Six of the best

24 October 2017

Peter Harvey, Chief Executive of the Fork Lift Truck Association (FLTA) reveals how any business – regardless of industry or size – can raise its safety game at little or no cost.

In any workplace where profitability is paramount, fork lift truck safety isn’t top of mind for most managers and supervisors. 

While some may wear so many hats they have no time to consider the innocuous fork lift truck. For others, there’s a belief that operating safely comes at a cost too high to consider. And for some, the idea of an accident occurring is just too remote to consider, 

But they couldn’t be further from the truth. 

Each year, approximately 1000 workers in the UK are seriously injured in fork lift truck accidents… or worse. 

In an instant, their lives are changed forever… as our those of their families, their colleagues and their employers. The fallout can put your company into peril overnight.

That’s why, with the new year fast approaching, it’s worth taking time out to consider your operations and how you can better safeguard it. 

While you could spend thousands making improvements, working safely should never be cost-prohibitive. 

To get you started, here are six steps you can take in 2018 to transform your site’s safety (and in most cases, they don’t cost much more than your time and commitment.) 

#1 How-to videos

Recognising that fine details from training can be lost or overlooked over time, at Heineken UK’s Hereford Cider Mills, management created more than 40 videos visually demonstrating how every fork lift task should be performed. 

It was a game-changing initiative for a site where literacy is a big issue… and cost less than £100 to implement. 

Footage was filmed by staff on smartphones and was edited quickly using an £3 app. One video took just 10 minutes to create. 

Staff access these videos via conveniently-placed stickers featuring QR codes and an inexpensive tablet. 

Once an employee scans the code with the tablet, they can watch the video and quickly refresh their understanding. 

The system is especially useful in supporting new staff in their first few weeks, when they’re more at risk of an accident, and give them the confidence to perform tasks safely. 

#2: Play the name game 

A brand-new lift truck may cost the same as a BMW, but FLT operators often don’t treat them equally. 

While you’d buff and polish a new car, dents and damaged paintwork are a commonly sight on a forklift – even when it’s just a few weeks old.  

At Heineken UK’s Hereford Cider Mills, management named each of its trucks and assigned each to a team of employees to encourage staff to take ownership of the truck’s care. 

To support staff, a cleaning station was created for just £200 that includes: vacuums, touch-up paints and cleaning products.

Regular competitions are held and the teams that look after their trucks best  receive rewards - encouraging staff engagement. 

The result? A 94% reduction in damage costs. 

#3 Pull no punches

Making all staff working with and alongside fork lifts aware of the real dangers associated with operations is key to reducing the risk injury.

Recognising a lack of awareness among workers on foot, The Bury Black Pudding Company developed an in-house training programme for its employees who work near fork lifts. 

It raised awareness of the main risks for pedestrians working in close proximity to forklifts and things you should never do near lift trucks, such as distracting drivers. In addition, it made clear the responsibilities for employer, employees, drivers and pedestrians. 

This bespoke training programme featured photos of real-life accidents and injuries: leaving staff in no doubt of how important it is to stay aware and follow safe protocols.

Whether you’re planning and induction, training or a toolbox talk, the FLTA website is packed with resources, including fact sheets and posters. 

The latest addition, Lisa’s Story, is a hard-hitting short documentary in which fork lift accident survivor Lisa Ramos talks about the day she was run over by a lift truck… and how it changed her family’s life forever.

View it now at

#4 Show your hand

Miscommunication plays a significant role in fork lift truck accidents. FLTA Safety Partner Mentor, who has specialised in delivering workplace transportation training for nearly 30 years, sought a way of ensuring that operators and pedestrians could communicate clearly – even in a busy, noisy environment.

That’s where ‘Show Your hand’ comes in.

‘Show Your Hand’, a new campaign from Mentor, seeks to strengthen non-verbal communication between operators and colleagues in a way that is incredibly straightforward and easy to convey to a workforce — even a large one. 

What’s more, because it is completely non-verbal, it works effectively across language barriers – making it ideal for sites with visiting foreign drivers. 

Though simple, if properly implemented, it could potentially save countless lives and prevent so many avoidable incidents.

To get your free kit – including posters and videos – visit

#5 Get your Safer Site Essentials

This free four-step online course covers the safety basics for anyone overseeing FLT operations.

The easy-to-follow programme looks at a range of issues, including the standards and working practice that should be adhered to; training and safety awareness for operators; key considerations that must be examined to ensure safe operations. 

The course is packed with extremely useful resources, including Safe Site case studies. A Site Safety checklist is included so that you can identify potential dangers, as well as ways of safeguarding against them.

Visit to get started.

#6 Stay informed

Membership in the FLTA’s Safe User Group (SUG) keeps managers and supervisors up to date with best practice and changes in legislation. 

Joining SUG opens up a new world of resources and support and provides simple, legal, safe regular advice amid amid the bureaucracy of regulations, legislation and official best practice guidelines surrounding the use of fork lift trucks. 

Alongside a host of free resources, Safe User Group members have privileged access to Safer Site Pro, the next step up from Safer Site Essentials (see #5). 

This 26-step programme includes advice, guidance, and a series of practical tasks to be completed – and supported by valuable resources and relevant real-life case studies. 

The course shows managers and supervisors overseeing fork lift operations how to assess their site’s safety and how to make tried-and-tested improvements – often at little or no cost.

Visit or call 01635 277577 to find out about what the Safe User Group could do for you.