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FLTA issues eleven timely tips for safe fork lift work outdoors

Stay on the ball this summer
With the forthcoming FA Cup Final signalling the unofficial start of the summer for many football fans, the Fork Lift Truck Association has issued an important reminder about the basics of safe outdoor work.

FLTA Chief Executive David Ellison explains: “It is about this time that the warmer weather makes working outside – in a haulage yard or similar – a very attractive part of the job for many fork lift truck users.

“However, it's vital not to get carried away with the sunshine and fresh air. The yard can be extremely dangerous if safety basics are neglected, so – to coincide with the Cup Final – we've compiled our own starting XI: the essential safety tips that every user should know, before tackling outdoor work.”

With this year's Cup Final the first senior game at the new Wembley Stadium, public interest is likely to be at an all-time high; and the FLTA's safety tips have therefore adopted a memorable, footballing theme:

1. Use the right kit. Warehouse equipment like reach trucks and stackers isn't designed to be used outdoors. Check that your truck is OK for yard use before you go outside.

2. Tidy defence. A messy yard is full of danger. Simple items like loose planks of wood can tip a fork lift truck over – crushing or maiming the driver.

3. Pitch inspection. Make sure the surface of the yard itself is well maintained. Potholes are another common cause of tipping accidents.

4. Solid at the back. Before you take a fork lift truck onto the back of a lorry, check it's secure and stable – and that it will take the combined weight of your truck and your load.

5. A mountain to climb? Gradients of any kind can be dangerous to lift trucks – try to avoid them. If you can't, be sure to go straight up or down, not sideways (for more information on gradients, hit the net – there's a factsheet on our website www.fork-truck.org.uk).

6. Watch your pace! Something about crossing open spaces makes it very tempting to overdo the throttle – don't do it, and don't let your colleagues do it either if you value safety at work.

7. Taking corners. Remember – steer gently! Even at low speeds, a sharp turn can tip your truck over.

8. Zonal marking. As much as you can, keep fork lift trucks, lorries and pedestrians separated with traffic circuits and warning signs.

9. Flashy play? Flashing lights and warning bleepers can sometimes be a good idea – but bear in mind they can also be a distraction.

10. Great vision. It's important you can see clearly where you're going – so if you can't see forwards, either travel in reverse or get a team-mate to act as banksman and give you directions.

11. Lethal in the box. If you're using a diesel or gas powered truck in a confined space like a container or covered lorry, look out for a build-up of dangerous fumes.

12. Don't score an own goal! Make sure all your trucks and equipment are properly maintained).

Outdoor working is just one of many areas where fork lift truck operators and managers can benefit enormously from a reminder of basic safety hints; literally hundreds of serious fork lift accidents every year could be avoided with a little more attention to a few, simple principles.

The FLTA has therefore launched a new, “Safety 4MOST” campaign, aiming to remind truck operators of the four major elements of fork lift safety: Management, Operator, Site and Truck.

The advice is available in a free pack of tips and posters from the FLTA, which also includes helpful money-off vouchers, giving operators a head-start in getting the basics right, with exclusive discounts on selected driver training, safety checks booklets, and membership of the Association's Safe User group.

“It's not rocket science,” says FLTA Chief Executive David Ellison. “This is a FREE pack, containing simple reminders that can save lives and limbs… as well as some useful discounts to help get operators started in taking safety basics seriously. It costs nothing, and we believe it will save lives in the workplace.”

For more information, or to obtain your Safety 4MOST pack, please contact: David Ellison, Chief Executive, Fork Lift Truck Association, Manor Farm Buildings, Lasham, Alton, Hants, GU34 5SL. Tel: 01256 381441 Fax: 01256 381735. Email: mail@fork-truck.org.uk or visit www.fork-truck.org.uk.

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