Every organisation has a responsibility to maintain a safe working environment – failure to do so can have dire legal consequences for the business and its directors.
Statistics released by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) show that 24% of all workplace transport injuries in the UK are related to forklift trucks. There are around 2000 accidents every year of which, usually, seven are fatal.
In recent years a great deal has been done to successfully reduce the number of injuries associated with forklift truck activities, both within the warehouse and in the yard, and although a major influence on those improving figures may be down to more rigorous training of drivers and better adherence to working practices, a significant factor too has to be the considerable effort made by forklift truck manufacturers to engineer safety into their products.
At Doosan Forklifts, the wellbeing of the driver and the safety of those sharing the same workspace is a primary focus for the company's design engineers. Their ceaseless efforts and advanced technical skills have resulted in a number of industry-leading safety developments in recent years - innovations that have won Doosan plaudits from the industry, including winning the Fork Lift Truck Association's highly coveted Award for Safety Excellence over three consecutive years.
As an important part of the $21 billion global Doosan Group – a conglomerate with a 120 year history – the forklift truck division has the extensive resources necessary to dedicate to the pursuit of excellence in product design, performance, ergonomics, energy and, above all else, safety. And this has been successfully translated into practical design innovations across Doosan's range of over 100 models of counterbalance, reach and warehouse trucks, with capacities spanning 1.3 – 16 tonnes, and over power sources of electric, gas and diesel.
Good ergonomics not only improve operational performance but also play an important part in a driver's health and wellbeing. Back strain and muscular injuries account for a considerable number of sick days a year, but well thought-out ergonomic design can save on personal injury and lost days.
Doosan's history of safety success:
- Winners of the FLTA 'Archie' in Ergonomics for the innovative Swing Out & Down Gas Bottle Carrier.
- Winners of the FLTA 'Archie' in Safety Excellence for the Rear Grab Handle & Horn.
- Winners of the FLTA 'Archie' in Safety Excellence for the Operator Sensing System.
- Winners of the FLTA 'Archie' in Safety Excellence for the Pro 5 series of Electric Trucks with its inbuilt Auto-Slow Down function.
In addition to these award winning innovations, standard Doosan forklift safety features include: excellent visibility through the mast and overhead guard; a low dashboard for a clear sight of the fork heels; low and wide non-slip step with clear floor plate and grab handle for safer cab access; a vertical exhaust; lower noise and vibration; and completely enclosed oil-cooled disc brakes for more reliable braking in dusty and wet environments.
This year, the company has been nominated yet again for an FLTA award, for a new safety feature that is proving a favourite amongst operators and Health & Safety managers - the Automatic Electric Parking Brake on Doosan's latest 7-Series electric range.
This advanced feature ensures that if an operator dismounts the truck without applying the handbrake fully, the machine will not roll away, even if the machine is left on a slope or ramp.
Safety is an important consideration in any business decision, especially with regards to forklifts and lifting. Lee Allen, Works Manager at Michelmersh Brick's Charnwood site, advocates the use of Doosan vehicles throughout the manufacturing process. Every truck is fitted with Doosan's in-cab Operator Safety System (OSS). The trucks are immobilised until a sensor in the seat detects the driver's weight and the seatbelt is fully secured. In addition, white-noise reversing bleepers are also fitted for pedestrian safety.
"All the trucks have hydraulic accumulators fitted to reduce bumps and improve stability, making them perfect for the job of handling our products safely and with care," says Lee Allen. "The trucks are being used seven days a week and we wanted good, honest machines that could take a bit of a hammering – we can't fault them."
Besides the mechanical aspects of personnel safety, Diesel emissions are another important consideration when it comes to creating a healthy and safe working environment. The pursuit of cleaner, greener fuels has lead Doosan's in-house engine division, Doosan Infracore, to come up with a world-leading solution.
Doosan manufactures around 100,000 units each year that require a diesel engine. After extensive research and development the company has designed the Doosan G2 range of eco-friendly, highly-efficient and compact diesel engines, which comply with Euro Stage 3B and Stage 4 emission levels without the need for a Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF).
DPF technology is a great solution for automotive vehicles, but sadly, forklift trucks have very different characteristics to cars and commercial vehicles. Diesel Particulate Filters require constant maintenance and a passive regeneration is required approximately every 20-25 hours, throughout which the forklift cannot be used. During this process the engine burns large amounts of fuel by revving highly.
The G2 compact diesel engine range (from 1.8-litre 3-cylinder to 3.4-litre 4-cylinder) provides impressive power, high low-end torque, proven durability, and the lowest total cost of ownership of any Stage 3B/4 diesel forklift engine.
Through the dedicated application of its design engineers, Doosan has established an enviable reputation for safety, innovation and the delivery of clean, powerful forklift trucks - vehicles with safety engineered in.
To support your safety requirements, and Doosan's ongoing commitment to improving forklift safety, Doosan are offering a free Safety Pack worth over £1,000 with any new Diesel truck purchase before the end of June 2017.
The Safety Pack has been designed to significantly enhance safety for both operators and other pedestrians working nearby. This 3-function system ensures that all site safety speeds are adhered to, automatically shuts down the engine if the truck is standing idle for a set period of time, saving huge amounts of fuel and increases tyre life by 3-4 times.