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The True Cost of Poorly Maintained Forklift Trucks

Complete Material Handling, reveals the true cost of poorly maintained Forklift Trucks

Over 1,400 UK employees are hospitalised each year with serious forklift related injuries, according to the British Safety Council. What’s more, five workers each day suffer life-changing injuries as a result of forklift accidents.

Aside from the health and safety implications, there are several less visible material handling costs that can significantly impact your bottom line if your forklift safety isn’t considered a key priority.

Unforeseen equipment damage is a burden on small businesses

Warehousing already makes up a large percentage of a company’s logistics costs without taking into consideration damage to material handling equipment such as the truck or nearby pallets and racking as a result of an accident.

Equipment damage and the subsequent repairs necessary can cost businesses upwards of thousands, depending on the scale of the incident. Unforeseen costs such as these pose a significant challenge to material handling companies.

Increased downtime stalls production and harms profits

Downtime, as a result of a severe forklift accident, can have significant consequences for your businesses, including stalled production, decreased revenue and reduced profits.

Complete Material Handling MD Kevin Richardson said:

‘some operations can be so tight on time that if a truck goes down, they may have to stop an entire assembly line. So, you can imagine the financial impact of that is quite high. This is a common practice, that can be future-proofed with planned preventative maintenance 

Although it may be tempting to cut corners when it comes to implementing Health and Safety measures such as routine maintenance, equipment checks, providing adequate training, the associated costs of forklift accidents can escalate exponentially. This can be harmful to both employee wellbeing and the future of the business.

Poor health and safety culture increase staff turnover

Labour costs are typically the most considerable expense in the warehouse. In many operations, it can account for up to 50% of a warehouse’s total operating costs.

High levels of employee turnover drive a negative cycle, increasing the requirement for temporary or poorly hired staff who will not necessarily be sufficiently trained. This heightens the risk of workplace accidents, further increasing the issue.

The disastrous human cost of forklift accidents

Every accident is avoidable and is always unwelcome, but most forklift incidents are relatively minor, where those involved suffer mild or slight injuries. Unfortunately, it’s common for forklift accidents to leave victims with serious injuries resulting in long recovery periods and extended time off work.

In worst-case scenarios, a forklift accident can result in life-changing injuries or fatality. Disastrous events like these are easily preventable by implementing simple health and safety measures. If these measures are not implemented adequately, the true cost of forklift accidents including their impact on your staff and their families can be immeasurable.

Where will you end up? Compensation, fines and legal costs can be crushing for businesses.

Employers are responsible for covering employees’ medical costs should they be involved in an accident in the workplace. Depending on how serious the incident, it’s not uncommon for direct and indirect damages to range from £40,000- £200,000.

Kevin highlights how easily forklift accidents can escalate, explaining that ‘if someone gets hurt, there’s going to be an investigation, you get sued, there’s going to be court action’, and the list goes on.

Unsurprisingly, forklift accidents can be especially damaging for small businesses financially. However, paying out high legal costs can be easily avoided by taking the appropriate measures to ensure safety and providing suitable operator training from the outset.

Will your clients what to understand?

Should any or all of the above be a worry for your clients? What is the cost of a missed delivery for your business? Will they consider the poor preparation, lack of training, and your inability to deliver for them a suitable excuse?

Health and safety and crucial to reducing the cost of forklift accidents

The impact of forklift accidents can stretch well beyond the human costs, directly contributing to the total cost of ownership of your forklift fleet.

Although disregarding workplace safety measures may appear to save time and money in the short term, the financial repercussions of an accident are often widespread and costly.

Kevin emphasises that ‘If someone’s trained on a forklift, it’s a psychological thing, they buy into the ownership of the truck. They’ve got a tendency to treat it better as well.’

To prevent accidents from occurring, implementing the appropriate health and safety measures is crucial. In particular, carrying out routine equipment checks, scheduled maintenance, and frequent training, which will all play an essential part in improving safety and reducing the cost of forklift accidents to your business.

For any advice or more information on this topic. Please give Kevin Richardson a call on 0191 271 0899 or visit