Reverse sensors can help reduce risks says the HSE ….. we say nothing beats proper training.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has released a new report following an assessment of forklift truck reverse sensor systems.  The report discusses the use of counterbalance lift trucks within a wide variety of industry sectors and how the vast majority of incidents involving lift trucks typically involve vehicle to pedestrian, vehicle to vehicle or vehicle to structure collisions.  Training helps to instil the importance of using certain measures to enhance an operator’s field of vision such as mirrors and reverse sensor systems which are similar to those used within passenger vehicles.  The investigation completed by the HSE delved into the use of active sensor systems to see how they affected, if at all, the risk of collisions with lift trucks in the work place.  The HSE concluded that reverse sensor systems provide a useful function to operators in reducing the risk of collision when mounted correctly onto the truck so there is a sufficient detection zone whilst avoiding false areas of detection.


We say ……. there is no better detection system than looking where you are going when reversing a lift truck.  We teach operators to turn round in their seat and look before moving in reverse and whilst continuing to move in reverse.  If the operator is reversing and turning then we encourage the operator to turn and face the way the truck is moving which is a great aid to vision.  Mirrors, reverse bleepers, flashing lights and sensors are all there to help the forklift operator but looking where you are going at all times is the best way of avoiding collisions.  Having said this, once operators are trained and start using the trucks in their own workplace there should be sufficient control measures to ensure that operators continue to drive safely.


Managers should be aware of the requirements of forklift drivers and although they do not have to be trained operatives they should be mindful of the difficulties and responsibilities that forklift operators face in their daily routine.  We can offer a one day Forklift Appreciation/Awareness course for Managers and Supervisors and for more information on this please call us on 0800 024 8084 or e-mail

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