The number of workplace accidents involving forklifts remains obstinately high. Which is why Toyota Material Handling continues to develop new and better safety technology, says the company’s QHSE Manager, Paul Mulcahy.

Paul Mulcahy is Toyota Material Handling UK‘s Quality, Health & Safety and Environment manager. He has over 30 years’ experience of the materials handling industry

Despite the noteworthy efforts over many years of such respected organisations as the Fork Lift Truck Association (FLTA), the British Industrial Truck Association (BITA) and the United Kingdom Warehousing Association (UKWA) to shine a spotlight on the often devastating consequences of lift truck accidents, the number of workplace accidents involving forklifts remains high.

Indeed, according to the Health and Safety Executive, a worker in the transport and distribution sector suffers a serious injury as a result of an incident involving a lift truck every single day of the year.

Forklifts colliding when entering or leaving an aisle, trucks overturning and machines colliding with pedestrians within a warehouse or other industrial site, are among the most common type of accidents recorded.

And, in the overwhelming majority of cases, responsibility for the mishap is initially deemed to lie with the truck operator so, clearly, any innovations in lift truck technology that alert the operator to approaching risks have a crucial part to play in making trucks and the environment in which they work safer for everyone.

Toyota has always been at the forefront of the development of new and advanced safety solutions. For example, as long ago as 1999 we launched our iconic SAS – System of Active Stability.

Regarded as one of the most important safety developments in the material handling industry, the Toyota SAS dramatically reduces the risk of truck tip-overs by detecting unsafe operating conditions. In simple terms, if the system’s sensors recognise a hazard, features that immediately enhance a truck’s lateral and longitudinal stability are automatically triggered – making it considerably harder to roll or tip the machine.

The patented System of Active Stability is a standard feature on most of the models in the Toyota range and, to further improve warehouse safety, a wide range of add-on devices are also available.

For example, safety spot lamps are a simple, but nonetheless highly effective means of alerting pedestrians to the presence of a lift truck. Priced at under one hundred pounds and sold online at www.toyota-forklifts.co.uk, the simple-to-fit LED light projects a clearly visible blue or red spot several metres behind or in front of the truck to warn those on foot that there is an approaching forklift.

Alternatively, Toyota’s SpotMe is a far more sophisticated warning system. In areas with poor visibility, SpotMe reacts to heat emissions to alert truck drivers and pedestrians to the potential dangers of collisions. After observing a moving object, the system’s sensor sends a signal towards a warning unit, which alerts employees with a flashing light. SpotMe is a stationary warning system that can be scaled to fit all sizes of business and placed anywhere.

 

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