A senior director at the UK’s biggest forklift truck trainer has slammed the "dangerous lie" he believes is responsible for hundreds of UK forklift truck accidents.
Stuart Taylor of Mentor Performance Risk Management, part of Mentor Training, warned that businesses are losing money – and putting lives in danger – because of a single, widespread mistake: that there is a trade-off between safety and profitability.
In the last 25 years, more than ten thousand warehouse workers have been seriously injured or killed in accidents involving forklift trucks. According to the Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH), at least 70% of these accidents were easily avoidable.
Stuart says: "Every day materials handling workers are being hospitalised pointlessly because they, or their manager, think of safety as a cost to be minimised.
"The tragic truth is, these compromises are being made for no good reason. Improving safety saves on day-to-day damage like racking damage, forklift repair bills and damaged stock – instantly making you more profitable."
In one example, a major UK retail chain recently invested £50,000 in operator training, and immediately cut its stock damage costs by £130,000 per year.
"Better practice is an opportunity to make money", explains Stuart. "IOSH says 70% of accidents are avoidable. At Mentor PRM, we believe 70% of costs are avoidable, too.
"When we train operators and managers to work safely, those same skills naturally equip them to be more efficient. And not only do you save on damage, you also increase productivity. The best way to do a job quickly is not to cut corners, but to get it right first time.
"Education is the key to dispelling this lie. When people start understanding that safety and profitability are the same thing, it’ll be good news for employees… and for business as well."