As Britain’s warehouses face pressure to work longer and achieve higher productivity, the number of forklift-related accidents is rising. With 5,700 reported incidents involving forklifts between 1st January 2016 and 6th March this year, the National Forklift Safety Day on June 11th is a welcome development.

The National Forklift Safety Day is the UK arm of a global initiative established six years ago in the US by the Industrial Truck Association. BITA is fronting up the campaign here, working with its members and an impressive list of supporting industry associations and other stakeholders, including the HSE, UKWA, FLTA, CFTS, RTITB and IMHX. BITA members and others are being encouraged to promote the initiative by joining the social media campaign and using the dedicated hashtags #NFSD19 and #nationalforkliftsafetyday.

As BITA Secretary General James Clark says, while 11th June provides the focal point for raising awareness, it’s only a start. To prevent needless deaths and serious injuries we must strive to make every day National Forklift Safety Day.

Ultimately if you decide you need more trucks, the choice comes down to long term rental or outright purchase. We have case studies of both. Yale dealer Emtor has a successful relationship with Bonduelle frozen vegetable factory in Gniewkowo, Poland, which processes 30,000 tonnes of veg every year. Emtor works closely with Bonduelle to ensure their rfleet of 40 long-term rental Yale trucks meets the client’s specific requirements, namely the cold environment and narrow aisles of their warehouse.

On the outright purchase front, Acclaim Handling in Purfleet, Essex has completed a deal with Nottingham-based security barrier manufacturer, Hardstaff Barriers, for two new Hyundai 80D-9 diesel, 8,000 kg, counter balance forklifts in a deal worth £132K.

Forklift technology continues to advance. ELOKON, a developer and supplier of safety and assistance systems for industrial vehicles, AGVs and cobots, has won overall Gold Winner in the Safety Category of the Plant Engineering Product of the Year Award for its ELOshield proximity detection/anticollision system for forklifts and pedestrians, which warns drivers and pedestrians in the warehouse when they are in unsafe situations and triggers system reactions, such as automatic vehicle slow-down.

In other tech news, I.D. Systems, the intelligent Fleet Management specialist, has launched PowerFleet EXPERT, which it describes as ‘the next smart solution for the management of forklifts and other material handling equipment.’ Suitable for all makes of forklift, EXPERT is offered as a SaaS solution, with no need for local IT resources or servers. Fleet operators and fleet managers simply log into the web-based “Infomatics” software for a comprehensive overview.

We started this piece by highlighting National Forklift Safety Day. We end on a call to find Britain’s best forklift operator. UniCarriers has teamed with Talent in Logistics to find the most talented forklift operator attending this year’s IMHX. UniCarriers are hosting the first ever Forklift Operator Challenge at the exhibition from September 24-27, with entrants invited to prove their skill by operating UniCarriers’ awardwinning TX3 electric counterbalance truck. Spread the word.

CHARLES SMITH

Feature Writer