Mentor, the UK’s leading provider of lift truck training, is warning managers and supervisors of the costly dangers resulting from ‘complacency creep’: that decline in standards of safe operation which results from insufficient supervision.
It’s a common occurrence, according to Mentor’s managing director, Stuart Taylor, due to the often repetitive nature of tasks carried out by forklift operators. And even the best-trained and most safety-conscious teams are at risk if managers and supervisors aren’t equipped to proactively encourage best practice.
He explains: “When managers don’t recognise or take action to rectify bad practice, it can send a message to other team members that this behaviour is OK. And it doesn’t take long for these bad habits to be adopted as common practice.
“Allowing these bad habits to take hold comes at a high cost – in many ways: from potentially life-changing injuries to employees to damage to stock, racking, equipment and your business’ reputation as a whole. So it’s crucial that managers and supervisors are equipped to step in before this becomes the norm.”
While every member of staff plays a contributory role, the responsibility for site safety ultimately lies with managers and supervisors – something that is emphasised in the latest edition of the HSE’s L117 Approved Code of Practice for Rider-operated lift trucks. In this vital role, managers and supervisors must know how to: carry out an effective observation, recognise unsafe practice and behaviour, communicate effectively with operators and line managers, and actively maintain and promote health and safety standards.
Tackling the issue head-on, Mentor pioneered the UK’s first training course for managers and supervisors, Managing Forklift Operations. Now in its third year, the one-day course has proved a popular solution – equipping more than 1,500 managers and supervisors to date with the knowledge, skills and understanding needed to proactively oversee lift truck operations safely, effectively and in full compliance with HSE legislation.
While supervisors and managers don’t need to know how to operate a forklift, they do need to understand lift truck operations and the associated hazards. Mentor’s Managing Forklift Operations course provides them with an understanding of safe lifting operations, enabling them to recognize and correct bad practice amongst operators and their colleagues working alongside them.
Stuart concludes: “It is to every company’s advantage to ensure that their managers and supervisors are equipped to establish and maintain a safe working environment. After all, catching complacency creep fast doesn’t just help keep your team safe; there a numerous practical and financial benefits too. Accidents and disruption can be extremely costly; by reducing the risk and developing a safe, efficient workforce, you can see a real improvement to your bottom line, so it’s in everybody’s best interests.”