Essential information for end of life vehicle dismantling, depollution and recycling


Safe forklift operation – part 1

Tim Waples Chief Executive FLTA on forklift safety
Tim Waples, Chief Executive of the FLTA

In the first of a two-part series, Tim Waples, Chief Executive of the Fork Lift Truck Association (FLTA), explains the role of managers and operators in upholding onsite safety and best practice.

If there’s one thing more dangerous than a forklift in a vehicle recycling and dismantling centre, it’s complacency.

Handling operations are so familiar that we are easily lulled into thinking “accidents will never happen here” …but every year 1300 people working on or alongside forklifts are killed or seriously injured. That’s five every working day. And the injuries aren’t just bumps and scrapes, they’re fractures, crushes, degloving and amputations. 

Almost every one of those accidents could have avoided by implementing some basic procedures. However, introducing them is only the first step. Procedures need to be constantly refreshed, reviewed and reinforced throughout the organisation.

Here, we have broken down some top tips and advice for managers and operators — as it is the actions of individuals that when combined lead to important cultural shifts towards safer practice that ultimately benefit a business and its workforce.


Management means all levels – from the managing director and department or functional managers, through to supervisors and shift leaders.

These individuals have ultimate responsibility. It’s a legal requirement for them to be competent in supervising forklift operations — which means being trained to understand their responsibilities and how to fulfil them. It is no good blaming an operator for poor performance when it is the duty of management to employ the right staff, provide training and supervise activities.

Risk assessment is a key tool in the fight for a safe working environment. This includes the layout and condition of your site, the type and specification of equipment used, the maintenance regimes, and the training, monitoring and discipline of your operators.

Remember, a safe manager:

  • Understands the tasks to be performed and the risks involved.
  • Sees to it that regular inspections of the site and equipment take place.
  • Ensures that remedial action is taken to keep the site and equipment in a safe condition.
  • Makes sure that work practices are designed to minimise risk.
  • Knows that different types of materials handling equipment have different operating characteristics, and that it may be necessary to use different types of equipment for different tasks and/or locations.
  • Maintains an awareness of developments in materials handling equipment so that best use can be made of the safest and most appropriate equipment for the task to be performed.
  • Insists that maintenance is carried out in accordance with manufacturers’ recommendations and that Thorough Examinations are carried out as required by current regulations.
  • Acknowledges the requirement for operator training, and monitoring of skills and attitudes, and appreciates that if tasks vary and different equipment is to be used, additional training will probably be required.
  • Is able to identify good and bad practice and has authority to take remedial action to rectify poor performance as quickly as possible.


safe forklift operationAlthough managers have a key role to play, it is up to an operator to take responsibility for how they work day-to-day. Safe operators take training seriously and maintain high standards at all times.

Operators should not, for instance, operate types of equipment they haven’t been trained to use — and must not allow untrained colleagues to operate, or mess with, any kind of material handling equipment.

It is crucial that operators check their truck properly before every shift, report any defects and not use a truck that’s considered to be unsafe.

Operators should not take shortcuts but must observe good practice at all times. 

Remember, a safe operator:

    • Doesn’t speed.
    • Doesn’t overload their truck (and checks the load capacity if they are unsure).
    • Uses the parking brake as taught.
    • Wears the seat belt (if fitted).
    • Keeps well clear of pedestrians and potential hazards.
    • Slows down when near pedestrians, trucks and other hazards.
    • Takes particular care in loading bays.
    • Respects their truck.
    • Looks out for their co-workers.

Safe operators also understand that they and others are at great risk if their truck overturns, and will do all they can to avoid this happening. Some of the most common reasons for trucks overturning are:

  • Travelling on slopes that are too steep.
  • Going over slippery surfaces, such as oil or grease patches, ice, or just water.
  • Trying to cross soft or uneven ground.
  • Going over curbs, steps or other edges.
  • Being overloaded or unevenly loaded.
  • Going too fast, especially around corners.
  • Carrying loads at a dangerous height.

In part two of our safe forklift operation guidelines, we will be looking into the main components of site and truck safety, with clear steps on minimising hazards in the workplace. 

About the FLTA

The FLTA is the UK’s leading authority on forklift trucks. It exists to maintain and raise standards within the materials handling industry. The Association provides information and technical support to members, promotes best practice throughout the industry, and protects the interests of lift truck users. 

Join the Safe User Group

Created by the FLTA, the Safe User Group offers expert advice, safety resources, updates on legislation and much more to support companies in improving safety on site. For more information on joining the Safe User Group, visit:

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Owain Griffiths

Owain Griffiths

Head of Circular Economy at Volvo Cars

Owain joined Volvo Cars in June 2021 to lead Circular Economy in the Global Sustainability Team. The company has committed to being a circular business by 2040 and has financial, recycled content and CO2 based targets for 2025, all of which Owain is working across the company to make happen. Owain previously worked for circular economy consultancy Oakdene Hollins where he advised businesses on evidence led circular economy implementation. 

Turning into a circular business and the importance of vehicle reuse and recycling.

The presentation will cover the work Volvo Cars is doing to achieve 2025 but mainly focus on the transformational work towards 2040 and the business and value chain changes being considered. Attention will be paid to the way vehicles are being dealt with at the end of life and the complexities of closing material and component loops. Opportunities and challenges which Volvo Cars is facing will be presented including engagement with 3rd parties and increasing pressure from stakeholders.

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The power of the network model means e2e has the ability to influence industry standards and is committed to continually raising the bar whilst redefining the role and perceived value of the salvage operator.  Network members adhere to robust service level agreements, against which they are audited, in order to ensure performance consistency and a market leading customer experience.  

The salvage and recycling operating environment is evolving rapidly, and e2e is anticipating, listening and responding to changing market needs.  Regulatory compliance, ESG, reclaimed parts, customer experience, EVs, new vehicle technologies, data and reputation risk are just some of many considerations linked to the procurement of salvage services.  e2e will drive further added value to clients and members through the adoption and application of emerging technologies, continuing to differentiate its proposition and position salvage services as a professional partnership. 

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