Issue #7

Cargo Chat
- 8 Dec 2005 ( #238 )
2 min read
Cargo Chat is a discussion forum on cargo handling, safety and health, and related matters of interest, for Forkliftaction.com News readers. It is specially prepared for Forkliftaction.com News by ICHCA International, a representative organisation of international cargo-handling interests. The column is based on ICHCA's bimonthly e-newsletter and International Safety Panel activities.

This month we examine a subject that will be considered by ICHCA International's International Safety Panel at its next meeting.

Use of seat belts in workplace machinery

The question of whether seat belts should be provided by owners and worn by drivers is a difficult and contentious issue. Many countries require cars and other passenger vehicles to be fitted with them and most also require that drivers and passengers use seat belts when travelling. If vehicles may be travelling at some speed and potentially be involved in severe collisions or roll-overs, the provision and use of belts makes sense. Use of belts, at least by drivers and front-seat passengers, is widely followed.

Should such an approach be applied to workplace machinery? It is not widely known, but tests have shown that a 2-tonne capacity forklift being driven in its tightest turning circle will turn over at 4mph (7kph). All mobile machines used in cargo handling today can lose stability and turn over. Often the driver's tendency is to try to escape from the machine. However, that can put him/her in a very dangerous situation in which the falling machine, or parts of it, can hit the driver. The general wisdom is for a driver to try to stay in the machine and a seat belt would assist. On the other hand, if there is a need to get out of a machine quickly, a belt might hinder or impede the driver. An accident was reported in Forkliftaction.com News in which a forklift was inadvertently driven into harbour waters when being manoeuvred on a barge alongside a cruise ship. The driver was not wearing a belt but if he had been he could easily have been dragged down by the truck, which settled on the harbour bottom.

It would seem, therefore, that there are circumstances where seat belts should not be worn Forklifts are not the same as vehicles on the highway and do not travel at the same speeds. However, they can and do travel at speeds where, if there were a collision, wearing a seat belt might stop impalement on the steering wheel or injury from contact with other parts of the machine. Some countries may already have legal requirements for wearing seatbelts.

The International Safety Panel will consider the question at its next meeting in Rotterdam on January 24-25. Send your questions to www.forkliftaction.com.

Contact ICHCA International:
Suite 2, 85 Western Road, Romford, Essex, RM1 3LS, UK
Tel: +44 (0) 1708 735295 Fax: +44 (0) 1708 735225
Email: info@ichcainternational.co.uk
Website: www.ichcainternational.co.uk
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Awards 2006: Take your pick Cargo Chat - 15 Dec 2005 (#239) There is still time to vote for the finalists you think deserve to win Awards 2006 as the closing date for voting is January 31 next year.
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Free heavy equipment theft summits Cargo Chat - 1 Dec 2005 (#237) FBI-LEEDA and the National Equipment Register are holding two separate one-day regional summits to tackle the heavy equipment theft problem in Texas.
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Blog articles provide perspectives and opinions and therefore may contain inaccurate or incomplete information. Forkliftaction Media accepts no responsibility for errors or omissions. If you feel that significant facts are overlooked, or have a different viewpoint on a topic addressed, we invite you to open a conversation in our Discussion Forums.

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