UK Observes First-Ever National Fork Lift Safety Week

Calling September "the deadliest month of the year" for its industry, UK's Fork Lift Truck Association says that two British workers will be killed by fork lift trucks this month, and up to 60 more will suffer serious injuries—unless National Fork Lift Safety Week has an effect. The association has designated Sept. 22-28 as the culmination of its month-long campaign to reduce what it says is an "unacceptably high toll of death and injury." The straightforward theme for this first Safety Week of its kind in Britain is "Pedestrians and Fork Lift Trucks Don't Mix."

"Although they do an unparalleled amount of good work, the UK's 350,000 fork lift trucks account for more serious accidents at work than cars and HGVs combined, hospitalising over 400 employees each year," FLTA says. "Deaths occur, on average, every six weeks--increasing to around fortnightly in September."

The association says its safety message extends beyond truck operators and includes work colleagues and members of the public. Statistics suggest as many as two thirds of accidents kill or injure someone who was not driving the truck at the time--meaning that anybody visiting or working at one of the estimated 100,000 British businesses that use a fork lift truck could be at serious risk, FLTA notes.

In addition to sponsoring an online campaign and activities in the trade and national media to increase awareness of the problem, FLTA has made available a range of free resources at www.fork-truck.org.uk/safetyweek and encourages businesses "of all kinds" to use them.

"Every day, someone in the UK is hospitalised in a fork lift accident that could have been avoided. Sadly, some are killed. Most of these people were not operating the truck at the time," said FLTA Chief Executive David Ellison. "We want people to be aware that whenever they see a fork lift truck--whether it's at work or in their local garden centre or DIY store--they need to be careful, they need to keep clear, and they must certainly never assume the operator has seen them. Our aim is that nobody will be killed or injured by a fork lift truck during National Fork Lift Safety Week. To achieve such a target we need people to be alert, and to pass the message on to colleagues and friends. Vigilant managers, operators and other employees can make this happen!"

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