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October 22, 2010

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Fleet operators given seasonal warning on forklift safety

Forklift truck hire firm Briggs Equipment is warning fleet operators to ensure that staff understand and follow safety procedures as industry gears up for the festive season.

Although Christmas is still several weeks away, retailers and warehouses are already starting to take delivery of new stock. Historical studies commissioned by Briggs Equipment suggest that the increase in workload during this period often leads to an increase in accidents involving forklift operators.

The firm’s asset manager, Allan Parsons, revealed that these accidents often involve temporary staff who have not received adequate training, or, more experience staff taking ‘short cuts’ to keep up with the increased workload. He said: “A study carried out several years ago suggests that between 10 to 15 percent of all accidents are the result of inadequate training, and this is likely to become a greater risk during busy periods when agency or other temporary staff are employed to cope with demand.
“However, other factors may also contribute to the problem, including more experienced staff taking procedural short cuts.”

Allan went on to stress that businesses can reduce the risk of accidents by providing training and workshops to remind staff about safe working practices. He also warned that firms must ensure that their staff are provided with the proper equipment to cope with the increased workload.

“Most importantly managers need to recognise that safety could be compromised if there are insufficient staff or equipment to cope with increased demand over the Christmas period,” he said. “Put staff and equipment under too much pressure and there will be a greater temptation to take short cuts and therefore a greater risk of accidents.
“As such accidents can be costly in terms downtime and possible legal action, failure to invest in temporary resources to cope with the rush – even in a difficult economic environment – could prove a false economy.
“The temptation to make do with what we’ve got may be greater than ever this year due to the current economic uncertainty, but businesses that have already made cut backs may be even more at risk of accidents as ‘overstretched’ becomes ‘overwhelmed’ during the Christmas rush.”

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