Towards a safer warehouse
12 March 2023
Accidents are typically the result of multiple failings, so any solution needs to take all aspects of the workplace into account. Stuart Taylor explains further.
WHEN IT comes to workplace safety, basic operator training is by no means a magic bullet. That may sound surprising coming from someone whose business specialises in delivering forklift operator training… but it’s true.
Operator training is, of course, crucial. But, alone, it is not enough. You can train operators to the highest standards, but it will only reduce the risk of an accident by so much. There are other essential measures which have to be in place within a business to ensure you can maintain a safe working environment.
Imagine your operation as a building, where each safety measure is an individual building block. Together they form a strong, robust structure. Remove one block, and it weakens. Remove too many and the whole thing collapses.
So, what are those crucial building blocks? For businesses whose operations involve forklift trucks, they will include a number of measures.
Operator training: Basic/novice training will equip operators with the core skills to operate a lift truck safely and efficiently, but they must also receive job-specific and familiarisation training to understand the tasks, loads, site layouts and procedures associated with their job.
Safe Systems of Work: Safe Systems of Work (SSOW) are a defined set of rules for different aspects of an operation. Without them, employees can operate at their own discretion, leading to bad habits and risk-taking.
Manager and supervisor training: Operators have a responsibility to work correctly but, managers and supervisors need the knowledge and understanding to spot bad practice and potential hazards so that they can maintain a safe working environment.
Monitoring and supervision: Not only do managers and supervisors need the underlying forklift safety knowledge, they must be proactive in ensuring best practice is followed day-to-day, monitoring operator skills and arranging additional training where necessary.
Awareness training for those on foot: Safety awareness among pedestrians working around forklift trucks will help them understand the associated dangers, and the role they can play in minimising risk.
These are just some of the key building blocks you need in place to create and maintain a safe, compliant and productive business. Without even one or two of these blocks, the safety of your operation is weakened significantly. The more blocks that are missing, the greater the danger of an accident. This may not happen immediately, but the risk level increases. Remember, accidents are rarely a result of one issue – they are usually caused by a combination of multiple failings.
Not only must all elements be in place, they must be continually maintained to ensure that your organisation’s approach to safety remains effective and robust for the long term.
I’ll be developing this concept further at this year’s Health & Safety Event at the NEC Birmingham on the 27th April 2023, in the Practical Safety theatre. If you’re attending, stop by for a deeper dive into the topic or visit the Mentor FLT Training stand to speak to the team about your safety and training strategy. Stand 3/L47
Stuart Taylor, managing director, Mentor FLT Training
For more information, visit http://bit.ly/3IQZoYY