Combilift marked National Forklift Safety Day (NFSD) on June 8th with a blog by its CEO and Co-Founder Martin McVicar which focused on how pedestrian operated forklifts can contribute to safer operations in the warehouse, DIY and retail outlets. These trucks have become increasingly prevalent and are replacing ride-on forklifts for a number of reasons. A key one of which is safety – for the operator as well as for other personnel, customers or visitors who may be nearby. Their compact footprint and lower cost compared to ride-on trucks have also contributed to their popularity.
New designs and technological advances, such as those pioneered by Combilift, mean that pedestrian operated trucks are now a much more versatile solution for various applications across a wide range of industry sectors. Many of them can handle longer, heavier loads, functioning in essence as larger forklifts, and this has further driven market demand.
Combilift’s pedestrian range now includes the Combi-WR reach stacker, its multidirectional counterpart the Combi-WR4 and the Combi-CS counterbalance stacker. Another model, the Combi-PPT powered pallet truck, can be supplied with a lift capacity of 16 t, to enable even very heavy and bulky loads to be safely and easily moved around the confined areas of a manufacturing facility for example
Operating at walking pace is inherently safer than the speeds that can be achieved with ride-on forklifts, and as operators are closer to the loads they are handling, they are more aware of their working environment. This leads to more careful behaviour compared to when they are in a cab, higher off the ground and therefore further removed from their immediate surroundings – physically as well as psychologically. The temptation to “put their foot down” is also removed.
The design of some brands of pedestrian trucks can pose potential hazards for operators due to the position of the tiller arm at the rear of the unit. Combilift addressed this when it developed its first Combi-WR “Walkie Reach” truck. To substantially reduce the risk of an operator being crushed or trapped between the truck and racking, it came up with the unique, patented multi-position tiller arm which is a key feature of its pedestrian models.
The tiller can be turned to the left or right of the truck and enables push button rotation of the rear wheel parallel to the chassis and back again. It allows the operator to remain in the safest possible position when picking and placing products in narrow aisles – at the side of the truck rather than at the rear. As well as keeping the operator safe, their sight line is not impeded by having to look through the mast, guaranteeing full visibility of the load, the forks, the surroundings and of course any people in the vicinity.