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The legislative information contained on this web site is my interpretation of the law based on many years in the health and safety business. A definitive interpretation can only be given by the courts. I will therefore not be held responsible for any accident/incident/prosecution arising as a consequence of anyone using any information obtained from this web site.

Risk assessments for forklifts fitted with seatbelts

Shown below is a sample risk assessment form that can be used to see if a fork lift truck could be used without the forklift operator wearing a seat belt. It may be adapted to suit individual company requirements.

  Insignificant risk Low Risk Medium Risk High Risk
Need to traverse slopes        
Need to climb or descend inclines        
Need to move on rough/corrugated ground        
Frequency of bumps, lumps and potholes        
Need to negotiate other obstacles        
Need to move across slippery surfaces        
Opportunity to travel at speed        
Opportunity to corner at speed        
Probability of pedestrians in area        

Assessment of risks

A. if any one of the above hazards is rated medium or high then a vehicle fitted with restraints must be used.

B. If any of hazards 1, 2, 3,4,6 or 8 are rated low then a vehicle fitted with restraints must be used.

C. If hazard 5 is rated low then the nature of tine obstacle must be considered in relation to other hazards, such as likely speeds, and a decision made accordingly,

D. If hazard 7 is considered low then consideration could be given to the fitting of speed limiters or audible or visual warning devices to indicate if a vehicle is being operated above an agreed safe speed limit. (For a vehicle without restraints a safe speed would not be in excess of a fast walking pace - say 4 mph)

If all these hazards are assessed as insignificant then a vehicle without restraints may be used. Even under these circumstances the potential dangers should be made clear to those operators concerned. All managers and supervisors must be made aware of any restrictions that may have been imposed, and be alert to the need for even greater vigilance.

forklift overturn riskIf the risk assessment shows that a truck may be operated without seat belts then some form of warning plate should be fitted in case the truck is used elsewhere. A typical plate is shown here.

Further information relating to this subject is contained in the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations (1998) available from the HSE. The information sheets that are likely to be of assistance are:

HSE information sheet MISC 156 Hiring and leasing out of plant.

HSE information sheet MISC 175 Retrofitting of roll over protection structures, restraining systems and their attachment points to mobile work equipment.

HSE information sheet MISC 241 Fitting and use of restraining systems on lift trucks.

Copies of the above documents are available from: HSE Books, PO Box 1999 Sudbury, Suffolk Telephone 01787 881165  

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