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DS Smith invests in forklift fire safety

05 February 2021

SITE SUPPORT manager Danny Fairhead outlines the steps taken to boost forklift fire safety at the leading packaging firm.

In 2020, we began working with Fire Shield Systems/Dafo UK & Ireland to protect out people, assets and the environment from fire risk. 

The safety of our fleet operators is our priority, it comes before anything else. It’s essential that our vehicles’ fire detection and suppression solutions support that effectively. Due to the nature of our industry, vehicles on DS Smith sites across the globe operate 24 hours a day, seven days per week.

Our vehicles are replaced every five years to ensure they remain fit for purpose. It’s a big job, and ensuring they are protected to maximise their lifespan is crucial. During operations, trucks and other fleet vehicles can generate very high temperatures. By the nature of our company, this risk is heightened, as vehicles are regularly in use around paper and other combustible materials.

As a result, to maximise site safety – protecting both our people and our assets – it’s essential that each of these vehicles is equipped with a fire detection and suppression solution, tailored to its individual risks. We’ve worked with a number of systems in the past, but when tested, they didn’t always perform to the high standards that we expect. We wanted to find a system that we could trust and rely on to protect our people, should an emergency occur.

Many of our trucks are currently supplied and/or maintained by Linde. We came across Fire Shield Systems/Dafo UK & Ireland as the team has done a lot of work with Linde’s vehicles for them in the past. 

After liaising with the team, we decided to go with their Dafo Vehicle solution, as it demonstrated reliable capabilities and we deemed it to be the best on the market.  

The Dafo system allows for a fully automated response in the event of a fire, as it alerts the driver to the presence of flames, smoke or heat, enabling safe evacuation and deploying the extinguishing agent. The driver is our priority, but the way the system operates will hopefully save our vehicles too.

The Dafo system is tailored to our individual vehicles and their risks through a bespoke application process. It also perfectly supplements our existing risk mitigation processes, which include our regular cleaning regimes and incident reporting processes. 

We haven’t yet tested the system in a real emergency – that’s the real test. Although we hope we never have to, we’ve every confidence it will perform to the highest standard, effectively ensuring the safety of our teams for years to come.

For more information, visit www.fireshieldsystemsltd.co.uk