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What the state of your truck says about your safety standards

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Knocks, bumps, scrapes… There’s a commonly-held belief that these types of daily damage are inevitable when you’re running a busy fleet of forklift trucks. In fact, it’s so acceptable at some companies that their annual budgets regularly include six-figure contingencies for repairing or replacing racking alone.

Focusing on managing the damage may appear to be an effective approach but the real, substantial savings are to be made by tackling the root causes, namely: unsafe operation.

Damage to your lift trucks, site and stock should be a stark warning that best practice is not being followed… and, if you don’t take action, you could be putting your operations, your staff and your profits at risk.

According to IOSH, 70% of workplace incidents are preventable by good management, and we believe 70% of costs are too. So let’s take a look at the money you could be saving…

Unnecessary costs

Aside from your basic responsibilities for safety, the costs associated with ‘everyday’ bumps, scrapes and prangs are a huge incentive for improving operating standards. Costs quickly mount up and if you’re running a decent-sized fleet, a £100,000 bill at the end of a typical contract is not unheard of.

The tip of the iceberg…

Where’s there’s damage to your FLTs, you can be certain there’s damage to racking and stock, too. As a ‘rule of thumb’, for every £1 of damage to a truck, you can expect damage costs ranging from £5 to £20 elsewhere on site.

Take racking, for instance. Not only will there will be a cost for repair or replacement; how will you manage in the interim? Will you need to take the aisle out of action? What about your customers’ outstanding orders?

Then there’s damage to safety barriers. This should be a major red flag for dangerous practice. Essentially, your first line of defence in keeping forklifts and pedestrians segregated has been compromised. Not only does this incur a cost to repair but another solution must now be implemented to ensure safety, or staff will be put at risk. This is a breach of H&S law that, under the latest sentencing guidelines, could result in a crippling fine.

But it’s not just the fixtures and fittings to bear in mind. Even a simple dropped pallet, for example, comes at a cost. While the cost of writing off the stock varies widely, many factors remain the same: clean up, restocking, aisle closures, re-site and recycling costs.

Managing your operating standards

If you notice excessive damage to your trucks, it may be a sign that further training is required. While it’s easy to attribute the damage to those behind the wheel, as a manager, it’s your responsibility to ensure standards are upheld.

A good manager needs the relevant knowledge to be able to recognise unsafe practice and the confidence to stop it in its tracks. Training for managers is often overlooked but without the relevant skills and knowledge, managers are ill-equipped to ensure your workplace stays safe.

By training your operators to be safe and your managers to manage safely, you can make substantial savings and benefit from more efficient operations. Ultimately, good safety makes good commercial sense.

For information on training available for those managing forklift operations, click here or get in touch – we’ll be happy to help.

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