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Welcome to the latest issue of Warehouse and Logistics News. Once again we have had a chat on Zoom with Martin McVicar, managing director of Combilift. The day we spoke to him, June 9, was National Forklift Safety Day, something Martin was very keen to flag up. NFSD is now in its seventh year and 2020 marks the first time the UK and US versions of the event have been brought together into one day. Sadly Covid-19 has put something of a spanner in the works this year, as Martin put it, lessening the impact of the event. The purpose of NFSD is to highlight forklift safety, creating awareness that operators and pedestrians need to be separated for maximum safety. Martin says Combilift designs its products to be easy to operate, as ease of use makes the products safer. With the company making a 7% annual investment in R&D, its latest launch is the Combilift Container Slip-Sheet, designed for quicker and easier mechanised loading of products into containers.

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Our fork lift trucks feature further highlights the message from NFSD, that physical barriers are the best way to achieve segregation of pedestrians from materials handling equipment. However, traffic planning, route marking and effective information delivery are also important in preventing the vast majority of fatalities and serious injuries.

As lockdown begins to lift and logistics operations prepare to get back to work, rarely has it been more important to pay proper attention to forklift batteries that have been out of action for several weeks, our power sources feature reports. Over the last three months of lockdown the supply chain has played a critical role in the management of the Covid-19 crisis. LPG and batteries have kept the forklift trucks and other cargo handling equipment running, which has been essential to supply chains for food, medical services and personal care products. The loss or reduction of the availability of LPG and batteries for these critical applications could prove devastating to health systems, food distribution and logistics networks, and the broader economy in a time of dire need. Warehouse operators have a duty to keep the loading bay safe. This part of the warehouse has the potential to be hazardous, our loading bay feature notes. Risks include drive-away, vehicle creep and slip hazards.

In his guest column, Peter Ward of the UKWA urges the sector to engage in the government’s freeports consultation process. In its latest survey, the UKWA has asked its members if the introduction of freeports is the best solution to support economic recovery as well as protecting businesses against the challenges of Brexit – and is it good news for our sector? It is worth remembering that freeports need not be sea ports, but could include inland depots too.

Kettering based manufacturer Steps and Stillages Ltd is a family company spanning two generations. Current Managing Director Graham Reid took over from his dad, who started the firm 35 years ago. A big thanks to Graham for going the extra mile in his speedy delivery of the steps for our warehouse.

Until next time, enjoy reading the issue and stay safe.

James Surridge

Publishing Editor

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