2018 National Fork Lift Safety Convention

Following on from our Safetember safety month campaign, October 3rd saw industry delegates join us in Coventry for this year's National Fork Lift Safety Convention.

Safety Conference Crowd

Those who have been to earlier events will notice the shift from 'Conference' to 'Convention'. A small name change, but one we felt would better reflect the expanding scope of the event. With the addition of the Safety Exhibition in 2017 and the positive feedback we heard,this seemed like a good time to make the change.

A diverse and impressive line-up of speakers echoed the theme for 2018:

Forklift safety — it’s a journey, not a destination

This need for constant improvement was highlighted in a speech by John Buckley of event sponsor Toyota Material Handling, giving us igsights into the Toyota philosophy .

“He knew how to drive a forklift… he just didn’t know how to drive it safely…”

The words came from Kanwal Kanda, Head of Transportation at the HSE, as part of his keynote address to a capacity audience of safety managers and industry specialists. A tragic epitaph for a young operator and a sobering start to the National Forklift Safety Convention.

Sharing the startling statistics for prosecutions, he added “… but it’s not about the fines or their size – it’s about the impact on an individual and all those they leave behind.

A first-hand account of just how a serious injury can impact on an entire family was provided by Lisa Ramos. Although its more than a decade since she lost her leg after being run over by a forklift, her legacy is a permanent one… excruciating and near-constant pain in what remains of her amputated leg, and a son whose ongoing psychological problems have dramatically diminished his life options.

High among a programme of high calibre speakers was thought-leading Behavioural Psychologist Dr Tim Marsh who, in a wide-ranging and provocative presentation used audience participation to demonstrate that all of us routinely do things with potentially disastrous consequences. 

Urging for constant vigilance he stressed the need for high impact: low cost solutions .. a challenge that was taken up by Reece Cherry of Kraft Heinz who provided a whole raft of simple but very practical measure to help make forklift operations safer.

His was one in a fascinating series of safe site case studies: peer-to-peer presentations that showcased what companies are doing as part of their safety journey.

Through a series of entertaining examples Barry Williams of Travis Perkins explained that, although one-size-fits-all solutions are rarely effective, small, specific and increments changes can shift perceptions and adapt behaviours significantly for the better.

Following him, Eddie Grime of the Vita Group picked up strand that ran throughout the day: the need to achieve genuine engagement in a mutually respectful and trusting environment. “Bringing people with you whooping and clapping, not kicking and screaming.”