Our experts believe this year could be the biggest opportunity for forklift safety improvements since awareness of the subject began. In fact, that’s why our colleagues in Aisle Master parent company Combilift decided to sponsor the UK Manual Handling Association’s convention in June and why we passionately support National Forklift Safety Day too.
But what makes 2022 so important? It’s simple: the rise in demand for building, including DIY materials post-Covid combined with the arrival of innovations like the offset tiller arm make forklift safety both more essential than ever and easier than ever to achieve.
Read on to discover why improving forklift safety in your businesses can’t wait AND explore recommended forklift specification advice from our experts.
Forklift Safety in 2022
Sticking with the UK as an example, the Construction Products Association predicted earlier this year that output in its industry would grow by 4.3% in 2022. It added that housebuilding remains key and that “the outlook for volume remains positive, with most major house builders reporting strong near-term demand and healthy profit margins fuelled by demand for housing in affordable areas of the UK”.
Meanwhile, demand for DIY materials has reached unprecedented heights, due to a demand for utility bill-reducing and home office projects, leading to two major UK retailers announcing wage increases for colleagues.
Factors such as these all add up, however, they also put greater pressures on warehouse performance as well as potentially greater interaction between materials handling equipment and pedestrians and therefore increased opportunities for /likelihood of accidents.
The good news? Forklift design has advanced ahead of this trend and now offers simple, highly effective features you can – and should – review as potential options to reduce the chances of an accident in your warehouse.
We’re proud to sponsor the UKMHA Safety Convention 2022. Combilift CEO Martin McVicar, a world renowned materials handling business leader, will be speaking during the event. We hope to see you there!
Choosing the Right Forklift for Maximum Safety
A benefit of another trend, specifically the use of warehouse planning to achieve maximum efficiency and capacity as an answer to the finite availability of warehouse space, has seen the parallel development of increasingly safe and superbly efficient warehouse vehicles designed to work in these enhanced warehouses.
In particular, Combilift’s offset tiller arm has improved both aisle efficiency and operator safety thanks to:
• More aisle space: Innovative vehicle design means a one metre gain.
• Better view: A vastly improved standard of visibility for the operator reduces the opportunities for contact with pedestrians.
• No crush zone behind operator: No section of the forklift sits behind the operator meaning crush zone risk is managed.
• Indoor/ outdoor capacity: It’s now possible to have indoor and outdoor capacity with a single narrow aisle truck, meaning a safer single-vehicle process.
Our specialists also strongly recommend that some essential factors and vehicle features are sought out when choosing new warehouse vehicles:
• Tail swing: How does the movement of the rear section of a vehicle impact other people in the area?
• Backing into an aisle: Is this necessary? Can it be designed out using warehouse planning (see below for more details) and would a different vehicle make this safer?
• High level storage: Is the vehicle well suited to accessing high level stock without the risk of topping or visibility issues?
• Low level battery changing: Means no need for a crane as a palette truck can be used. Also look for faster charging options.
• Easier truck access: A smarter choice of vehicle can mean much greater safety and efficiency where on/ off loading from trucks is necessary. For example the Aisle Master Order Picker removes the necessity for vehicle changeovers by combining the advantages of a narrow aisle articulated forklift and an order picker.
With the timely theme of the Combilift-sponsored UKMHA safety convention focussing on operator training, it’s important to note that changes in vehicle design make operator awareness extremely important. A positive from the new technology is that pedestrian safety becomes easier to execute but is as important as ever.
Warehouse Planning and Forklift Safety
Any serious warehouse safety review should also consider a warehouse planning analysis for some simple reasons: there are improvements in visibility, materials handling processes and most of all driver fatigue to be found in looking at a warehouse as a ‘big picture’.
A complimentary service using CAD design to find and show the ideal capacity and layout of your facility, your warehouse analysis will provide layout proposals, site inspection and diagrams to display where and how improvements can be made.
The free review includes racking layout proposals and storage density calculations to create the best possible performance from any warehouse and will show how to achieve results such as, better layout and easier vehicle access to reduce tiredness and injuries as well as make a workplace easier for older colleagues.
By optimising existing storage, you can improve safety, reduce costs, improve environmental impact and address produce damage to make your business safer and more efficient.
Safer Warehouse Vehicles: Your Next Step
Aside from Aisle Master’s warehouse planning service, a range of case studies showing superbly successful warehouse optimisation projects is available here.
Because warehouse layout and better forklifts are usually combined to create a safer and more efficient warehouse, we also recommend finding out more about Aisle Master’s very narrow aisle forklifts and vehicles – including benefits, spec and options – here.
Every Aisle Master vehicle is supported by:
• Warrantied reassurance: The backing of a 5-year or 5,000 hours parts warranty is standard, giving you peace of mind and low cost of ownership.
• Superb parts access: Major parts distribution warehouses are located strategically, often delivering parts anywhere in Europe and the US within 24 hours. However, common replacement parts are also available from local suppliers.
• Technical support where you need it: A worldwide dealer network means factory-trained Aisle Master engineers can be found close to hand across the globe. The result? Reduced downtime for you.
The right combination of warehouse layout, processes and vehicles can deliver substantial benefits at a time when warehouse performance, and therefore safety, is under more pressure than ever.
It’s never too early to contact us to discuss efficiency and safety in your warehouse unit. Think of us as a professional partner ‘in your corner’ to help deliver outstanding warehouse results. To find out more, ask us how.
Questions? Simply ask one of our specialists today. We’re here to help.
See also: Buying an Order Picker? Read This First, Is An Electric Forklift Right for Your Operation?