My first column

Todd Brennan -
Safety First
- 1 Mar 2007 ( #299 )
3 min read
Todd Brennan is the founder and owner of Forkpro Australia. A former chairman of the Australian Industrial Truck Engineering Committee, Brennan aims to "fill the forklift safety gap" with Forkpro's forklift training courses. Together with his team, he has assisted tertiary institutions, including the Melbourne-based Monash University Accident Research Centre's forklift safety project.
Welcome to the first column I will present for Forkliftaction.com News. Every six weeks or so I will comment on forklift safety issues that affect the Australian market.

Safety crusader dies

Sadly, I must pay tribute to a man who always put safety first.

Barry Carter died suddenly of a brain aneurism in early February.

Carter was a project officer with Workcover Victoria and extremely dedicated and passionate about improving workplace safety and, in particular, forklift safety. Carter was instrumental in developing guidance material, such as Forklift Safety - reducing the risk - forklift instability, a widely referenced guide. Only months ago I attended a Standards Australia meeting and had left with eagerness over the draft of the new forklift operation standard, to which Carter had contributed much.

He was a man of splendid balance, the ability to deal with difficult issues with control yet assertiveness, and was always able to ensure issues that mattered were dealt with. He was a gentleman who completely changed how some sectors of industry operate.

Forklift Standards under review

There are two broad topics that cover nearly all forklift incidents, pedestrians and lateral tip-over. If we could keep all forklifts upright and isolate pedestrians from forklift or load paths, we would have little to talk about and be glad for it.

The Australian Standard that addresses many design and operational issues for forklifts is AS2359 and contains 16 parts. Australian Standard AS2359 part 1 (general requirements) and part 2 (operation) are currently under review and will probably be out for comment later this year. Part 2 is the operational code with which every user group should be familiar. The existing part 2 was last reviewed in 1985 and, although it does not reflect current trends and best practice in some areas, it contains useful guidelines - particularly in training and authorisation, an area many users could pick up on.

How many users are familiar with AS2359 part 2? It is a minimum standard to meet OHS compliance. Having an understanding of technical and compliance issues is critical to all parties. A basic principle is forklift lifting capacity, a subject on which many mysterious figures are often quoted.

The proposed changes bring definitions of capacities in line with ISO documents and thus make reference to capacities uniform. That may seem like semantics, however many operators, supervisors and sales -people do not understand what the capacity of a forklift actually is. Actual capacity is proposed as the term for the maximum weight a forklift can lift at a specified load centre distance and lift height (usually full height). Actual capacity may be accompanied by an alternative capacity, such as capacities at different load centre distances or lower lift heights.

Rated capacity is proposed to refer to what a forklift was originally designed to lift before intervention, such as addition of attachments, changes of load centre, or taller than standard masts.

For example, a so-called 2.5 tonner rarely has a capacity anything like its original design capacity. What is shown on the load capacity plate is the actual capacity; the forklift must not lift any more than is shown there. In general terms the rated capacity is used only to compare the capacity of different manufacturers' trucks in their standard trim.

Structural or specified capacity is the design strength of an attachment or component. It has little to do with actual capacity, but actual capacity cannot exceed structural capacity. Confused? A good reason for an effective training and refresher program.
Also Read:
Awards night honours industry’s best
1 minute read
Awards night honours industry’s best Safety First - 1 Mar 2007 (#299) An operator sensing system that acts on a forklift's transmission has won a safety award for Doosan Infracore in the UK Fork Lift Truck Association's (FLTA) annual awards.
Two seminars planned for “Music City, USA”
1 minute read
Two seminars planned for “Music City, USA” Safety First - 22 Feb 2007 (#298) The Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) will hold product liability and safety seminars at the Millennium Maxwell House Hotel, in Nashville, Tennessee, in April.
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