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Help workers speak up about health and safety issues

Following a recent study by the Forklift Truck Association (FLTA), Briggs Equipment believes that companies should do more to encourage workers to speak up about health and safety issues.

The research, carried out by Grahame Robb Associates Ltd in conjunction with the FLTA suggests that around 75 per cent of employees in the materials handling sector believe there are ‘accidents waiting to happen’ at work.

Briggs Equipment’s CEO, Richard Close, commented: "Everybody is responsible for health and safety but too often there is a perception of blame attached to reporting an incident or worse, apathy.

"The culture of a business makes a big impact on whether operators actively look to report and resolve health and safety issues or simply just ignore them."

Briggs reveals five simple, cost effective, tips to help bring operators on-side and reduce the impact of ‘blame culture’.

1. Make it easy to report an issue – Operators should already know to take urgent matters to their line manager. But companies should make sure there is one central person who coordinates health and safety and inform operators of the way they should report matters.

2. Make it anonymous – Having a simple printed card and a drop box is a quick and easy way for staff to voice concerns anonymously while also providing a documentation trail for company records.

3. Make it worthwhile – A small reward, a voucher or a free lunch for the month/quarter is something that may just tip the balance between whether operators report a health and safety issue or not.

4. Make it happen – If operators are reporting issues and see nothing happening, they will stop bothering to report them. When an issue is reported, declare it and put a timescale on it. When it has been investigated, share the results. Whether the status quo remains or if changes need to happen, explain why.

5. Two little words – Thanking operators is the most simple and effective way of ensuring that they will keep doing the right thing. If your company has an internal newsletter, consider a section highlighting the good work. If people see their name in print it raises their self-esteem, and possibly their profile among their peers to help encourage others. In a smaller company, a section of a notice board could do the same thing just as effectively.

"These five simple, cheap processes take just a little planning by management and just a little commitment to keep going. However, they can bring huge rewards by reducing accidents and damage bills that far outweigh their minimal cost," Richard added.

If you have any concerns or would like more information please contact Briggs Equipment on 03301 239814 or email info@briggsequipment.co.uk

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