Up to 20% of all workplace accidents in Europe each year are thought to be directly related to maintenance issues. David Ellison, Chief Executive of the Fork Lift Truck Association explains the important role of maintenance in running a healthy workplace.

Just as fork lift truck users depend on service engineers to provide them with safe equipment, so service engineers depend on their customers to provide them with safe workplaces. This interdependence is one that should never be taken for granted.

Healthy Workplaces, the European campaign on safe maintenance, aims to raise awareness of the high risk of serious injury, or even death, as a result of poor maintenance practices and related issues. The campaign, which will run through to November 2011, has been coordinated by the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work with the backing of both the European Parliament and European Commission.

The Fork Lift Truck Association fully endorses the aims and objectives of this important campaign, and will continue to do so long after the official closing event.

Healthy trucks, healthy site

Companies across all industries invest in fork lift trucks. In practice the user is only interested in performance levels. And a fork lift truck makes it all look easy – effortlessly lifting a couple of tons time after time. But appearances are deceptive. A fork truck’s work is not effortless and working parts need to be routinely cleaned, lubricated, cooled, adjusted or replaced. This, however, takes time and resources to achieve.

Without proper maintenance, things can go wrong in the workplace, creating a unhealthy environment. Leading to excessive fumes, unpredictable performance, oil and hydraulic fluid leaks. At worst, a chain may fail with catastrophic results. This is, however, extremely unlikely in properly maintained and inspected fork lift trucks.

Neglecting your fork lift truck will ultimately cause break downs. Once this happens, it’s incredibly difficult to move a truck safely and is likely to screw up operations until a service engineer arrives.

True, there is no guarantee that maintenance will prevent all breakdowns… but it will help. Taking a proactive approach is good for your trucks, your site and your business.

However, as a user, don’t stop reading. You have a duty of care to anyone who works on your premises – including service engineers who bring all sorts of hazards…

The Healthy Workplaces campaign guide identifies many that are commonly faced by visiting service engineers.

Any service engineer employed by a FLTA Member has access to Health and Safety guidance, generic Risk Assessments and Technical Bulletins. Importantly, he’s aware that he may need to ask for assistance from his customer to provide himself with a healthy workplace. This is where the interdependent connection between service engineer and customer is crucial.


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