health and Safety section. The guidance is not exhaustive and employers are reminded of their continued responsibility to ensure the health and safety of employees and others such as members of the public who may be affected by the way you run your business. Please do not hesitate to contact this department if we can be of assistance regarding any of the items referred to. The Health and Safety at Work Act 1999 requires employers to ensure the health, safety and welfare of employees and members of the public who might be affected by the way you run your business. The employer is required to provide employees with appropriate Health and Safety instruction, training and supervision. Employers with 5 or more employees at any one time are required to provide employees with a written health and safety policy. The health and safety policy requires to be a working document, which details safety controls for a particular work place designed as a point of reference to lessen the risk of accident and ill health. The safety policy should comprise of three parts. 1. The company s health and safety policy 2. The names of people within the organization with specific responsibilities for safety 3. The arrangements within the organization to ensure safe systems of work. The management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1974 require you to examine what in your work could cause harm to people so that you can weigh up whether you have taken adequate precautions or should do more to meet what the law says you must do. The Regulations require employers with 5 or more employees to record the significant findings of the risk assessment. Lift trucks are widely used throughout industry for moving materials and goods, but they also feature prominently in worksite accidents. Every year there are about 8000 lift truck accidents resulting in injury, on average ten of them fatal. These injuries cause suffering for the people involved and their dependents, and often incur heavy costs for the employer s business. Even an accident not causing injury may result in costly damage to lift trucks, buildings, fittings and the goods being handled, and may disrupt work. No one should be permitted to operate a lift truck unless they have been selected, trained and authorised to do so. The approved code of practice and guidance for rider operated lift trucks, operator training provides practical guidance on the training necessary for the safe operation of rider operated lift trucks. Potential lift truck operators should be selected carefully. Employers should choose people who have shown themselves to have a reliable and mature attitude to their work and who have the ability to do the job in a responsible manner. The safe control and operation of lift trucks calls for a reasonable degree of both physical and mental fitness and intelligence.

3 Training It is a legal requirement that all operators of forklift trucks are properly trained and supervised. The employer must keep records of all training given to individuals, including refresher training. The forklift truck driver training certificate should be kept on the premises and be readily available for inspection. The training and supervision of lift truck operators should include an appreciation of all the measurers necessary to ensure the safe use of lift trucks within the workplace. It is the employer s legal duty to ensure that safety is correctly managed within the workplace. The training of operators should always include the three stages, including: 1. Basics 2. Specifics 3. Familiarisation The first two stages of training can be combined and should take place off the job away from normal operational pressures. Familiarisation training needs to be done on the job under close supervision. 1. BASIC TRAINING - This should cover the skills and knowledge required to operate a lift truck safely and efficiently. 2. SPECIFIC JOB TRAINING - This should be tailored to the employer s needs and should include; a) knowledge of the operating principals and controls of the lift truck to be used, including any handling attachments that will be used. The routine inspection and servicing of the lift truck in accordance with the operator s handbook or with instructions issued by the manufacturer should be covered insofar as they may reasonably be carried out by the operator. b) the use of the forklift truck in conditions the operator will meet in the workplace,such as slopes or confined areas. Instruction should be given on speed limits and safe system of work designed to prevent accidents. c) The work to be undertaken, for example, loading and unloading particular kinds of merchandise. It is important that basics and specific job training is carried out by a competent instructor such as an authorised person from a training organisation.

4 3. FAMILIARISATION TRAINING This training is given at the workplace under close supervision by someone with appropriate knowledge and will cover the application of the skills learned to normal working conditions. Protecting Pedestrians and Operators Lift trucks account for a large number of often-serious accidents in workplaces. People can be kept safe through safer systems of work and the provision of physical protection. The following controls can be used to lessen the risk of accidents involving forklift trucks within the workplace. 1. Provide sufficient clear and unambiguous warning signs at strategic locations to inform people that forklift trucks operate in the area. 2. Define, designate and clearly mark pedestrian routes and crossing places. 3. Pedestrians, where possible should be segregated from vehicle routes by a physical barrier. 4. Audible warning devices on lift trucks these vary from the simple manually operated horn to the automatic reversing bleeper. 5. Flashing beacons on lift trucks the use of these devices may be effective, particularly when lighting is poor or lift trucks operate intermittently. 6. The provision of high visibility clothing or light coloured overalls can help prevent accidents. 7. Instruct employees to stand clear of forklift trucks that are lifting or lowering loads and to use separate walkways where provided. PEOPLE should be reminded of the dangers of entering areas such as those behind the lift truck where they may not be fully visible to the driver. 8. Check that the need for reversing manoeuvres is kept to a minimum and where reversing is necessary that it is undertaken safely and in a safe manner. 9. Is there scope for introducing one-way systems to reduce the need for reversing? 10. Can you exclude non-essential personnel from the area? 11. Is there a need for a signaller (banksman) to direct delivery vehicles. 12. Have you put controls in place to monitor and supervise the driving of forklift trucks in the workplace. 13. Have appropriate speed restrictions been set where required. Maintenance and Examination of Fork Lift Trucks Employers should have: 1. A system for reporting defects and for ensuring that remedial work is carried out. 2. A planned routine maintenance system. Manufacturer s instructions on inspection and servicing should be followed. The operator unless suitably qualified and authorised should not carry out repairs and adjustments to the truck.

5 In order to comply with the lifting operation and lifting equipment regulations, all working parts of the truck including the chain and ropes should be thoroughly examined at least once every six months. Such examinations should be carried out by a competent person such as an insurance company engineer or manufacturer. A certificate should be issued by the examiner that the truck is free from defects that could effect its safe operation. The certificate should be retained by the employer. Where the examination shows that the truck is unsafe for use, it should be taken out of service until the necessary remedial repairs can be carried out. Further information can be obtained from: 1. Safety in Working with Lift Trucks ISBN Rider Operator Lift Truck: Operator Training Approved Code of Practice and Guidance L Five Steps to Risk Assessment INDG Workplace Transport Safety HS(G) 136. ISBN Public Protection Services or HSE Information Services Health and Safety Section Caerphilly Business Park Civic Offices Caerphilly Colwyn Bay CF83 3GG LL29 8AR

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