Leading materials handling equipment supplier, Jungheinrich, is warning that forklift truck users of all sizes should implement ‘near miss’ reporting procedures if they want to reduce the number of actual accidents that occur on their sites.
"A ‘near miss’ is an accident that almost happened," says Peter Scott, Jungheinrich UK Ltd’s Group HSE manager.
He continues: "Every business, regardless of size, should have a procedure for reporting and correcting potential safety hazards and near misses. Supervisors and managers must encourage employees to report all potential safety hazards and near miss accidents and each report should be taken seriously, investigated thoroughly and preventative action taken.
"Most large companies have near miss reporting procedures in place but a lot of smaller firms – companies that are perhaps operating fewer than five forklift trucks – often do not. A near miss should receive the same level of attention as an accident that results in a serious injury, however, in most instances, that is not the case."
Most forklift truck accidents are the result of operator error or a poorly designed work flow area. However, virtually all accidents are preceded by a chain of events or circumstances that would have warned of a potential for danger.
"If near misses are reported frequent danger spots within the operation can be highlighted and steps taken to avoid a more serious incident," says Peter Scott.
Jungheinrich’s safety department can help truck users to compile a standard near miss report form to ensure that reporting procedure is correctly followed and that staff at the top levels are informed on every occasion an accident ‘almost happens’ on site.
In addition, Jungheinrich’s UK driver training and our fork truck driver training centre in Birmingham offers a range of tuition packages tailored for all kinds of trucks and every level of operator – from novice courses to refresher training. Experienced operators can even be coached up to trainer level.
Peter Scott concludes: "A near miss is an unplanned event that did not result in injury, illness, or damage – but had the potential to do so. In a lot of cases a faulty process or system has caused the problem and, if near misses are reported, steps can be taken to improve these processes or systems for the long term benefit of all staff."