Peter Harvey, Chief Executive of the Fork Lift Truck Association

As you set off for work each day, you would understandably expect to finish your workday in your home or maybe the pub… not in a hospital.

Peter Harvey - 1But for more than 800 workers each year, accidents involving fork lift trucks result in serious injuries. The very nature and size of fork lift trucks means that many of these injuries are life-changing. And not just for the victim. Workplace accidents affect the lives of families, friends, communities and co-workers… forever.

Fork lift trucks account for more than a quarter of all workplace transport accidents – making them by far the most dangerous vehicle to anyone working on or near them.

We must address this situation more determinedly than ever and this year’s Safety Conference (24th September) – the focal point of Safety Week (22- 28th September) – provides an opportunity to do just that.

In recent months, the FLTA has worked closely with representatives from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), Safety Conference sponsor Briggs Equipment, Warehouse & Logistics News, and other leading bodies and materials handling experts to identify the biggest challenges facing employers and managers, as well as the operators and the ‘frontline’ staff who work alongside them.

Through these important discussions, it became clear that as tempting as it is to think of a lift truck as the ‘killer in your warehouse’, a workplace culture which permits bad practice to go unchallenged is every bit as dangerous.

Research undertaken in partnership with the FLTA looked more closely at the issue of the ‘culture of silence’ among workers and found that the majority of respondents felt unable to share their concerns about dangerous behaviours – whether from fear, lack of action or feeling it’s not their responsibility to do so.

The aim of this year’s Safety Conference – and our annual Safety Week campaign – is to provide companies of every size with a simple framework that allows everyone on site to participate in improving fork lift truck safety in a positive, blame-free environment.

What better way to achieve this than to call upon companies who have already analysed the problems and developed the strategies and mechanisms to deliver profound cultural change?

Safety Conference delegates will benefit from their peers’ experiences in a series of frank and practical presentations. Among them will be representatives from Babcock Marine, who will reveal details of their site’s much-admired, award-winning strategy for total engagement.

Similarly, event sponsor Briggs Equipment will share how its “Safety Gains” campaign created a framework for change… and the enabling environment that allowed it to flourish.

Throughout this packed conference programme, our emphasis will be on giving managers and supervisors practical and proven advice that works in a wide-range of industries – including some ‘quick wins’ to help you drive new safety initiatives.

BeSafeSurrounding the conference – and continuing long beyond it – Safety Week returns to shine a spotlight on the issue of fork lift safety. As ever, it will provide interesting, relevant and interactive resources to reach the widest audience – engaging them to find the real killer in their warehouse.

Among the materials being developed this year – in association with Mentor, the UK’s foremost provider of operator training to the materials handling industry – will be a series of hazard perception tests designed to encourage anyone involved with fork trucks to test their knowledge… and discover ways to improve it to enhance their personal safety.

The Conference is open to everyone, though discounted entry is available to members of the Fork Lift Truck Association and its Safe User Group. To find out more, or to register for updates, go to, call 01635 277577 or email today.

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