Four essentials of a safe productive fleet

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There are plenty of simple, small things you can do to improve forklift safety in your facility. These include keeping the floor clean, installing mirrors at the ends of your aisles and prominently displaying safety posters.

 

We have identified four best practices within companies that take forklift safety to the next level. They are:


1.       Operator and Pedestrian Training – When we say training, we mean true training. A one-day class and a 10-minute hands-on review will not suffice if your goal is to make your forklift fleet a truly safe one. In addition to initial training and refresher training, you must be sure you re-train staff any time you introduce a different piece of equipment, if an operator is re-assigned or if your operation or facility undergoes any significant changes.  In addition to operator training, you should ensure the safety of all your employees and guests by providing training to every employee about how forklifts operate, the inherent dangers of being around them and how to conduct themselves in a facility with this equipment. 

2.       Utilize available safety equipment – Ensuring that all your forklifts and facility is equipped with up-to-date and working safety functions will go a long way in creating awareness of the presence of forklifts. Back-up alarms, horns, lights (front and rear combo) and strobes are the hallmarks of forklifts that are easily seen and heard. In addition, be sure to ask your forklift provider about available optional safety equipment including blue spot safety light and red safety zone halo light.

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3.       Safe Handling and Storage of Fuel – Fuel changing stations are often some of the most dangerous locations in your facility. Forklift batteries are very heavy, produce acid and can be very hazardous if not handled within manufacturers’ recommendations. In addition, be sure that your battery changing area is staged properly for safe handling of batteries. Work with your battery and charger provider to ensure you’re providing safe charging and changing methods for your employees. If your forklifts use LPG, petrol or diesel fuel be sure the area is clearly marked and set up properly with the right equipment to refuel them safely.  Making sure that all the right equipment and safety measures are readily available and ensuring that your employees are trained to use them, will mitigate damages in the event of an accident.

 4.       Regular Inspections – We recommend two types of inspections. The first, as required by Regulators, are daily inspections and are a must for any company.  Your operators must be trained to perform accurate and thorough inspections of both Internal Combustion (IC) forklifts, electric forklifts, and any other type of lifting equipment you operate. Damage from previous operations can occur without the operator knowing it, and failure of major components can lead to serious injury, product loss and facility damage. In addition, putting your forklift fleet on a regular service cycle or Planned Maintenance Program, performed by forklift professionals. This is the key to achieving maximum safety, up-time and productivity.

Forklift safety is no accident. Taking these measures puts you on the path to creating a safe and productive work environment for your employees.  An investment in safety and productivity adds to your company’s long-term bottom line and benefits those who operate on and around forklifts.

Have a question about forklift safety, training, service or planned maintenance? Please contact MLA on 1300 000 652 or www.mlaholdings.com.au. Information for this article was sourced from www.mhiusa.net



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September 2019 Newsletter

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breaking

Ken's Korner, MLA National Mangers' Conference 2019, Can improving safety in your workplace also improve efficiencies?, It all started with a flat battery, Aquisitions Fuel MLA's expansion issue of the MLA Newsletter:

 

Ken's Korner

Wow! Another financial year over already, and another successful one for MLA as we continue our long run of profitable years and continued growth.

The standout growth feature of 2018-19 was our purchase of Hunter Forklifts in Newcastle.

For the full article please download the pdf here.

 

MLA National Mangers' Conference 2019

With the 2018-19 financial year closed, the month of July saw MLA Head Office host the 2019 National Managers’ Conference. The three-day conference brought branch managers to Sydney to plan for continued success in the new financial year.

Managing Director Ken Rathgen welcomed everyone to the conference and Operations Director Matt Saunders outlined the conference goals. “MLA has a lot of strategically important opportunities to develop in the coming year and specific actions and programs to drive sustainable improvement that will be implemented with the branch managers leading their teams,” he said.

managers

For the full article please download the pdf here.

 

Can improving safety in your workplace also improve efficiencies?

Business is constantly seeking to improve workplace safety and efficiency. There is sometimes concern that adding safety elements will crimp efficiency. MLA can show how safety and efficiency go hand in hand.

Take Torresan Estate, a McLaren Vale winery, bottling and warehousing business with brand new bottling lines in South Australia. When it was looking for replacement forklifts, it needed a bespoke solution. Any new forklift needed to use minimal aisle space because of a tight warehouse environment. Another requirement was the capacity for advanced manoeuvrability due to surroundings with sensitive production equipment....


torresan

For the full article please download the pdf here.

 

It all started with a flat battery

Australian specialty wholesale bakery Wild Breads Pty Ltd first contacted MLA back in 2013, seeking to trade in an old pantograph reach truck with a dead battery.

MLA Queensland’s Neil Waters quoted a new Reach Truck RB14N from the Mitsubishi European factory with full freezer protection. And to help Wild Breads Pty Ltd through, MLA technicians kept the old reach truck running with a new battery until the special-order Mitsubishi was available.

For the full Article please download the pdf here.

Acquisitions Fuel MLA's Expansion

Congratulations go to Martin Gauci on winning the MLA 2017 salesperson of the year award. This is the sixth year in a row that Martin has won this award, which speaks to his absolute passion and dedication. Martin knows forklifts inside out and has been selling our Mitsubishi machines for nearly 20 years. Before that, he worked as a motor mechanic and supervisor with Mitsubishi and also ran his own business for 13 years...

Wildbreads

For the full Article please download the pdf here.

 

Forklift safety cages and other ways to keep a safer warehouse

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 sep 20192september sb 2019

Forklifts or lifts trucks as some prefer to call it are very useful to most businesses. However, many accidents, injuries and even fatalities involved the reliable forklift. A moving forklift can pose serious risks, but that doesn’t mean we can’t do anything about preventing such incidents from happening.

Installing Safety Cages
We use forklifts in lifting and transferring tools and materials from one place to another. One can also use it to transport people and their devices and lifting them up to manually work on higher areas.

By having a forklift safety cage installed, your mind will be at peace knowing your workers are safe while performing their jobs at higher or elevated levels. It is essential to read the guidelines and abide by rules when using and installing your forklift safety cage in Australia.

There are other ways of keeping a safer warehouse for you and your employees, like the following:

Only allow trained personnel to operate forklifts.
Keep in mind that forklifts should be driven by qualified individuals only. There is a reason why a license is mandatory to safely operate forklifts in Australia. They are educated and properly trained to control the machine. Training and assessment should be continuous, and the wellbeing and mental health of drivers should be monitored.

Observe and wear appropriate safety work gear.
All employees and personnel must wear appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE). This may consist of a hard hat, high-visibility jackets and safety boots. All work gear should not be ill-fitted. It should allow employees to move freely but should not be loose enough to get caught on any machinery.

Forklift drivers and all employees should be mindful of their surroundings.
Aside from controlling the forklift and following the rules and safety guidelines of your workplace, drivers should always be aware of their surroundings. Only drive forklifts in designated roadways, signals are to be used, and all other employees should keep a keen eye.

Always drive within the speed limit.
Yes, speeding in forklifts are quite common and have led to many accidents in the past. It is always advisable to operate only within the speed limits, and not make abrupt changes in direction.
Never overload and make sure to distribute load evenly.
There is a significant risk of loads toppling over if not distributed evenly. Make sure the weight is equally spread out on both forks and to never use the forklift if there is damage. Knowing the capacity is important when operating the forklift.

Do routine checks and make sure the forklift is adequately maintained.
Before and after every use, a license forklift driver should check the machine for any damage and see if everything is all set like the brakes, controls and warning devices.

There are lots of other ways that can ensure the safety of employees in warehouses.
Although accidents can happen, prevention is still the best way to keep the integrity and welfare of all personnel. Never take security for granted and do what you can to avoid incidents from harming you and your employees.

For more information on forklift safety cages and other ways to keep a safer warehouse contact MLA on 1300 000 652 or
www.mlaholdings.com.au. Information for this article was sourced from www.imagebollards.com.au

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Proper Fork and Chain Inspections

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Forks and chains lift hundreds of thousands of kilos each shift and unchecked wear on either can cause a load to come crashing to the ground.  This can result in severe damage to property, or even injury or death. That’s one reason WorkCover in Australia require a daily inspection of each lift truck in operation. WorkCover provide few specifics on what or how to inspect it. Below are some specific areas to inspect to help ensure forks and chains are in safe operating order.

 

Fork Inspection. Knowledge of metallurgy or its equivalent is not necessary to perform inspections, but operators must nonetheless pay attention to these key metal-related areas when examining forks.

 

  • Rated load capacity. Are the forks rated to carry the loads they are handling? 

  • Surface cracks. Inspect each fork top and bottom for surface cracks. Pay close attention to the heel area and the welds to the areas that attach the forks to the lift truck. These areas are most likely to develop cracks. If a crack is found, the fork must be replaced before the lift truck is put back into service.

  • Straightness of the blade and shank. If either the shank or the blade has any sort of bend, the fork must be replaced before the lift truck is put back into service.

  • Excessive angle. If the shank and blade angle exceed 93 degrees, the fork must be replaced before the lift truck is put back into service.

  • Fork tip height variances. If the fork tips exceed 3% of the length of the blade, the forks need to be replaced before the lift truck is put back into service. For example, for 1070mm forks, the differences in the heights of the tips of your blades cannot exceed 32mm.

  • Positioning lock. If the positioning lock is inoperable, it must be replaced before the fork is put back into service on the lift truck.

  • Normal wear. Use callipers to measure the heel and the blade for wear. These are the areas that wear most quickly. Once wear reaches 10%, the fork must be replaced. Ten percent wear results in a 20% reduction in rated fork capacity and represents a significant exposure for accident.

Chain Inspection. Forklift chains endure tremendous stress during operation and are subject to additional damage and wear by environmental conditions such as dust, rain and industrial chemicals. Carefully inspect chains for the following:

  • Chain elongation. Elongation of more than 3% indicates a 15%reduction in strength and means the chain should be replaced.

  • Rust and corrosion. Chains showing any rust or corrosion should be replaced. For maximum protection, chains must be completely lubricated at all times.

  • Plate cracking. Inspect closely for cracks. The discovery of any crack means the chain should be replaced before the forklift is put back into service.

  • Protruding or turned pins. Lack of lubrication results in friction between the plates and the pins, causing the pins to twist and turn their way out of place. The result is chain failure.

  • Misalignment. Look for wear patterns on pinheads or outside plates. Continued operation will result in damage to the chain and sheaves, potentially causing the chain to fail.

  • Chain anchors and sheaves. Inspect anchors for misalignment, damage or undue wear. Anchors with worn or broken fingers must be replaced.


MLA Holdings Pty Ltd strive to help operators maintain compliance with all regulations, but more importantly, we help maintain both forklifts and chains, ensuring employees are safe and productive. For further information about proper fork and chain inspections, contact MLA on 1300 000 652 or www.mlaholdings.com.au. Information for this article was sourced from www.mhiusa.net.

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Safety precautions for reducing forklift accidents

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Forklifts are constantly in motion, playing a significant role in the world of commerce. With that notion, keeping safety top of mind is critical in material handling.

Almost 100,000 accidents happen each year around forklifts. While even one injury or incident resulting from the misuse of forklifts is too many, there are tools and methods that can help create a safe environment and help avoid future occurrences. Some contributing factors to watch out for in helping to prevent accidents are workspace layout and design, inadequate training and improper maintenance. It’s essential to incorporate the right safety techniques in these key areas.

WORKSPACE LAYOUT AND DESIGN

Best practices in warehouse/pedestrian safety begin with the design of the workspace and understanding what the material flow and its frequency and volume is intended to be. A poorly designed material flow and aisle layout can be main contributors to forklift accidents.

If a facility is operating multiple forklifts, whether it be the same model or different classes of trucks, make sure the design is built out effectively. Fleet managers may need to segregate the forklifts, so they are not traveling where they don’t belong. The workplace should be very organized and visually easy to manage. This can help contribute to a safer work environment.

The design also needs to take into consideration the model of the truck in operation. Many trucks are not applicable for a particular environment. For instance, a class IV or V truck is just too big for a narrow aisle, and its turning radius may not be appropriate for an area designed for a class II vehicle. It’s important to identify the right type of forklift(s) for a specific workspace need.

OPERATOR TRAINING

Under current laws and regulations, employers are required to train and evaluate forklift operators. Operator training typically begins in the classroom to understand the safety principles and the fundamentals of forklift operation and maintenance.

After educational training is complete, operators are then directed to a hands-on/practical interaction with the forklift, where they are placed into a safe environment for evaluation. It’s typically best practice to place the operator in an environment that is similar to what they would be doing, so they can be evaluated effectively. Employers are ultimately required to evaluate the operator’s performance in the workplace.

Retraining is also important for operators who have been in the field for a long time and is required at least once every three years. Many operators who have been in the business for a long time are noticing that a lot has changed over the years, especially related to technology. The skill set is changing as technology becomes more advanced. All drivers can benefit from a refresher training course.

In addition, service technicians should have not only proper operating training but also proper technical training. This gives them the expertise needed to understand the proper operation, location and function of the safety features designed into the equipment and how to properly troubleshoot, diagnose and repair the truck safely.

PROPER MAINTENANCE

Regulation requires that every forklift is inspected each day before it is put into operation, which is a very important step. All facilities should have a comprehensive inspection checklist for each operator before the start of the shift. Completing this step fully can be challenging if a company has multiple drivers sharing a forklift throughout the workday. If something is identified that can affect forklift safety, it should be reported immediately, and the forklift should not be placed into service until it has been inspected and repaired. The same applies if the issue is found during the shift.

While paper systems are still heavily used, there has been a move towards robust technology such as MLA
FleetControl that electronically ties the operator to the forklift. These types of systems can also track when the inspection checklist has been completed.

While daily checklists are required, it’s also important to implement a routine maintenance program. There are some potential serious consequences to safety if critical safety equipment or systems, like brakes or hydraulics, were to fail. Scheduled,
preventive maintenance is not just a matter of replacing filters and oil, it includes checking key safety points like brakes, steering, emergency shut-off features and hydraulic systems. It’s crucial to employ trained and certified technicians to inspect and maintain the forklifts. The biggest factors are performing equipped to service the machines.

There are other risks that can contribute to diminished safety. Operators should always maintain control of the
forklift and avoid turning with an elevated load. Excessive traveling speed can also have a negative effect on safety. Speed can be regulated with different controls on the forklift. What’s important is that each company should evaluate its own situation and set speed limits that make sense for its operators and the workspace environment.

There’s no doubt that over the years forklift technological advancements have helped improve safety, and OEMs are offering more features and options to help mitigate hazards in the workplace. Safety lighting such as blue spotlights and/or red zone lights being added to the equipment are relatively inexpensive while being very effective. Both types of lights can help pedestrians and others in the area where forklifts are working be more aware that a forklift is near them and to stay alert.


Telematics can help monitor and record driver behaviour and results and can also track collisions, speed and location.This type of data is used to give proper feedback to employers and drivers, so they’re able to use it to modify behaviour. Data can also shed light on the warehouse itself and whether or not improvements to the design and layout should be made. Other technological features like object detection sensors and cameras are also becoming more prevalent to help supplement the operator’s direct visibility. The beeping sound emerging from the object detection system helps communicate to the operator and identify objects in the travel path.

It’s important to note that there are ways to help create a safe environment every day. Fleet managers should work together with the
local forklift dealer to help determine what’s best for them when it comes to the workplace environment and their application, the types of forklifts they’ll use each day and what the material flow will be, what they can do to improve maintenance and whether or not they should use in-house training to get their operators in the field quicker.

For further information about how to improve safety around forklifts, contact MLA on 1300 000 652 or
www.mlaholdings.com.au. Information for this article was sourced from www.mhlnews.com.

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How to improve safety around forklifts

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 pedestrian safetyjune 2019

Forklifts pose several risks to pedestrians in the workplace. The rear counterweight can turn very quickly (running the risk of crushing a pedestrian), plus they are heavy, take time to stop and have several blind spots. Forklifts can be dangerous when not treated with respect and can inflict serious damage to worksite property and worse, cause injuries or even death.

Forklifts pose several risks to pedestrians in the workplace. The rear counterweight can turn very quickly (running the risk of crushing a pedestrian), plus they are heavy, take time to stop and have several blind spots. Forklifts can be dangerous when not treated with respect and can inflict serious damage to worksite property and worse, cause injuries or even death.

The human and financial cost of forklift-related accidents is immense. But in reality, many forklift incidents could be avoided if operators followed best-practice forklift safety procedures. Below are some tips to improve forklift safety procedures, and stop workers being injured.

1. Stabilise forklift loads and attachments
Falling loads present one of the greatest dangers for workers. Pedestrian staff are most at risk when attempting to help the forklift operator in loading and unloading operations. Heavy loads that are not properly secured can slip and fall on the worker.
In addition, workers are at risk when the forklift is used in ways the manufacturer didn’t intend (eg, a forklift lifting more weight than it is designed to handle can cause the forklift to tip over). Effective forklift safety procedures should ensure appropriate attachments are used for certain kinds of loads. Workers unsure of how the attachments work should be trained as soon as possible. Ensure workers never overload forklifts and correct attachments are fitted. Loads need to be properly stabilised before moving them.

2. Set up safety exclusion zones to segregate pedestrian workers from forklifts
Keeping pedestrians away from forklifts minimises the likelihood of accidents resulting in injury or death.
Designate safety exclusion zones for both forklift operators and pedestrians, keeping them a safe distance apart.
Include forklift safety procedures to make sure people are where they should be. To do so, you can use physical barriers including:
• Fences and guardrails
• Bright tape stuck to the floor
• Boom gates and traffic lights
Another option for keeping pedestrians away from mobile plant is constructing overhead walkways to provide workers a way to walk over areas where heavy vehicles operate. Also, make sure workers always comply with the rules and regulations of the workplace.

3. Ensure forklift drivers always wear seatbelts
In a case where a forklift tips over or collides with a wall, seatbelts can save the drivers from injury or death.
Seatbelts prevent drivers being thrown out of the forklift and out of harm’s way in the event of heavy load falling. Make sure forklift operators always wear seatbelts — it needs to be compulsory while operating forklifts. Use signs placed around the workplace to remind workers.
Check all seatbelts in forklifts are in good condition and fitted correctly (as per the manufacturer’s instructions). In a worst-case scenario, a seatbelt that does its job will save lives.

For further information about how to improve safety around forklifts, contact MLA on 1300 000 652 or
www.mlaholdings.com.au. Information for this article was sourced from www.safetysolutions.net.au

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