bita-logoBITA (the British Industrial Truck Association) has worked hard during 2009 to provide its members with a range of added value services. The harsh economic conditions experienced in 2009 meant that both the sales statistics reporting service and the newly introduced longer term economic forecasting service offered by BITA played a vital role in helping its members to navigate their way through the troubled waters. No doubt they will continue to be of great assistance to members during the conditions of modest recovery that are now forecast for 2010.

Additionally, 2009 was an important year for fork lift truck legislation, and consequently for BITA in its other key role as an interpreter and influencer of all new EU legislation affecting the UK sector of the fork lift truck industry. In particular, in view of the new EC Machinery Directive, which comes into effect from 29 December 2009, BITA’s Technical activities  have been tirelessly engaged this year in guiding and preparing members on matters of technical compliance and risk assessment best practice. The new directive is designed to ensure a common policy of safety and supply across the European Economic Area (EEA) and will result in a fair, level and fundamentally safer playing field for all concerned

During 2009 the CFTS Thorough Examination scheme saw a remarkable double digit increase in activity. This, BITA believes, reflects the fact that industrial truck manufacturers have responded to the economic challenge by recognising customers may wish to prolong the life of trucks already in service, or elect to purchase second-hand rather than brand-new models.

Older trucks need greater care, however, and it is reassuring to see that users are heeding the need to maintain rigorous inspection regimes as the foundation of ‘managed in’ safety. Every fork lift truck in service, including hired vehicles, should by law have a ‘Thorough Examination’ at regular set intervals. For peace of mind and full legal compliance, the Thorough Examination is best undertaken by a provider who has been accredited by Consolidated Fork Truck Services (CFTS) – see

Telescopic handlers (‘telehandlers’) remained a special area of safety focus for BITA members in 2009. Working closely with the Health & Safety Executive, BITA members have continued to make some impressive advances in telehandler visibility and operational safety. A new standard is in preparation – pr EN 15380 – Rough terrain variable reach trucks: Visibility test methods and verification – which is expected to be published in  2010. It’s also crucially important to remember that BITA provides industry-leading guidance in the safe operation of telehandlers. Two of its renowned, pocket-sized safety booklets (the ‘red’ and ‘yellow’ books) and several BITA Guidance Notes, including GN28, GN44 and GN61, cover the more technical aspects of  telehandler safety management. See for more details..

Finally, BITA continued to provide invaluable social networking support for its members through its AGM and Ball, which were both held in April, and the annual BITA Golf Day.  The latter took place in September, with 67 guests enjoying a fine day of golf followed by a delicious gala dinner at Moor Hall Golf Club, Sutton Coldfield.

So as you can see, 2009 has been an eventful year for BITA in which significant progress has been achieved on many fronts, despite the obvious challenges. As the year draws to a close, I wish you all the very best for a more prosperous and stable 2010!

Contact BITA by phone: 01344 623800 or email:

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