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Industry Chief warns of bogus safety advice

The Chief Executive of the Fork Lift Truck Association – whose members are responsible for more than 90% of all fork lifts working in the UK – has issued a warning to anyone planning to use the internet to access health and safety information.

“It is increasingly important that truck owners and operators take the greatest care in selecting their sources,” says David Ellison, “by making sure that the information comes from a reputable source such as a bona fide trade association or the HSE.

“A few weeks ago my attention was drawn to a new website. It had an authoritative-sounding name and offered lots of free information on the use of fork lift trucks, together with a regular newsletter and an advice line. At a casual glance it looked fine. It was well laid out and the presentation and apparent detail certainly made it look credible. However, on digging a bit deeper in a section on the regulations for operating a fork lift truck on a public road I found much of the information wholly inaccurate.

“Having posed the question 'Does my truck need special equipment?' the site advised that the user required a long list of equipment to be fitted. Almost all of it is totally unnecessary for the vast majority of fork lift trucks operating on public roads. To comply with this misleading advice would cost the unwary operator many hundreds or even thousands of pounds*.

“This is just one example from a single website… I could give many more. It is, though, an indication of the problems that already exist… and websites like these are bound to multiply.

“My advice is that before accepting anything you read on the internet – and certainly before implementing it – you should check carefully the credentials of the source material… and the reason why they placed the information there in the first place. In short, beware false friends!

“If you are in doubt on safety matters relating to fork lift trucks, talk to an FLTA member company (as members receive regular technical bulletins, safety updates etc. and are, therefore, able to offer informed advice). The address of your nearest dealer and more information can be found on the FLTA website at www.fork-truck.org.uk. Alternatively, contact the FLTA and we will direct you to the most appropriate expert advice. Our address details are: Fork Lift Truck Association, Manor Farm Buildings, Lasham, Alton, Hants, GU34 5SL. Telephone 01256 381441, fax 01256 381735 or email mail@fork-truck.org.uk.

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