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How the industry is moving out of the Covid-19 pandemic

B25X 7 in Warehouse

As more industries begin to reopen, we are seeing how social distancing will impact our industry as we move forward over the summer.

Here at Budget, we are still here to support our customers with forklift sales, hire, training and servicing. We’ve found that many businesses are now in a position where they are starting up again after the lockdown and needing to look at ensuring that their fleet is ready to be used again, and what social distancing will mean to their workplace over the summer.

Getting the guidance right

It can seem overwhelming, beyond the simple concept of social distancing, to see what needs to be done in your warehouse or other workplace to ensure that you and your staff are safe.

Thankfully, help is on hand from both the Fork Lift Truck Association and the British Industrial Truck Association, who have both been working on resources that can show you how to implement best working practices at your business right now.

The FLTA website, www.fork-truck.org.uk, has been updated and now includes a Coronavirus Resources section. It contains straightforward advice designed to help those in the industry to safely manage operations during this challenging time.

It is also worth noting that the FLTA have made their Membership Resources available for all at the current time, to ensure that all businesses are able to get access to the advice and support they need to operate safely at this time.

At www.bita.org.uk, you'll find a new Coronavirus section, containing a library of free Fact Sheets across a range of topics.

As we mentioned last month, BITA and the FLTA released a joint statement repeating the guidance that maintenance on forklifts must still be carried out during lockdown. These resources cover the requirements for meeting training needs and Thorough Examination, both of which continue to be crucial to onsite Health and Safety, as much as they ever were.

It is difficult to imagine how training might work within the framework of social distancing but this is something that needs to be overcome, as competent drivers are an integral part of site safety where forklifts are used.

Speaking on behalf of the Road Transport Industry Training Board (RTITB), Technical Director Nick Welch stresses that training must continue for those who are working as it ensures they're able to do their job safely and efficiently.

He advises training should be delivered on a one-to-one basis, in accordance with government rules limiting gatherings to no more than two people. The instructor and trainee must maintain social distancing - keeping two metres apart and all PHE (Public Health England) guidance should be followed.

Thorough examination standards

In our blog last month we touched on the guidance around maintenance and examination standards during lockdown. This is also important as things start to open up again.

Working in partnership with the HSE, BITA and the FLTA have issued a joint statement which underlines the importance of ensuring Thorough Examination standards in the current climate.

Together, they have created a Fact Sheet on Thorough Examination which clarifies existing general HSE guidance, putting it into context specifically for the MHE and logistics industry.

For many employers, there have been concerns over Thorough Examinations as they require site visits by an accredited engineer. Some may assume that maintenance records will suffice, but the HSE is insistent that these crucial inspections are carried out on or before their due dates.

It's a stance supported by the FLTA and BITA, the bodies behind CFTS, a national standard for the Thorough Examination of forklift trucks.

Guidance from the FLTA website (www.fork-truck.org.uk) is keen to remind employers that, as a result of keeping the supply chain uninterrupted, materials handling equipment is being used much more than it would have been.

According to the FLTA, this significantly increases the risk of catastrophic component failure. Equipment malfunctions may result in life-changing injuries, which must be avoided to remove unnecessary pressure from the NHS.

The FLTA is keen to remind employers that now, more than ever before, is the time to ensure every safety procedure is followed, with preventative measures kept in place.

If you are looking for support with your forklift fleet, or for a fork truck for sale or hire now your business is up and running again, then do get in touch with our team for a friendly chat.

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