Offering practical solutions
12 December 2012
The FLTA's National Fork Lift Truck Safety Conference took place at Warwick University on the 26th September, concentrating on providing practical solutions to everyday problems The National Fork Lift Truck Safety Co
The National Fork Lift Truck Safety Conference raised a number of issues, with the need for ongoing vigilance of safety processes in the warehouse a recurring theme.
Tony Dyer, training academy manager for Toyota Materials Handling, who presented at the conference says: "It is very important to keep on top of processes and identify risks. For example, newly qualified operators tend be high risk. However, it is worth noting that experienced drivers run the risk of complacency." Tony adds that many companies have no problem improving safety performance in the wake of an accident but often struggle to sustain this effort over time.
He speculates that this lack of staying power could be due to supervisors lacking sufficient development.
Taking a question from an end user in the audience on the difficulties of getting employee buy-in when pushing a health and safety drive, Tony suggested using islands of improvement to inspire the general workforce.
"Get smaller groups to succeed and act as a model for the rest of workforce to follow. It is key to get people involved in the process and ask them for ideas, and remember it's a journey not a quick fix," he explains.
Both Toyota and Linde, who also presented at the conference, emphasised making the most of the advanced forklifts now available in the marketplace, adding that there are instances when safety innovations in trucks are not used.
In terms of practical solutions, a speed barrow solution presented by Roadside Technologies (see picture) offered a novel option.
The company's Marc Littlewood says: "A company reacting to a Health & Safety Executive intervention realised they needed to properly audit how fast their forklifts were driving. We looked at it for them and the first thing we realised is that forklifts don't have speedometers. We also realised that while operators were asked to keep to 5mph, or 10mph they had no real idea of how fast they were going." The company asked to use radar guns to measure the speed but these do not work under 5mph. Instead Roadside supplied a barrow-based solution, which displays forklift speed and speed limit in a way that is easy for the operators to follow. The system can also be set up to create a log for audit purposes and be equipped with a camera to catch speeding operators in the act.
For new forklifts with fleet management tools, this type of solution is redundant but is an option for older models.
Marc says: "Not every company has modern forklifts. One customer even placed bolts under the accelerator pedal to try to tackle the speeding issue."