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.
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.
Can I wear headphones in a workplace where there is a forklift in use?
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?
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?
Chris - 18-Mar-17 @ 12:58 PM
Is it elegal to have a voice camera in my fork lift so they can listen to my conversation.private.
John terrence daly - 13-Mar-17 @ 6:33 PM
I had an accident at work on my forklift clipping a fellow worker,was tested positive for cannabis will I loose my forklift licence
Butcher - 1-Mar-17 @ 9:42 PM
@pete i thank you for the look out. But ive already got sack by this new manager for over use of washroom but i fought that case and won the case of medical conditions, right now i feel like he is targeting me and many of my junior colleagues but never spoke to any of the seniors about the same issues. Reason i feel like his targeting me is because i did file a healthy and safety rule he wasnt following for not wearing a reflected jacket when walking in the racks for his safety as anyone can hit him, i have told my union leader many times to speak to him about having one for his safety also file a grievence against him for harrassment on me. It is a warning as another employee was spoken too but im union so i know my rights and i will be able to fight the case if he has no proof in the books, which im trying find out if in any section of the OSHA regulations or healthy and safety says this i did skim through it but didnt see anything so if anyone has knowledge about this please let me know
Vi3tguyyy - 26-Feb-17 @ 4:10 AM
@Vi3tguyyy - yes but if your employer tells you not to wear one then it could end up as a warning/disciplinary if you ignore your boss's request . I'm only looking out for you mate - to prevent you from getting the sack.
PETE - 24-Feb-17 @ 11:43 AM
@pete first off i can tell you dont know your rights, imma continue to wear my hoodie or whatever i feel like wearing till the day i see some proof or a print out saying im not allowed to. Because i did my research and no where in the OSHA regulations or healthy and safety rules says anything about not allowing hoodies to be worn while operating a lifttruck
Vi3tguyyy - 23-Feb-17 @ 1:05 PM
@Vi3tguy - if your boss says you gotta stop wearing your hoodie, you gotta stop wearing your hoodie! Pete.
PETE - 22-Feb-17 @ 2:17 PM
I have a question - ive been working with this company for 2 years and been wearing my hoodie from sept-april at my workplace a new manager has told me im not allowed to wear my hoodie when operating a forklift/reachtruck as it covers your view from behind also says its in the health and safety rules, but either way i see it, is you still have to turn your head to check behind you before moving. Another thing i dont wesr my hoodie all the way, its not passed my ears that way i can see from my sideview
Vi3tguy - 22-Feb-17 @ 2:11 AM
I have recently started working for a company but have found out that I am being trained on FLT's by an unaccredited fellow co worker, how do I and the company stand under HSE Section 7 of the health and safety at work act ? I think it's 1976? but will stand corrected if this is inaccurate.
Scotch - 19-Feb-17 @ 12:48 PM
I think that it is important to make sure that employees that are going to be driving a forklift are properly trained.Like you said, it would be a good idea to make sure that further training is done as well for the people that will be using the forklifts the most.I agree that the areas that the forklifts will be working should be clear so that they can perform correctly without any problems.
Dave - 6-Feb-17 @ 8:24 PM
I hold a current FLT licence. Is there an upper limit to the size of FLT I can drive on this licence as my employer has just taken delivery of a 16 tonne machine. Also, does my FLT licence cover me for operating an Electric Pallet Truck?
John - 6-Feb-17 @ 5:17 PM
Hi.. is it safe to drive a fork truck with a broken in a cast? And is it against health and safety regulations
Wounded - 31-Jan-17 @ 11:57 AM
Can you drive a reach truck while useing a headset
Daz - 24-Jan-17 @ 3:48 PM
I am aware this is a strange one. Howevercan someone advise me please. My husband has been a fork lift trucks driver most of his working life. Sadly he has had severe R Arthritis since the age of 25 he is know near to retirmemt age. His employers are extremely supportive of his disabilities. My enquiry:Recently he was refuse the change from DLA to PIP
Because he workes as a FLTD, and this is seem as manual labour. Whilst I'm sure when he first started this job some years ago that may have been the case. But technology has moved on and advanced so much that surely manual labour is not correctly used to describe the job.
Would it be possible for individuals with disabilities to work as fork lift truck drivers. Obviously he is and has done for many years. He was also penalised as he admitted to having perfect time keeping. :-) My question are they correct or is my husband right once on his truck their is nothing strenuously difficult.
My respect to those who do drive them but I'm doing my best to make a point.
Concirn - 22-Jan-17 @ 10:59 PM
Me - Your Question:
Hi I've worked as a wear house operative for over 30 years my company is relocating and they wan me to learn to drive a side lift fork truck however I said that I don't want to learn it as I don't feel safe can they sack me asI've try to explain to them I don't like the idear as I'mNot going to get paid any more and I feel nervouse about the whole thing please where do I stand
You would have to read the terms of your employment contract and see what it specifies regarding the nature of your role and whether there is any clause in your contract to say whether your role/duties can be changed. If your employer has specified your role can be changed, then you would have to go along with your employer's requests. If you refuse to the job - then your employer may have grounds for dismissal. However, I suggest you call ACAS to see whether you would be able to claim unfair dismissal if that were to be the case.
WorkplaceSafetyAdvice - 20-Jan-17 @ 12:26 PM
Hi I've worked as a wear house operative for over 30 years my company is relocating and they wan me to learn to drive a side lift fork truck however I said that I don't want to learn it as I don't feel safe can they sack me as
I've try to explain to them I don't like theidearas I'm
Not going to get paid any more and I feel nervouse about the whole thing please where do I stand
Me - 19-Jan-17 @ 6:27 PM
Tractor road speeds increased to 25mph (40km) in January 2016 but I beleave that telescopic rough terrain fork lift trucks are still limited to 20mph (32km) is this correct, or are they the same as tractors.
Mike - 12-Jan-17 @ 9:31 PM
Lined h30d has damaged to overhead guard in 2 different places large dent would this fail a loler inspection
Dave - 11-Jan-17 @ 5:17 PM
i have got a in house forklift licence my work rents the forklift off still we are be ask to take forks off the forklift and install a push pull attachment who insurance would i be on if i had a accident all the repairs on the forklifts are done by still worker
mattc - 14-Dec-16 @ 12:09 AM
Can you drive vna truck down narrow aisle without using wire?
Tooth - 29-Nov-16 @ 8:08 AM
When manoeuvring a fork lift truck unloaded what is the maxiximum height of the blades.
Wattsie - 3-Nov-16 @ 8:51 PM
Are there regulations surrounding lone working in a warehouse while operating a flt
Tartan - 30-Sep-16 @ 12:13 AM
I have 2 concerns.
1. To lift a pallet from the top beam one must tilt the forks back to gain a little more height when removing the pallet. The pallet scrapes along the beam which also moves the racking. The same problem when placing a pallet onto the top beam. I have told the management this will in time cause the racking to collapse. What is the regulation on this?
2. I have been told apart from 1 swl weight label on the side of the racking there must now be a SWL label on each beam/pallet space. Is this correct?
Robbie - 28-Sep-16 @ 1:20 PM
Hi.I work in a tyre warehouse on night shift,5 days a week(8pm-5.30am 30min unpaid lunchand 20 min paid second break).Job (warehouse operative) mainly involves fork lifting.(metal frame no safety fittings prevent loadsleep from forks. busy warehouse, other workers crossing).
Company recently ask to work an extra over time 2 x 9hr shift 3 times on annual basis.
That means 54hr a week.Question is: did my jobinvolves special hazards or heavy physical or mental strain? Did I cannot be required to work more than 8 hours in any 24 hour period or average rules apply?
bez podpisu - 23-Sep-16 @ 2:46 PM
I work with all types of forklifts and have nearly all my licences apart from my bendi forklift, my work place have just got these in and are saying that someone in house who isn't a trained forklift instructor can pass me inhouse! Is this correct anyone?
Sophie - 20-Aug-16 @ 3:19 AM
I had a accident i drive a reach truck when in to a arleand the floor was wet were somebody as as clean it the reach truck started to slide and i hit thr racking workare saying that it'sdangerousdriving there was no signs to say that thefloor was wet .