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Tip-overs: #1 killer of forklift truck operators

Tip-overs: #1 killer of forklift truck operators

Tip-overs: #1 killer of forklift truck operators

Forklift tip-over was the focus of the UK’s inaugural Forklift Safety Day. And with good reason.

According to the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (OSHA), tipping accidents are biggest single cause of fatalities (42%) among forklift operators.

Taking these in order… prevention starts with a risk assessment specific to your site, loads, equipment, etc. and creating safe systems of work to eliminate hazards or minimise the risk associated with them.

Common causes of forklift truck tip overs

  • Sudden turns, especially when unladen
  • Sharp changes in speed or direction
  • Driving too fast
  • Driving off the edge of a loading bay, ramp, dock, etc.
  • Driving with the load raised
  • Hitting a kerb, pothole or debris (such as a broken pallet)
  • Driving with an excessive, uneven or swinging load
  • Turning on or traversing across a ramp or slope
  • Driving downwards with the load in front
  • Turning with the load raised
  • Driving on an uneven surface

Many of these can be addressed by removing, re-modelling or reversing routes that require trucks to travel down slopes (especially while laden), eliminating uneven surfaces and keeping ground conditions in good order (so no potholes or debris). It’s also worth talking to your forklift provider to discuss ways to make trucks inherently safer with speed limiters, load sensors, etc.

While we’re on the subject of training, it doesn’t end with operators. The HSE demands that if you supervise materials handling operations you must have the necessary training and knowledge to recognise what good (and bad) practice looks like. The good news is that Managing Forklift Operations courses are now available online to minimise time off site. Contact us if you require further information.

Intelligent Cornering System 

Driving with the mast raised is the single biggest cause of truck-tip events. State-of-the-art software that prevents tipping by seamlessly adjusting the truck’s speed as it enters a turn, taking into account the steer angle and load. The result is reduced risk of tip-overs, less load shedding and improved productivity as the manoeuvre is completed at optimum speed.

Automatic speed reduction

Wearing a seatbelt at all times is the simplest and most effective way of avoiding serious injury in a tipping incident. And it’s the law. The HSE makes clear it will “Prosecute site operators who do not take adequate measures to enforce the wearing of seat belts”. The challenge lies in getting operators to comply.

Even where management is vigilant and issues constant reminders, it’s not uncommon for operators to avoid wearing a seat belt (even where there is an interlock), tricking the machine by fastening the seat belt permanently behind them.  So what’s to be done?

The “no cheat” seat belt

Some trucks have introduced a “no cheat” seat belt on electric counterbalance trucks. This switchable function allows the employer – at his or her discretion – to select an option that ensures wearing of a seat belt is mandatory.

To enable the truck to drive the forklift, four steps must be followed:

  1. Sit on the seat (to activate the seat switch)
  2. Turn on the ignition
  3. Fasten the seat belt to (activate the seat belt switch)
  4. Select direction of travel

The truck can then be driven normally. If, however, if the sequence has not been completed or if the operator has tried to circumnavigate it, the machine will not function.

Sometimes, the simple stuff can have the greatest impact.

Contact us if you require further information.

 

Common Work-From-Home Pains — And How to Combat Them

Common Work-From-Home Pains — And How to Combat Them

Common Work-From-Home Pains — And How to Combat Them

Remote working has been a necessary shift for many businesses. And while it’s solved a couple of issues with safety, there is a downside for remote employees: the lack of proper workspaces. While professionals get to eliminate long commutes, working on sofas, beds, and in dining spaces can be quite detrimental to their health. In fact, hrmagazine.co.uk reports that these makeshift setups have already caused injuries in 11 million adults in the UK.

Remote working can definitely be hazardous, especially if you’re not careful. If you’re a remote employee, then this is what you need to know about the common work-from-home pains and the best solutions against them.

Common Aches and Pains To Watch Out For

Poor design of your workspace—which includes your seat, desk, even your computer—could be contributing to the physical stress and strain on your body. Over time, you could be at a higher risk of experiencing these common aches and pains caused by the work-from-home setup:

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

After typing all day, you might notice an uncomfortable pain in your hands and wrists. This pain is usually caused by the position of and tension in your wrists and hands while you’re working on your computer. If your hands aren’t in a neutral position during a great portion of your day, your median nerve becomes compressed through the carpal tunnel. The blood flow in your nerves will then decrease, causing you to feel numbness, tingling, and loss of control in your hands.

Computer Vision Syndrome

Spending too much time in front of a device can cause eye strain, dry eyes, and even transient blindness. These are all major symptoms of computer vision syndrome, which is commonly experienced by individuals who use gadgets up-close for more than three hours a day, according to a study from researchgate.net. Since workers are required to work at least eight hours per day and stay more connected now that setups are remote, they are at a higher risk of damaging their sight.

Myofascial Pain Syndrome

Working on couches and beds can be comfortable, but it won’t be long until you feel discomfort and pain in your back. Lack of physical activity and poor posture can cause your blood flow in certain areas to stop due to muscle fibre contraction. As a result, remote workers who sit for long periods of time are more susceptible to experiencing pain and tenderness in certain areas of their body, such as their back.

Solutions You Can Try

A good home office setup will not only lessen your risk of getting injuries, it will also make you more productive. You can improve your remote working experience by assessing your working environment, investing in ergonomic equipment, and doing exercises to stay active and healthy.

Assess Your Workspace

You can prevent injuries or stop these from recurring by identifying their causes. Here at walkersafety.co.uk, we’ve suggested that you must understand your working environment first. After making a thorough assessment of your workspace, you can provide yourself with tools and equipment that can cater to your specific needs.

Use Different Ergonomic Accessories

The right ergonomic accessories can prevent and relieve the common pains of remote workers. Look at getting a well-designed ergonomic chair and adjustable desk, so you can reduce your risk of myofascial pain syndrome and carpal tunnel syndrome. Also consider smaller accessories that can make a world of difference. For instance, if you typically experience discomfort in your hands while working, invest in a wrist splint to keep your hands in a neutral position at all times. Wrist supports can also help in keeping your hands elevated while working. You can also get a standing desk mat, which according to painfreeworking.com helps relieve pain that develops from standing for long periods of time. Most importantly, standing desk mats also encourage better posture.

Make Time For Exercise

Step away from the computer and bring relief to your hands, eyes, and muscles by doing various physical activities. Yoga is recommended by netdoctor.co.uk because it can reduce stress, correct your posture, and reverse chronic pain. But that’s just one of a myriad of options you can try. Maybe start a running regimen, try resistance training, or workout with a friend online—anything that can get you away from your desk for a couple of hours will surely do wonders for your health.

By making these necessary changes, you can improve both your working life and your safety at home.

Feature specially contributed to walkersafety.co.uk

Contributed by: JBrogden

Contact Walker Health and Safety Services if you require further information.

 

Employees who can’t (or won’t) return to work

Employees who can’t (or won’t) return to work

Employees who can’t (or won’t) return to work

The COVID-19 pandemic has meant drastic changes for the UK’s workplaces, including three lockdowns, many social restrictions and government advice that people should only leave home to attend work if they “cannot reasonably work from home”. While everyone is still advised to continue to work from home where possible, if that’s not possible, they’re now able to attend the workplace. And as the UK begins its phased emergence from lockdown, employers will now begin the process of returning some (or all) of their people back into the workplace. As this return to work begins, you might find some of your employees might be resistant to the idea of returning to the workplace. So, it’s vital to know where you stand as an employer if an employee is refusing to return.

First step, risk assess.

As a first step, you should carry out risk assessments for the workplace/job roles/ individuals (where appropriate, e.g., because the employee is pregnant or clinically vulnerable). You should then put into place all reasonable and necessary measures and confirm to the employees that the workplace has passed this COVID risk assessment. This will help reassure them that the workplace is safe. It is important to share your risk assessment and details of the measures you have implemented with them. Remember… it’s your responsibility as an employer to make sure that your workplace is COVID-compliant and stays that way. This will play a huge role in giving your people increased confidence that they’re returning to as safe an environment as possible. Plus, you could be liable for a fine of up to £10,000 if your workplace is found to be in breach of COVID-secure rules.

Communication

The key to approaching returning an employee to the workplace is communication – understanding their concerns and discussing the needs of the business whilst offering support where you can. Last summer the government called for employers to consult closely with their employees about returning to work and this will be equally important as we emerge from the current lockdown. If, despite the reassurances, you find the employee resisting the request to return to work, the next stage would be to have a conversation and find out exactly why they are opposing the request.

What if an employee prefers to work from home?

It may be that an employee simply prefers to work from home. They could even submit a formal flexible working request to work from home (as long as they have over six months’ service). Therefore, it’s worth clearly setting out from the beginning why you want them to return to the workplace so that they understand the business reasons for this. It may be because you think they can do their work more efficiently or effectively there. It’s worth considering the following:

  • Is this because of the limitations in doing the particular role at home or issues with their abilities/efforts?
  • If it’s about the role, are there any reasonable measures or amendments you could make so that they can do their job effectively at home?
  • If you feel it is because of the individual, have you addressed this with them.

It’s important to make sure you communicate clearly to the employee why you’re refusing the request, so they fully understand the business reasoning behind the refusal. If they then put in a formal flexible working request, you should make sure you deal with this properly using the correct procedures.

What if an employee has been shielding and is nervous to return?

As of 1 April, the government officially paused shielding, although clinically extremely vulnerable people are advised to continue to take extra precautions to protect themselves. Before asking a (previously) shielding employee to return to work, you should first carry out an individual risk assessment to make sure it’s safe for them to return. This is also necessary to help reassure them that their safety is a top priority. If it isn’t assessed as safe at this stage to ask them to return to the workplace, then you could potentially keep them on furlough or ask them to continue working from home. If you do assess the workplace as safe, then you should speak to the employee and demonstrate to them that you have introduced the necessary measures to keep them safe. You should ask them to outline exactly what they feel nervous about and how you have addressed these areas. If the workplace is safe and you do need them to return, then you may need to take formal steps to require them back to work. However, this would need delicate handling and individual advice about the particular case. Cluer HR could advise further.

Training

This IOSH Approved Returning to Work course helps employees transition back to work in light of COVID-19; whether they have been working from home for an extended period or after being furloughed. It covers things that can be considered before returning, and it also looks at what you can expect on their first few days and weeks back at work. This course will take just 25 minutes to complete, and each user will be given a certificate upon course completion.

Course Returning to Work (during COVID-19) Training | iHASCO

If you have any queries, please contact us.

 

12 Tips For Deep Cleaning & Disinfecting To Protect Employees

Industrial Cleaning

12 Tips For Deep Cleaning & Disinfecting To Protect Employees

As COVID-19 restrictions begin to ease and employees return to the workplace, cleaning and disinfection within an organisation have never been more important. Maintaining good workplace hygiene is essential, especially in post coronavirus times. The health and safety of your staff and visitors are fundamental, so ensuring you have safe cleaning practices is key. What constitutes a deep clean? And what are the most effective tips for optimal hygiene cleaning? In this article, we share the very best ways to clean and disinfect your workplace to prevent the risk of spreading infection.

Why Is Deep Cleaning & Disinfecting Important in The Workplace?

  • The risk of ill health and spreading coronavirus
  • Disruption to the day to day running of the business
  • Prevention of poor business reputation
  • The risk of injuries through spillages that haven’t been cleaned up
  • Lack of motivation and productivity through poor practices

It’s important to understand the difference between deep cleaning and disinfecting the workplace. Deep cleaning removes germs, grime, dirt, and impurities. It doesn’t kill germs. However, by removing germs, it reduces the risk of contracting infection.

Disinfectants incorporate the use of chemicals to kill germs on a surface, rather than cleaning them. You can use this type of product after cleaning to further reduce the risk of infection.

Tips for Maintaining Workplace Hygiene

Here are our essential tips for maintaining good hygiene cleaning in an organisation. Follow these tips to protect your employees and visitors’ safety and well-being.

1. Conduct a risk assessment

Before performing any cleaning duties, you must undertake a risk assessment with your facility manager. This should include information on areas that are frequently touched as these will require special attention when deep cleaning. You can also note down air quality assessment to ensure you provide adequate ventilation for employees. Another thing to consider is social distancing, hand sanitiser stations and face masks for visitors. Your plan of action should aim to reduce the risk of COVID-19.

2. Use the correct cleaning products

Public Health England suggests that hard surfaces and objects are regularly cleaned with a household detergent, followed by a disinfectant. Dirty surfaces or those which are regularly touched should be wiped with disposable paper roll or cloths and then discarded after every clean. You can also use disinfectant wipes which can be disposed of. Just ensure that the directions of use on each cleaning product are followed correctly. Here is more information on selecting the right cleaning products.

3. Move furniture, fixtures or fittings around

To ensure correct social distancing procedures are followed, you need to maximise the use of space within your business. This means you may need to move furniture, fixtures and fittings. Make a note of high traffic areas to determine if you can make alternative use of your space. For example, employees could be given their own stationery at their desk rather than having to walk to where the stationery supplies are kept.

4. Use good cleaning practices

Your cleaning staff should be highly trained in the correct cleaning practices. For instance, personal protective equipment (PPE) must be worn. The minimal amount of PPE is a disposable apron and gloves. Once used, these should be placed in a double bag for at least 72 hours and then disposed of in your normal rubbish. Surfaces can then be cleaned with detergent or soap and water, followed by a disinfectant. Cleaning staff should avoid splashing or spraying additional areas than the one they’re cleaning. Once completed, employees should wash their hands in warm soapy water for a minimum of 20 seconds.

5. Use additional practices if the risk of COVID-19 is increased

If there is a higher risk of coronavirus within your business, such as a space becoming contaminated by an employee who has contracted COVID-19, then additional practices will need to be used. These include extra PPE to safeguard the cleaner’s face. If an infected person has come into contact with specific surfaces or has potentially contaminated high traffic spaces like toilets, corridors, and door handles, these should be deep cleaned and disinfected. Anything which cannot be cleaned adequately, such as laundry that is heavily contaminated, should be disposed of correctly.

6. Clean flooring with disposable mop heads

Hard flooring should be deep cleaned and disinfected with disposable mop heads. Carpeted flooring and mats will require steam cleaning. Any upholstered furniture, including mattresses, which can’t be deep cleaned or disinfected should also be steam cleaned.

7. Handle rubbish correctly

Rubbish should be handled as normal, apart from discarded cleaning items and where a potentially contaminated person/s are concerned. We’ve already mentioned that PPE and disposable cleaning items like cloths should be double-bagged and left for 72 hours before throwing away. If you have waste from potential COVID-19 cases and cleaning waste from this area, this should be double-bagged and kept in storage until test results are known. If the person tests negative, this waste can then be disposed of in general rubbish. For positive cases, you should arrange for local ‘Category B infectious waste’ collection. You’ll then be supplied with an orange clinical waste bag for your contaminated waste. Remember to keep all waste away from children.

8. Implement good hygiene practices

How can you implement good hygiene practices in the workplace? Alongside scheduling daily and weekly cleans, you can also put up posters to remind employees to follow hygiene protocol. Encourage regular handwashing with soap and water, ask staff to use disinfectant wipes after using shared equipment, such as kettles and microwaves, and place hand sanitisers in high traffic spaces. Additionally, you can open windows and doors to enhance ventilation.

9. Implement social distancing

In addition to implementing social distancing between employees, it’s also a good idea to limit the number of visitors on site. Continue to use virtual meetings where possible as this will reduce the risk of contamination, especially for staff members. If this isn’t feasible, try to stagger visitors throughout the day to limit the number of people inside the building. You can also attempt flexible workplace hours wherever possible. Concerning shared spaces, aim for flexibility with lunch and break times to decrease the number of people within shared areas. You can also install touchless entry into your building – some systems offer entry via phone, limiting the number of surfaces touched as well as making social distancing easier in high traffic areas.

10. Co-ordinate your transition back to work

If you need to slowly transition some of your employees back into the workplace, provide clear and concise updates to help manage your organisation. Continue to clean all areas, even if that means cleaning and disinfecting spaces which are hardly used. This will put your business in good stead for the future. Provide consistent updates to both internal staff and those working from home. Make sure everyone is aware of where PPE and hand sanitisers are kept.

11. Communicate with employees

It goes without saying that your employees need to understand the health and safety measures you implement within your company. Be prepared to communicate your workplace rules, whether this is via email or virtual meeting, in a calm manner. You’ll also need to be ready to answer their queries and offer support to those who may need extra guidance. It’s advisable to provide a space for employees to reach out with their questions, as well as using posters throughout your building to remind them of excellent hygiene, cleaning and social distancing recommendations.

12. Keep your workplace safe

Continue to review risk assessment and cleaning procedures to maintain hygiene standards and improve them. For example, install automatic doors rather than using traditional ones to reduce the frequency doors are touched. Furthermore, keep a continuous supply of disinfectant wipes, sanitisers, and masks. As an extra, you can offer unscented hand lotion to prevent dry hands. Ask everyone to spend five minutes clearing clutter from their workstations each day. Not only will this prevent waste from piling up, but it will also make surfaces easier to keep clean.

Implement the most effective cleaning guidelines today

It’s never too early to start implementing safe cleaning practices in the workplace. Get your organisation ready for welcoming back your employees. Now you know what constitutes a deep clean and the best tips for hygiene cleaning, you can ensure your business maintains an excellent standard of workplace hygiene.

Contact us for further information.

Perfect Clean Limited Provide Professional Commercial Cleaning Services Across Scotland & The North of England

Do you need commercial cleaning services to keep your workplace clean on a regular basis? At Perfect Clean, we provide expert commercial cleaning services for businesses of all types. Get in touch for a free quote today.

“This article was originally published in the blog of Perfect Clean LTD., a professional cleaning company based in Edinburgh, passionate and committed to keeping everyone safe with their exemplary health and safety practices.”

8 common forklift truck hazards managers should look out for

Mentor Forklift Training

8 common forklift truck hazards managers should look out for

Managers are responsible for overseeing many aspects of lift truck operations on site, most importantly, ensuring that everyone is working safely. But what do good and bad operating practices look like? Here are a few of the most common examples of dangerous practice that unfortunately still persist on sites. Any issues like these, that put safety at risk, should be resolved immediately to reduce the risk of serious and costly accidents.

Insufficient observations

Regular all-round observations are vital to safe forklift operations. Not only will they alert the lift truck driver to debris or overhead obstructions, crucially, it is the operator who is responsible for the safety of any pedestrians in their vicinity. Therefore, it is vital that the operator always completes these checks before they move their truck or raise/lower their load.

One of the main causes of serious workplace accidents and fatalities is being hit by a moving vehicle, so be sure to monitor standards and ensure that operators carry out their all-round observations every time, and do so properly (i.e. really look, not just turn their heads).

Unsafe load transportation

Managers must ensure that operators continue to operate as per their training and not allow bad habits or shortcuts to take root.

Loads should always be secured, and weight evenly distributed on the forks. Not only can insecure loads fall and injure those in the vicinity, the sudden loss can also affect stability and cause the truck to tip over.

Watch out for overloading too, as this can also lead to lost loads and tip overs. Make sure that your forklift operators know the difference between gross weight (load plus packaging and pallet) and net weight (load only) and never exceed the truck’s capacity.

Managers should also ensure that operators complete one manoeuvre at a time while carrying a load. For example, turning with an elevated load is a common contributor towards tip-overs, because the higher the load, the less stable the truck, and adding the momentum of a turn dangerously shifts the truck’s centre of gravity. Instead, the operator should turn then lift (not turn and lift).

Inadequate pedestrian segregation

Pedestrians and forklifts must always remain a safe distance apart, especially in areas where they cannot be physically separated. Pedestrians, whether colleagues or visiting drivers, should not be permitted to help with loading/unloading and should never try and steady a load, as they will put themselves at risk of trapping injuries or being hit by the truck or the load, should it fall.

Tragically, injuries to pedestrians caused by lost loads are almost always avoidable because the pedestrian should never need to be in the operating area in the first place. Should a forklift lose its load with no-one in proximity, the worst-case scenario is damage to your stock or equipment – not ideal, but far preferable to the devastating consequences should a pedestrian become involved.

Putting robust, reinforced Safe Systems of Work in place, will help to maintain safe working distances. Communicate these systems to everyone who may need to access an area where forklifts operate, however rarely this may be. This includes staff, contractors, visitors and delivery drivers.

Poor visibility when operating a truck

Operators may be tempted to pile up their loads to reduce the number of trips required. Even if the weight falls within the truck’s capacity, high loads can obscure the operator’s view of their surroundings, increasing the risk of them colliding with other vehicles, pedestrians or racking.

Make sure that operators are travelling with a clear view, so that they can stay alert to any surrounding risks. If their view is obscured by the load and they cannot travel in reverse, then they should use a banksman to guide them.

Not wearing seatbelts

The HSE is clear in its guidance: “Where restraining systems are fitted they should be used.”

Forklift operators may prefer to not wear them but the fact is seatbelts significantly reduce the consequences of an accident. If the truck was to become unstable and tip over, a seatbelt will stop the operator from being thrown from the cab, or trying to escape: which can lead to them being trapped under the truck.

Adding seatbelts to company policies makes their use mandatory on site and managers should reinforce this through regular monitoring, refresher training, on-site signage, etc.

Misusing equipment or using the wrong equipment

All too often, avoidable accidents occur when unsuitable equipment is used to complete a task. A common example is using a forklift to raise a colleague, either on the forks or by lifting a pallet or makeshift cage, rather than a purpose-built work platform attachment or MEWP.

Managers should also look out for cases where operators are using equipment in ways it was not designed to be used. For example, lift trucks are built to lift loads, not push them.

Ensure that operators have access to the correct equipment for the task and understand the importance of using it in the way it was designed to be used, to protect themselves and their colleagues.

Speeding

Operational pressures, tight deadlines and high demand can influence some operators to compromise on safety in an attempt to save time. But rushing comes at a high cost when it increases the risk of tip overs or collisions. Even a dropped pallet causes delays and disruption when you factor in clean up, aisle closures, stock replenishment and repairs, and that’s if no-one is hurt.

Check that operators are aware of speed limits on site and that they understand the need to stick to them at all times, regardless of any operational pressures.

Dismounting incorrectly

Lift truck operators can become complacent during mounting/dismounting, simply due to the frequency that this is done every day, and may be tempted to jump from the cab. But this increases the risk of slips and falls, and also adds additional distance between them and their cab, potentially putting them into the path of another vehicle.

Managers should ensure that operators are using the 3 points of contact rule: when entering or exiting a truck, keep either one hand and two feet or two hands and one foot on the truck at all times, until seated or stood firmly on the ground. Mentor’s 3 points of contact poster provides a handy reminder to operator’s on site.

Equip managers with the right skills

These common hazards are just a few examples of risks which managers must target to help protect your team and your business. By regularly monitoring operations and making time for proper supervision, those overseeing your operations can guard against unsafe practice, proactively rectifying any bad habits day-to-day.

According to the HSE’s ACOP (L117), all supervisory staff should be able to:

  • Carry out effective observations and know what to look for.
  • Communicate effectively with operators and line managers.
  • Recognise unsafe practice and behaviour.
  • Maintain and promoting health and safety standards.

Contact us if you require further information.