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Forklift Truck Safety

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 18 Aug 2017 | comments*Discuss
 
Forklift Truck Safety Health And Safety

There are reputed to be over 8,000 reported accidents involving the use of forklift trucks in the UK each year and some of these result in fatalities. The majority of these accidents are caused by the lack of sufficient training of the operator, operator error, a lack of knowledge about the equipment and the working environment, bad truck maintenance, poor lighting conditions, inadequate gangways and unsuitable premises in which forklift trucks are used. In fact, slightly more pedestrians are injured as the result of a forklift accident than the operators themselves.

Legal Requirements

Several pieces of legislation apply when it comes to the use of a forklift truck and employers and operators need to be aware of the relevant legislation from the following:

  • The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974
  • The Provision and Use of Workplace Equipment Regulations
  • The Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations
  • The Workplace (Health, Safety & Welfare Regulations
  • The Noise at Work Regulations
  • The Personal Protective Equipment Regulations
  • The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations

Forklift Truck Training

Firstly, it is against the law for anybody below school leaving age to operate a forklift truck. And, if the trucks are driven at all on public highways, then the same legislation which applies to all road users with regards to the legal minimum age also applies. Operators must receive adequate training which must be administered by an accredited trainer. The training should be broken down into several stages and should initially be carried out in a safe area and not in a ‘real work operation’ situation. It should include:

  • The basic knowledge and skills required to operate a forklift truck safely
  • Specific job training related to the knowledge of the work environment and any requirements in handling attachments
  • Further training ‘on the job’ under close supervision

Once an operator has been assessed as being fully competent, it is always useful to offer further periodic training occasionally in the form of refresher courses, particularly whenever an operator’s role has been modified in a specific way. Training records for each operator must also be kept and updated regularly.

Other Issues to Consider

Keys to a forklift truck should always be removed by the operator at the end of their shift and kept in a safe and secure place to prevent unauthorised use of the vehicle.

All areas in which the forklift truck is to be driven should be kept as flat as possible and remain clear from obstructions.

All roads, aisles and gangways should be sufficiently wide enough with adequate clearance room overhead. It’s important to make all forklift routes free of sharp bends which could be precarious if the operator is carrying a large and heavy load and, where possible, a one way system should be introduced to avoid the risk of collisions and you should also try to keep the area in which forklift trucks are operating free of pedestrians or else make sure that there are adequate signs and warning notices in place.

Operators should have seat belts/restraints and adequate protective clothing e.g. fluorescent jackets, safety footwear, hard hats etc. Flashing lights and audible warning devices should also be fitted to the trucks if possible.

Regular maintenance, training updates and the reporting of any accidents or near misses will also be necessary to ensure the safety of both the operators and of any pedestrians who may also come into contact with forklift trucks during the course of their job.

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Do I need a forklift licence to load lorry's at my place of work thank you
Paul Shaw - 18-Aug-17 @ 3:54 PM
What are the legal times you are allowed to operate big mhe without a break as we are expected to run our trucks continually for 4hrs before a 15 min break then again for 4hrs before 30 min break in a 12hr day. We experience tiredness and cramps this can't be safe
Levs - 13-Aug-17 @ 7:41 PM
The FLT in our warehouse has a roof design, which has 4 protective bars going across the top of the cage. Should the users be wearing a hard hat? Can you also confirm that they must wear a high visabillity vest/jacket when using, as well as protective boots/shoes?
Chris - 1-Aug-17 @ 4:12 PM
Can a work place put more pressure on you to perform a drop rate and rush you're work? How long should every movement take in a warehouse where there are meny people walking around?
G - 1-Aug-17 @ 11:54 AM
Nigel - Your Question:
Been told I got to get a car licence to drive a forklift truck in a wherehouse to be insurerd by the company and yet I have been driving there in the wherehouse for over 2 years

Our Response:
You can see more via the HSE link here which will tell you what licence you need to hold.
WorkplaceSafetyAdvice - 4-Jul-17 @ 4:21 PM
Been told i got to get a car licence to drive a forklift truck in a wherehouse to be insurerd by the company and yet i have been driving there in the wherehouse for over 2 years
Nigel - 4-Jul-17 @ 7:20 AM
we have a reach fork lift witch we use for loading and unloading lorries and for loading 8x4 pallets into a racking system, my comment is what area of space should we have in order to manoeuvre safely in the factory area with 8x4 pallets??
john boy - 29-Jun-17 @ 4:27 PM
jimbob - Your Question:
For a 4 tonne forklift what are the speed limits for a big factory onsite and is it aegal requirement that the speeds have to be adjusted so the forks cant go faster? And considering the forks has no speedometer is it law they need to fix it ? And what about the speedometer is that law too?

Our Response:
You would have to read your employer's health and safety handbook which should contain this information. Each company will have individual guidelines. However, you may also be able to see more via the link here.
WorkplaceSafetyAdvice - 26-Jun-17 @ 10:08 AM
For a 4 tonne forklift what are the speed limits for a big factory onsite and is it aegal requirement that the speeds have to be adjusted so the forks cant go faster? And considering the forks has no speedometer is it law they need to fix it ? And what about the speedometer is that law too?
jimbob - 23-Jun-17 @ 9:44 AM
Hi.We have a side loading forklift that has hinges for a door but no door.Does a door legally need to be on there?It does have a seat belt.
PaulT - 21-Jun-17 @ 1:28 PM
The seat level to change the 'bounciness'(i don't know the technical tern!) of the seat on the forklift i use has broken and is now set in a position where it does not 'bounce' all when moving over bumpy ground. This is causing discomfort and pain the my back when using the truck.My employer knows this is broken and is doing nothing to rectify the issue. Can i refuse to use the truck until it is fixed?
KE - 19-May-17 @ 5:51 PM
Michael - Your Question:
Is it legal to move a FLT between 2 sites that are 100 meters apart but seperated by a public road. although the road is used infrequently and a cul-de-sac, do I need a special licence to drive the truck on a public road?Any help would be appreciated.

Our Response:
In order to drive a FLT on a public road, it must be registered with the DVLA. You can see more via the FLT training site here.
WorkplaceSafetyAdvice - 18-May-17 @ 11:19 AM
Is it legal to move a FLT between 2 sites that are 100 meters apart but seperated by a public road. although the road is used infrequently and a cul-de-sac, do I need a special licence to drive the truck on a public road? Any help would be appreciated.
Michael - 17-May-17 @ 1:39 PM
Is there anything official that states a minimum distance FLTs should be apart when transiting or is it just the 3 lengths rule of thumb?
Scott - 17-May-17 @ 8:54 AM
For 4 years i have always told trainees the correct order before moving off is G gear/transmition O observation/look around B release parking brake....now im told its incorrect Observation is the last process can anyone confirm this
Billyc - 16-May-17 @ 5:34 PM
Scott - Your Question:
If I drive a reach truck at work is there a legal minimum amount of time I should have between shifts? Thanks

Our Response:
You would have to read the terms of your contract to see whether you have 'opted out'. Please also see ACAS link here.
WorkplaceSafetyAdvice - 11-May-17 @ 12:24 PM
If I drive a reach truck at work is there a legal minimum amount of time I should have between shifts? Thanks
Scott - 10-May-17 @ 6:28 PM
If I drive a FLT (reach truck etc) at work is there a minimum amount of time I should have between shifts?
Natasha - 10-May-17 @ 6:27 PM
Richard- Your Question:
How long can you drive an FLT before your required a break? A guy I work with drives for 8 consecutive hours

Our Response:
Under the Working Time Directive (which applies to most adult workers, including those who work part time, are employed by an agency or as a freelancer),employees are entitled to one rest break of 20 minutes for every six hours they work.
WorkplaceSafetyAdvice - 27-Apr-17 @ 10:58 AM
How long can you drive an FLT before your required a break? A guy I work with drives for 8 consecutive hours
Richard - 26-Apr-17 @ 1:51 PM
My lodger worked for a company who trained him on counter balance. The job ended as it was Xmas work. I found him a training place for reach truck. He called this guy and he said he would get his certificate for counter balance from the previous work place and if not he would get it from government site. My lodger paid £150 for this and paid money to the place where he went for reach truck. The guy said he has sent out his certificate for counter balance but my lodger has not received it. I called the guy and he said it's been sent out twice bit strange that is. I asked why it was not sent recorded and he said naaa we don't do that. I'm beginning to think this guy is dodgy. He said my lodger can email him to request it by PDF. If my lodger doesn't receive the pdf i want to report him. How and who should we contact?
Dee - 21-Apr-17 @ 6:30 PM
I driveflexi and counterbalance trucks, always told by Manager and Health and Safety officer that they should always be 2 truck drivers on site at all times in case of accidents. Now that we've down sized they said I have to work alone and that there is no law about working on my own.Have I any rights if I refuse to work alone? Also their is no First Aider on site
Dee - 19-Apr-17 @ 7:22 PM
Inregards to Robbie's question. When loading or unloading from the racking you should be level. If when you lift the load it leans forward then use your tilt to make the load level. The same when depositing a a load onto the rack = level. Easiest way to remember is 'Tilt is for travel'
bish799 - 19-Apr-17 @ 2:08 PM
I maintain all types of lift trucks, I do not lift loads, do I need a lift truck licence or will in house training by a lift truck instructor suffice
Yoda - 12-Apr-17 @ 11:32 PM
Is there a maximum number of consecutivehours you can drive an flt?
paddy - 4-Apr-17 @ 3:57 PM
Kel - Your Question:
Can I wear headphones in a workplace where there is a forklift in use?

Our Response:
You would have to look at the health and safety manual to see what is and what is not allowed when a forklift truck is in use. Or, if the information is not included, then it will be up to your line manager to make the decision.
WorkplaceSafetyAdvice - 24-Mar-17 @ 11:51 AM
Can I wear headphones in a workplace where there is a forklift in use?
Kel - 23-Mar-17 @ 7:56 PM
About 2 years ago i had an accident for the second time using a forklift, involving the glass window on the back both times and my manager expected me to pay for damages on the second occasion.I offered to pay upfront over a period, butHe asked me to write a note accepting responsibility which he told me he was giving to his boss and then told me they would take the money out of my last pay. I am still working for this company and i still use the forklifts as if nothing had happened. Now i would like to leave but i am not sure if they will still hold me liable.
Rafters - 21-Mar-17 @ 8:49 PM
Hi there. I'm a shop floor supervisor in a distribution warehouse. I recently moved an MHE truck a short way across the warehouse, I have an in house MHE licence however I'm pending a refresh from the site trainer who had instructed me that I should not use MHE until the refresh has taken place. So now I'm suspended pending an investigation. Does this class as misconduct or gross misconduct? Thanks.
Super01 - 21-Mar-17 @ 12:02 PM
Hello fellow flt operators/supervisors/managers, I would like to clarify my rights in the workplace environment working with electrical goods in a warehouse. I am a supervisor and I operate a counterbalance fork lift truck. I want to ask what are my rights under the health and safety act 1974? I work through my morning break dinner and late break occasionally when work flow is high. This is becoming a problem with the business relationship betweeen myself and my director. Can I please have feedback and information on what I am eligible? Kind regards, Chris.
Chris - 18-Mar-17 @ 12:58 PM
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