Feedback collected by the UK’s leading fork lift training provider suggests warehouse workers are being endangered, because their managers don’t understand and enforce key safety basics.
Mentor Training works with hundreds of fork lift truck operators and other frontline staff every week, and spotted the worrying trend in feedback shared with its trainers throughout the UK.
Adequate supervision to ensure safety is one of four key elements stipulated in the Health and Safety At Work Act 1974.
But Mentor managing director Richard Shore warns: "Simply having a named supervisor present in the warehouse is not enough to ensure safety. Managers need the knowledge, authority and confidence to spot a dangerous job – and stop it in its tracks.
"Unfortunately, the story we keep hearing suggests it’s much more common for firms to carry out risk assessments, write safety procedures and train frontline staff, just as they should… but then leave them to their own devices. In the real world, that simply doesn’t work."
Although there is no legal requirement for managers to be qualified to operate fork lift trucks, Mentor believes a thorough grounding in truck stability, safe maintenance and safety usage rules is essential if a supervisor is to stand a realistic chance of identifying and mitigating risks.
The company has therefore introduced and delivered dedicated supervisor training, designed to give anyone responsible for managing fork lift truck operations an effective, working knowledge of safe practice, as well as an awareness of their safety responsibilities under law.
Richard Shore continues: "Ultimately, your carefully-prepared safety procedures are only as effective as the supervisor that enforces them. Without a manager who is able to enforce and explain the rules, staff inevitably fall into bad habits – and that’s often how accidents happen."