With warehouses constantly evolving due to the development of new technologies, there is an ever-increasing need for materials handling equipment to keep pace with the rate of change. MHE manufacturers are well aware of this and modern lift trucks are now highly sophisticated pieces of equipment with an array of controls and functions to improve performance and aid driver and co-worker safety. This last point is vitally important, as BITA Technical Manager David Goss explains.
The coronavirus pandemic and subsequent lockdown sent the logistics sector into overdrive as demand for food, medical supplies and other essentials escalated rapidly, with many supply operations struggling to meet demand – at least in the initial phases.
In fast-moving warehouse operations where high turnover is a priority, it can be all too tempting to cut corners in an effort to shave a few seconds off cycle times.
Fortunately, many of the safety features incorporated into today’s modern lift trucks help to overcome this problem – provided they are properly used. However, not everyone is able to use the latest equipment. It therefore remains the responsibility of management to ensure their workers are fully trained on the correct use of any piece of MHE they are expected to operate. This includes familiarising themselves with all the safety features.
Once the pandemic is over and a proper study of the logistics’ sector’s response is undertaken, it will be interesting to analyse the statistics to see if accident rates increased as a result of the extra demands placed on the industry.
One benefit – if you can call it that – resulting from the pandemic has been the heightened sense of safety awareness, not just in the logistics industry but across society in general. Who would ever have thought that Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) would be making national – if not global – headlines? But such has been the case.
We can only hope that as the logistics industry moves forward then the lessons learned from the pandemic are implemented and that the safety of everyone working in the industry is secure.
By a strange coincidence, the slogan of National Forklift Safety Day 2020 is ‘Segregation Saves Lives’. This was developed way before the pandemic took hold and Social Distancing became prerequisite. The theme highlights the need for the safe segregation of warehouse workers and MHE, preferably by using physical barriers. Nevertheless, in the current climate, its double meaning takes on added significance.