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Opinion FLTA Manage to be safe


In this month’s Fact File, the Fork Lift Truck Association identifies some of the key issues affecting the supervision of fork lift truck operations.


Forty-three people are likely to be seriously injured by UK fork lift trucks in


the next seven days, according to HSE accident statistics (2001- 2010). While operator training and competence are important in helping to reduce incidents, man- agement and supervision are just as important. Those who direct activity have ultimate responsi- bility if operations go wrong.


LEGAL REQUIREMENTS Under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, an em- ployer has a responsibility to provide adequate training. Regulation 8 of the Lifting Oper- ations and Lifting Equipment Reg- ulations 1998 (LOLER 98) makes it very clear that an employer has a duty to ensure that all lifting operations are properly planned, appropriately supervised and carried out in a safe manner. Building on this, Regulation 9 of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER 98) makes it clear that any such supervisor must be ade- quately trained. Section 2 states: Every employer shall ensure that any of his employees who supervises or manages the Would you have authorised this?


use of work equipment has received adequate training for purposes of health and safety, including training in the methods which may be adopted when using the work equipment, any risks which such use may entail and precautions to be taken. In this context, a supervisor is anyone in a position of authority who identifies something which could cause an accident. This is applicable to a range of roles: from the line manager through to the managing director.


YOUR RESPONSIBILITIES There are three key areas of responsibility for supervisors: • Protecting employees; • Maintaining a safe site; • Safeguarding goods


Supervisors must ensure that: • Operators have training appropriate for the equipment to be used;


• Operators are regularly monitored and assessed – and additional training is provided where needed;


• Pre-shift and daily checks are being carried out – properly;


• All fork lift trucks are


maintained on a regular basis by a trained and experienced ser vice engineer;


• Every fork lift truck has a valid Thorough Examination.


SUPERVISION


TRAINING AND SKILLS Managers and supervisors do not need to be able to oper- ate a fork lift truck, but they do need sufficient knowledge of: • The operating characteristics of trucks in use;


• Hazards related to the tasks being performed.


Together, this will enable managers and supervisors to spot bad practice and do something about it – with confidence and authority. Some training companies do provide training aimed specifically at the needs of managers and supervisors.


MANAGING SAFELY Poor practice contributes to the likelihood of an accident occurring and should never be ignored by managers and supervisors. This includes: • Excessive speed at any time;


• Cornering too quickly; • Failure to stop at junctions (including aisle ends);


• Failure to go through doors slowly (especially curtain doors);


• Neglecting to sound 34 April 2012 Storage Handling Distribution www.shdlogistics.com www.fork-truck.org.uk/shd the horn where required;


• Travelling with raised forks; • Carrying passengers (never allowed);


• Not wearing a seat belt (where required);


• Travelling with arms or legs outside of the truck’s profile;


• The use of mobile phones by operators and pedestrians;


• Failure of anyone to react to signs or comply with segregation rules;


• Lifting people on forks, pallets or other unstable platforms – separate rules apply to cages;


• Unauthorised use of fork lift trucks;


• Failure to report near misses;


• Refuelling risks (e.g. smoking or


build-up of fumes).


Free fact sheets covering super- vision and training, alongside a number of others answering common fork lift truck queries, can be downloaded at www. fork-truck.org.uk/fact-sheets. A Fork Lift Truck Supervisor


Training Presentation is avail- able for ShD readers during the month of April. n


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