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UKMHA calls for a cultural revolution in safety

Leading forklift industry body stresses importance of company-wide safety plans

With the NHS under great pressure due to the pandemic, now more than ever it is imperative that incidents requiring medical assistance, major or minor, are avoided.

Due to this, the UK Material Handling Association has stressed the importance of creating a ‘safety culture’ at businesses beyond just making site changes.

As Tim Waples, Director of the UKMHA puts it: “A company’s safety culture is what happens when the management isn’t there. If the only thing keeping people from breaking the rules and cutting corners is having someone watch them, then safety simply hasn’t made its way into the company culture.”

While physical changes to a workplace are important (such as improved signage, more clearly-defined walkways, better segregation between pedestrians and forklifts etc.) the Association believes that this is only half the job.

Getting the entire workforce engaged with the company safety plans and wholly onboard with ongoing changes is a vital step that’s often overlooked.

“Knowing what has to change and making those changes is a solid first step,” explains Tim Waples, “But without that buy-in right from the top of management down to the shop floor, it won’t last and you’ll soon be back where you were before.

“It’s not an overnight process, and cultural change takes time and hard work, but if you can motivate everyone to take responsibility for the process, then it’s a lot easier.”

The UKMHA’s Safe User Group has a wealth of practical resources to improve site safety in noticeable but low cost ways. It provides tools to start the safety journey and to keep the conversation going.

Visit https://ukmha.org.uk/safe-user-group/ for more information on SUG membership benefits and how to join.

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