The Fork Lift Truck Association has been nominated for a prestigious national award from RoSPA – the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents.
The new SME category of the annual RoSPA Awards recognises "the most outstanding contribution made by a trade association or similar body to providing health and safety assistance to small and medium-sized enterprises".
The main aim of the FLTA is to ensure that its core members, fork lift truck dealers and maintenance companies, operate to a high standard. The majority of FLTA members are SMEs and the safety of their service engineers is paramount. This work has gone on quietly behind the scenes for almost 40 years.
In recent years the work of the FLTA – the UK’s leading independent authority on fork lift trucks – has expanded to include the thousands of users of fork lift trucks.
Many of these companies are SMEs. Through a Safe User Group they have regular access to safety related information. Now, with the establishment of a national Safety Week, much of this information and advice has been made freely available on a massive scale.
Fork lift trucks are by far the most dangerous vehicles in the working environment, accounting for more than double the number of workplace accidents involving cars.
However, since the introduction in 2008 of the FLTA’s Safety Week – an awareness campaign involving high-profile news stories and free materials including posters, training videos, presentations and safety checklists – fork truck-related accidents have fallen year-on-year.
Alongside this campaign, the Association shares regular advice and information on safety-related issues through trade magazines throughout the year – aiming not just at the materials handling sector, but anywhere fork lift trucks are commonly used, such as the rail or building trades.
It also publishes a wide range of safety literature specifically for SMEs who may need assistance in working out what legislation applies to them, and how to operate according to best practice.
Meanwhile, a dedicated Safe User Group gives safety-aware firms fast, cost-effective access to high quality, up-to-the-minute advice.
The cumulative result is an improvement in accident figures that contrasts sharply with other forms of workplace transport, such as Light Goods Vehicles (LGVs). over the same period, removing any suggestion that external factors such as the economic downturn might have reduced risks.
Analysis on the HSE website reads: "The number of accidents involving LGVs has remained broadly flat over recent years, but the number of FLT injuries fell sharply over the last year, leaving it 13% below that in 2001/02 for the first time."
Most strikingly, fork lift truck-related deaths and injuries among members of the public plummeted to a full 59% below the average; a statistic the FLTA hopes is a reflection upon the broad targeting of its safety message.
Early indications suggest 2009/2010 saw a continued drop in accidents.
Chief executive of the FLTA David Ellison says: "We are extremely pleased to be selected as one of the six nominees for the SME Award.
"We share as much free safety guidance as possible in the public arena, and offer our Safe User Group a superb service for just a few pounds a month… so it’s gratifying to see our efforts are not going unnoticed!"
The RoSPA SME Award winner will be revealed in mid-May at a glamorous Awards ceremony at the Hilton Birmingham Metropole.
For more information on the FLTA and its safety initiatives, please visit www.fork-truck.org.uk or call 01256 381441.