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Under the UK Reporting of Injuries, Diseases, and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR) scheme, all employers are required to report deaths, injuries, diseases, and potentially dangerous circumstances occurring in the workplace or as part of activities related to work. The broad scope of the regulations has made it very difficult for both the government and employers to use the scheme to improve worker safety.

That said, recent changes to the rules – effective from October 2013 – have made it easier for employers to provide useful and accurate reports by requiring less data from them. One potential result, according to Materials Handling World Magazine, could be a greater focus on forklift accidents.

The magazine says two of the more significant changes will have a direct impact that may leave some companies with forklifts more vulnerable to scrutiny. The first is a relaxing of the requirement to report some types of incidents previously classified as a serious. The second change provides a more detailed list of what is considered a ‘major’ incident. The combination of both of these changes means fewer total incidents will be reported in the long run.

So how does this mean greater focus on forklift accidents? The answer can be found in the way most forklift accidents occur. Unfortunately, they usually include pedestrians. So much so that nearly 60% of all forklift accidents in the UK involve pedestrian collisions. Moreover, because those collisions often result in very serious injuries or deaths, the accidents are usually considered major. They will have to be reported as usual.

Where other types of workplace accidents might simply fade from the public consciousness because they are not being reported, a larger number of those that are being reported will involve forklift trucks. Therefore, the changes have the potential of making serious forklift accidents appear more numerous than they really are. It’s all the more reason companies should make sure all their forklift operators are properly trained and certified.

Certification Not Legally Required

As things currently stand there is no legal requirement forcing UK employers to hire only trained and certified forklift operators. Fortunately, more and more companies are imposing such requirements on themselves. Company owners are gradually coming to realise that hiring untrained or improperly trained drivers increases the likelihood of serious accidents.

The HGV Training Centre is doing its part to limit serious forklift accidents by offering comprehensive training throughout the UK. Our forklift driver-training program is second to none, focusing on all of the skills forklift operators need to drive their vehicles safely and efficiently.

Obviously, no one can guarantee a perfect safety record through training and certification of forklift drivers. However, proper training goes a long way toward mitigating the risks. At the HGV Training Centre, we teach drivers how to operate in confined spaces, properly balance loads, operate lifting forks smoothly, and so much more. We would be honoured by the opportunity to provide our training to your operators.

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