December 2019 Newsletter

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breaking news

Ken's Korner, Looking back over the years, New Managing Director: Matt Saunders, Congratulations Steve Cook on 30 years service, December 2019 issue of the MLA Newsletter:


Ken's Korner

MLA is 40 years old this year.

A long time. Yes, but for the owner of our company, Tercia and Company Ltd (and myself) it all started 50 years ago.

For the full article please download the pdf here.


Looking back over the years

Ken Rathgen’ long association with Mitsubishi Forklift Trucks started with Brambles Limited almost 10 years before the creation of MLA Holdings Pty Ltd. In 1970 Mitsubishi had commenced manufacturing Forklifts of quality in Japan. In 1980 Masuda-san, from Japanese trading company T. Chatani & Co Ltd, invited Ken to head up their new venture distributing Mitsubishi Forklift Trucks in Australia. The first Chairman of MLA was Mr Kanamori and Mike Itani was a founding Director of the company only retiring from this role in 2017.

Mr Kanamori and Masuda-san at T Chatani  Co Office

For the full article please download the pdf here.


New Managing Director: Matt Saunders

We're pleased to announce that, as Ken Rathgen retires after 40 years at the helm of MLA Holdings Pty Ltd, Matt Saunders steps up into the role of Managing Director from January 1st, 2020...

matt saunders

For the full article please download the pdf here.


Congratulations Steve Cook on 30 years Service!

At MLA Holdings, we understand that our staff are our greatest asset, and we are thrilled to honour Steve’s 30-year dedicated service and commitment to MLA. It is our valued staff whose commitment to MLA’s missionand values that make MLA the organisation it is today....

steve cook

For the full Article please download the pdf here.


Always separate pedestrians from forklift traffic

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 A simple traffic plan with separate driving and walking routes prevents collisions.

A simple traffic plan with separate driving and walking routes prevents collisions

On public roads we try to separate fast and slow traffic as much as possible, but this is not what we see in many warehouses. As a result, forklifts and pedestrians sometimes come into undesired contact. A well-considered traffic plan prevents fast and slow traffic from crossing each other’s paths.

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Yellow and green lines

Separating traffic flows is important in the warehouse, just as it is on roads. With lines on the floor, we can create driving routes for forklifts and walkways for pedestrians. Make sure both forklift truck drivers and pedestrians can immediately see which path they should take. This can be achieved using a combination of symbols and different-coloured lines on the floor. Think yellow for train paths, green for footpaths. White lines are for marking storage locations on the floor and red is for locations with fire extinguishers or emergency doors that must always remain accessible.

Warehouses often have areas where many people work intensively at the same time, in an order picking operation for example. Consider marking out separate areas for value-added activities or for preparation of shipments. The people in these zones are mainly focused on their task, not on the traffic around them, so a simple line on the floor is insufficient to separate them from forklifts. You should therefore shield them with physical barriers such as gates. Special traffic lights or audible warnings are also available for warehouses or production sites.

Pedestrian crossings

Of course, it is never entirely possible to avoid the need for pedestrians to cross a forklift route. To make this safer, create crosswalks in the form of pedestrian crossings. Symbols on the floor can be used to encourage forklift drivers to lower their speed. Is safety still insufficiently guaranteed? Then think of installing gates that prevent pedestrians from crossing the route without thinking.

The doorway from one hall to another can create a bottleneck. These are usually very busy locations, while views of traffic on the other side of the wall are often limited. It is advisable to make a door for pedestrians, separate to the opening for forklift traffic. Ideally, it should not be too close to the forklift opening, as pedestrians may be tempted to choose the easiest way. Use a fence to lead them to the door. Gates can also be useful for doors to canteens, changing rooms or toilets, to prevent people from entering the driveway directly when entering the warehouse.

Lead by example

The area immediately surrounding a forklift is one with a high risk of accidents. We can also mark out this safety zone – not with lines stuck on the floor but with visual aids. Take the Mitsubishi Safety Zone System, for instance. This consists of LED lamps that project clear red lines on the floor around the truck. These mark the minimum distance from the truck that employees must maintain in order to work safely.

Finally, make clear agreements about the use of traffic routes, walkways, crosswalks and entrances. Don't forget to make these agreements known to occasional visitors to the warehouse, like office workers, maintenance engineers or guests from outside. And last but not least, set a good example yourself. If managers don’t use the footpaths, why would other employees?

Have a question about forklift pedestrian safety? Please contact MLA on 1300 000 652 or
. Information for this article was sourced from

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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.


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 Information for this article was sourced from

Download PDF here

September 2019 Newsletter

Posted in News


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.


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....


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...


For the full Article please download the pdf here.


Forklift safety cages and other ways to keep a safer warehouse

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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 Information for this article was sourced from

Download PDF here

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 Information for this article was sourced from

Download PDF here