Culture and behaviours
Empower managers to uphold safety in 3 simple steps
Do you find that despite your company having operator training, risk assessments and relevant safe systems of work in place, forklift accidents, near misses and bad habits persist?
According to forklift training provider Mentor, it could be because there’s a missing link between best practice documented at senior level and implementing this on the ground. To bridge the gap, it is necessary to engage your supervisors and managers. They must impress upon the workforce the importance of procedures put in place for their protection and steer complacent operators — who are either unaware or unconcerned of the risks — away from bad habits and poor practice.
Here, Mentor explains how you can empower your managers to actively uphold safety within your operations in just 3 simple steps.
Ensure they understand the risks
To be able to uphold safety, it’s vital that your managers have a comprehensive understanding of the risks involved. It’s often assumed that forklift safety is common sense or easily picked up on-the-job, but this is not the case.
Don’t forget, managers aren’t legally required to be able to operate a forklift truck, so they might not have first-hand experience of the risks involved. Nowadays, fewer managers come into managerial roles from the shop floor, so they may not be aware of common shortcuts or bad habits encountered day-to-day that require monitoring.
Though relevant knowledge should not be assumed, it is essential. The latest sentencing guidelines for health & safety offences mean the stakes are higher than ever — in the event of an accident, businesses (or responsible individuals) could now face crippling fines or worse.
Approved Code of Practice (L117) stresses the importance of the proper training and knowledge required for managers to be able to recognise safe and unsafe practice. A good understanding of the dangers and the importance of regular monitoring will reduce the risk of an accident and is ultimately much more cost-effective than the resulting penalties.
For guidance on meeting managerial responsibilities, download Training Requirements for Managers under L117 available on the Mentor website.
Give them the confidence to act
Regardless of potential peer pressure, it’s vital that standards are upheld, for everybody’s sake — those on site will be kept safe from accidents and injuries, your managers (and your business) will be meeting their legal responsibilities, and your operations will remain productive. Once your managers have a firm grasp of what’s safe and what isn’t, they should feel confident stopping bad practice in its tracks. And by empowering them with the skills and knowledge to do so, you’ll also show them that they have your backing to actively uphold site safety.
Make time for monitoring to follow up
Despite numerous other responsibilities, it’s vital that managers do not neglect their duty to monitor forklift operations. After all, your policies will only work if they are enforced. To ensure best practice is being followed, managers must see the importance of ‘walking the floor’ and correcting anyone that is not following safe systems of work. Emphasise the importance of this part of their role and make sure they understand the potential consequences (for themselves, their colleagues and the business) should bad practice be allowed to continue and result in an accident.
Comprehensive manager training
Equipping your managers with the tools to fulfil their roles effectively is key to ensuring your health & safety policies are put into practice day-to-day. But many companies struggle to find a relevant training course that doesn’t require them to release senior staff for long periods away from the business.
Mentor’s new e-learning course — Managing Forklift Operations — has been designed with these challenges in mind.
- Protect operational productivity — Managers can learn wherever and whenever suits them, rather than attending face-to-face training. They can fit training around production, daily deadlines and targets, so training them up needn’t slow things down.
- Complete training in less time — The course is completed in a few hours, rather than a full day, and can be taken at a pace that suits the individual.
- Reduce travel time, costs and organisation — Online training eliminates any travel time, costs or associated administration to arrange for multiple colleagues to attend a face-to-face course.
The new Managing Forklift Operations e-learning course will be available in November.
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