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Forklift truck safety celebrated

23 January 2013

Safety was top of the agenda at the fork lift truck industry's annual awards ceremony for 2010. FLTA chief executive David Ellison explains why, and tells HSM about the companies and individuals that were recognised for t

Safety was top of the agenda at the fork lift truck industry's annual awards ceremony for 2010. FLTA chief executive David Ellison explains why, and tells HSM about the companies and individuals that were recognised for their potentially life-saving advances

Each year the fork lift truck industry comes together to celebrate excellence in its respective fields with bronze statuettes called the Archies.

Underlining the FLTA Awards' commitment to safety this year was the presence of Carol Grainger, manager of the Health and Safety Executive Workplace Transport Unit, presenting the Award for Design Achievement on behalf of the FLTA.

The winner was young graduate from the University of West England, Luke Elmer. His Award-winning design, the "Vibralert" system, has the potential to save lives on the workplace floor. Based on introducing existing technology into a new and vital application, his product consists of a small receiver worn on a band around a worker's wrist. When it detects signals from a nearby fork lift truck, the receiver vibrates, warning the wearer to be aware of potential danger.

The devices cost just a few pounds to install on sites, yet the potential ramifications for workplace transport safety are huge. When describing the product, President of the FLTA John Chappell said that he hoped that the Award would stimulate further development of the product ? it clearly has a great deal of potential.

Safe Site One of the evening's most poignant moments came when Anglesey Aluminium Metals picked up the Safe Site Award. Only in its third year, the Award is given to companies which demonstrate not just an awareness of safety requirements, but a profound dedication to addressing them. The Award highlights sites that adopt the best safety practices, in the hope that others will be encouraged to follow suit.

Anglesey Aluminium, this year's winner, was awarded its Archie because the company went beyond the simple call of duty in promoting safety. It received the Award for seeking to protect the entire workforce by adopting a zero tolerance" attitude to accidents.

To achieve this, the company installed a number of preventative measures, including full training and the implementation of total segregation between pedestrians and vehicles. It took on board all the best advice that the fork lift truck industry and the HSE could give, and applied it across its own site.

What was even more commendable was that the company went further than this and extended the benefit of its safety measures to companies across the country. It released a large number of its in-house safety training DVDs free of charge to the FLTA to distribute to any company who required them. When these ran out, it also allowed the FLTA to put large clips from the DVD onto the popular video-sharing website YouTube, meaning that any company with an internet connection could benefit from its training.

Safety Award The four product categories comprising the FLTA's "Pick of the Year" are always the most hotlycontested Awards, and this year's were no different. In particular, the Safety Award was presented to ABEX Ltd against some tough competition, for its MAP3 Access Platform.

Working at heights on impromptu platforms is one of the biggest causes of accidents that the industry faces. To tackle this, the MAP3 includes a number of safety features. It can safely carry up to three people and a windscreen, it immobilises when it is use and it has extendable sidebars to allow for safe operation. All of these result in vastly safer working conditions.

Products like this and the other five finalists in the same category show that the materials handling industry continues to take safety as seriously as possible.

Safety ? for life Indeed, the FLTA itself demonstrates a dedication to safety outside of the Awards. Last year's National Fork Lift Safety Week featured in regional and national press, bringing awareness of the need for workplace transport safety to the nation's breakfast tables.

Its annual Safety Conference introduces new best practice and deals with difficult safety issues relevant to all businesses operating fork lift trucks.

As the UK's independent authority on fork lift trucks, it falls to us to lead the way for working safely. That's why it was such an important theme at this year's Awards, and why this year's Safety Conference will feature a number of high-level experts giving the benefit of their wisdom ? for the safety of the industry.

For a full list of winners at the FLTA Awards 2010, visit the FLTA website at www.fork-truck.org.uk.