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Toyota makes 2012 'Year of Safety'

23 January 2013

Toyota Material Handling UK has launched Taking Care with Toyota, a campaign featuring a number of initiatives and events designed to help reduce injury and accidents in the workplace. Health & Safety Matters reports from the launch of the scheme in December

Few organisations can rival the insight Toyota Material Handling has into health and safety accidents in warehousing and logistics. By virtue of the huge number of trucks the company manages in the UK, it has a wealth of data on incidents covering causes and contributing factors as well as the means to calculate how much cost they can add to a company's bottom line.

Tony Wallis, operations director at Toyota Material Handling UK explained at the launch: "We have some 40,000 trucks in the UK market, so we get an insight into accidents every day. For example, at 9.30 yesterday morning a forklift driver hit ice and couldn't stop his machine, he jumped off and broke his ankle." This intelligence backs up Toyota's decision to shift its strategy for 2012 to focus on issues beyond its products.

Toyota has launched the Taking Care with Toyota campaign arguing that for customers focusing on product alone is no longer sufficient. Customers are increasingly demanding the back up of strong service and support and a positive impact on health and safety.

Wallis continued: "There is an average of 43 injuries per week in materials handling, 11 serious. Five of these happen to people over 55 years of age. Twenty are pedestrians struck by moving forklifts. Someone is killed every six weeks in the UK by a forklift. The rate doubles in September (due to the run up to Christmas).

"As a manufacturer, we feel a responsibility to minimise that as much as possible. We also have evidence that customers are rating health and safety as more important." In March 2011, Toyota commissioned Redshift Research to survey decision makers in materials handling procurement to identify the most important factors in the buying process. In an unprompted question as many as 41% of respondents rated health and safety as critically important.

Toyota is also keen to emphasise that health and safety does not stand alone as an issue, isolated from other parts of the business. Instead, the company argues, it is integral to the business.

"Health and safety goes hand in hand with driving down costs," explains Wallis.

"People are the biggest challenge. We know that for every £1 the customer spends on trucks, he'll spend £1 on damage. We aim to provide training and a host of practical tools to employers, and to help people look at whole life costs when procuring." Toyota cautioned end users to pay attention to issues such as agency workers.

For example, they could have a counterbalance truck certificate but experience on a three wheel electric, and may be asked to operate a four wheel diesel. The driver needs to be familiarised with the new equipment, argues Toyota. If it doesn't happen, the risk of an incident is likely to rise.

"Promoting safety in the workplace goes beyond providing our customers with the safest trucks, it also requires that we demonstrate to companies the benefits of training their people and putting processes in place to create a culture of safety," said Wallis.

Guide and simulator to be launched
Toyota's Year of Safety will involve the release of the Toyota Manual Handling Guide and the launch of an operator simulator in June. This will be deployed at exhibitions and used in customer visits.

Toyota is also using Instant Messenger chat on its website during business hours to assist forklift users with issues they may have.

Internally Toyota is focusing on providing its team members with information about healthier living and safety in the workplace and having dedicated areas in the depots focused on safety. Toyota has started this process by creating a Safety Dojo at one of its main depots in Leicester. The Safety Dojo is a training area where visitors and employees can learn safety awareness and practices with a hands-on approach.

In addition to the UK Year of Safety, Toyota Material Handling has extended its partnership with the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EUOSHA) as an official partner for the Healthy Workplaces campaign for the second year. It joined forces with EUOSHA in 2011 to promote the importance of maintenance and safe maintenance practices across Europe.

Take the Forklift Challenge
Toyota has also launched a 'Forklift Challenge' mobile application to raise awareness about the capabilities of the Toyota System of Active Stability (SAS) on its forklifts and how it can lower costs in business. The game allows you to climb into the driver's seat and experience the type of work that takes place in material handling â€" as well as the costs incurred by unsafe practices.

The Forklift Challenge is now available online for PC and MAC via: www.toyotaforklifts.

eu.The mobile version of the game is available for free via iTunes for iPad, iPad 2, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4. It is also available on the Android Market and requires Android 2.1.

The Toyota team will be at Health & Safety South performing demonstrations of equipment which help reduce strain and distributing resources to aid best practice, including the Toyota Manual Handling