Manufacturers wear many masks; they can be progressive and regressive. On one hand, they build some marvellous machines and products; on the other, they incorporate inferior, dangerous features. Almost every manufacturer deals in sleight of hand and illusion to help sell their product, ignoring or hiding weaknesses to the detriment of the end user.
A simple example of unbelievable carelessness is the manufacturer of propane cylinders used here for forklifts. In many cases, the main valve is positioned in such a way that it is difficult to access the coupling. Some main valves have had the size of their handle decreased, making it difficult to grasp - this is the main shut off for an extremely dangerous fuel!
The same manufacturer does not finish the cut out edges of the cylinder shroud, leaving a sharp edge around the main valve access point. Why is the access point for the main valve so limited? In the event of a liquid leak, when coupling or uncoupling the main line to the cylinder, the operator is often lacerated when he/she, out of necessity, quickly removes their hand. Now the operator has a "cold" burn as well as a cut!
Now - I ask all you trainers out there, "Have you alerted all your students to the hazards of changing a cylinder?"
The above little rant is an old rant; years and years of sloppy manufacturing with absolutely no accountability or even moral responsibility by the manufacturer. When will it ever end? Never.Wayne Chornohus is a forklift consultant with Hunter Industries Ltd. He brings more than 20 years' experience in the forklift and training industries to the Forkliftaction.com community.
The opinions presented in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Forkliftaction.com.