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4 Dec 2017 8:02 AM | Anonymous

"She'll be right", most definitely does not stack up any longer. "We can just get the old girl to do that lift" - should now be raising alarms. Forklifts which are getting by, just, are hiding an expense and a safety risk which is quickly becoming intolerable.

Businesses need forklifts. Practically every product bought and sold has been moved many times by forklifts. The entire supply chain is served by forklifts. Because they are durable and generally out of sight, they get as little attention as possible. Like the old tractor in the farm's back shed, they get the minimum attention to keep performing their same old duties.

Those days are definitely over. Two big waves of change are surging across companies which operate forklifts, which will require a new perspective in which forklifts are held.

The first and most critical is health and safety in the workplace. The impact of the HSWA 2015 cannot be understated. Not only for the company at whose site the forklifts are operated on, but also the suppliers, contractors and customers are potentially drawn into the question of accountability for workplace safety.

And here's the kicker. Workplace incidents related to operating forklifts are now right up there with quad bikes. We've asked for more data, but it seems the infamy of being the worst workplace hazard may now belong to the good old forklift, its operators and the site policies and procedures around its operations. Companies which operate forklifts are now front and centre as the focus for reducing workplace injuries and fatalities.

Known faults or inadequacies in a forklift, driver standards, or site practices must be remedied. The HSWA 2015 takes an exceedingly dim view of businesses which know of an issue, or should do, but do nothing or not enough to make it right. And rightly so. With the Act now being tested, the penalties are being found to be considerable. Worksafe are relentlessly bringing the HSWA 2015 to bear as they should. Companies which operate forklifts have an opportunity to show a new standard of operations or possibly have it forced upon them.

The second and perhaps more attractive side of the issue, is that forklift technology is accelerating as demands come on them for increased productivity and safety. A company operating forklifts does not need to have lead acid batteries a'la 1954 powering their fleet. Forklifts can run narrow aisles to great heights. Automation, voice control, traffic control - these are all features anyone considering using forklifts should be reviewing. There are levels of equipment productivity and safety available now which haven't been contemplated before.

It is a time in which the use of forklifts is making a step-change. "She'll be right" is becoming "It's the best".

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