Discussion:
Seat belts on CB Trucks

Taking Stuart Taylor's points in Fork Lift Action no. 929 about wearing seat belts on counterbalanced lift trucks, I totally agree with his overall points. Readers might be interested, however, in a situation where such normal actions might not be appropriate.

When working for RTITB and at one of the IMHX shows at the NEC, Birmingham, I was contacted by phone by a company who was recommended by our office to speak to me as an ultimate guru on lift truck operation (their words, not mine!!).

The operation concerned involved using c/b trucks with negative lift masts (masts that lowered loads rather than raised them) to place boats into and lift them from water over a dock edge without wheel stop blocks. My correspondent was concerned that operators wearing seat belts would be at a greater risk of drowning than if they did not use the belts. It was his contention that a truck falling into the dock would sink rapidly and that the operator in a panic would be less able to release the belt and get clear of the truck from under water, than if he was not wearing a belt. He asked me what my advice was. As it happened, I was then talking to an HSE Inspector.

My recommendation was that, if a properly drawn up risk assessment showed that there was an increased risk to safety by operators wearing belts than if they were not, this should be clearly recorded; that operators should be specifically trained for the operation concerned, and the risks associated with over-reaching and risking driving off the edge of the dock, and in escape techniques from sinking trucks. I also recommended that trucks used for this manoeuvre should not be fitted with cabs. Standard safety cages would be easier to escape from than an enclosed cab.

The HSE Inspector that I was with at the time completely agreed with my advice, as he had been attentively listening to our conversation, a fact known to my correspondent at the time. My correspondent did not ask me to put this in writing, although I would have been prepared to do so, and I still have no idea which company asked for my advice.

David Pusey,
Ex-RTITB & ITSSAR
  • Posted 27 Jun 2019 22:53
  • Discussion started by Pusey
  • Somerset, United Kingdom
David

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