A safer more productive workplace with Combilift

Adapt-A-Lift Group

Wednesday, 01 July, 2020



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Whether it be in a manufacturing facility, a warehouse or a high pedestrian customer area, workplace safety is at the top of the list when it comes to handling long, heavy or oversized loads. Moving these types of items around warehouses can often be fraught with danger. However, by utilising the right equipment and storage options, companies can not only improve the safety of their facilities but enhance productivity and increase storage capacity and speed of operations.

From June 17th–24th Combilift together with many of its customers took time out during National Forklift Safety Week to consider the safety of its own products and like many companies took the opportunity to look at how they were implementing safety best-practices and ensure the wellbeing of their own staff within their own facility. Martin McVicar, the Managing Director of Combilift, connected via video with customers Andrew Walsh, CEO of Australian company Steeline and Steve Pullbrook, Director of Gibbons Pullbrook chain of Mitre 10 stores in NSW to discuss the importance of forklift safety within their own organizations.

In starting his conversation with Steve and Andrew, Martin spoke of his experiences of the implementation of forklift safety across the globe, “Of all the markets we do business in, and safety is of course important in every market, there is a lot of safety implemented and there is a lot of safety spoken about, but in Australia, safety really is at the top of everyone’s agenda.” This focus on safety, according to McVicar, fits well with Combilift’s ethos of not manufacturing regular forklifts but manufacturing equipment that can carry long loads more safely while at the same time increase warehouse and production space.

Martin went on to describe a number of products within the Combilift range, notably the Combilift pedestrian units, the Combi WR and Combi WR4 designed with a patented multi position tiller arm. The unique design of the Combilift pedestrian units capable of handling loads from 800kg up to 16 tonnes, was, by McVicar’s own admission not the first pedestrian forklift truck however it is unique in that “the operator does not have to stand behind the unit when operating it, the operator can stand at an offset position and has clearer visibility of the forks and is not in that area which is a potential crush zone”.

When discussing the importance of moving long and bulky loads with ride on forklifts however, McVicar turned to Andrew Walsh and Steve Pullbrook to talk of their own experiences in improving safety within their organisations. Both Steeline and Pullbrook’s Mitre 10 utilise the Combilift C Series and CB range of multi directional forklifts.

Combilift C and CB Series units combine the advantages of three units into one and thanks to their revolutionary design they’re able to operate as a side-loader, counterbalance or narrow aisle forklift depending on the task at hand.

McVicar spoke of “the ability of one Combilift unit to maneuver long loads providing increased safety by reducing the number of forklift movements and load handovers between units such as from a counterbalance forklift unloading from a delivery truck to a side-loader that can successfully navigate the load through a narrow warehouse door” whilst Walsh said “many of our members are redesigning their racking and their storage to take advantage of the capabilities of the Combilift equipment, which is giving us more capacity inside and out… it’s been amazing. Once the operators have started using it, they can never go back.”

Pullbrook, a user of 4 Combilift CB’s and C Series across 4 sites in the Southern Highlands of NSW, agreed with Martin that “Safety was a big driver. We’ve designed our timber yards around their use. We’re leaning toward the CB units, we’ve tailored the machine with wider fork positioners so it is even safer again for carrying long loads, our whole system is designed around using those forklifts”. Pullbrook however was frank in saying that “initially it was economics that made us look toward Combilift, the cost of land and reducing aisle widths”.

On talking with McVicar however it was plain to see that his interest was not only in the safe use of forklifts on his customers’ sites but also forklift safety within his own facility. Combilift, which operates a 46,000sqm facility in County Monaghan, Ireland has put in place a number of safety features to reduce pedestrian interaction with mobile equipment.

An efficient and safe layout was very predominant in our layout thinking here. We laid out all our walkway and then we did a risk assessment to ask ourselves is that walkway in the right place where there are very few moving vehicles or should we move the walkway. In many cases we repositioned the walkways to where there were fewer moving vehicles, it allows us to segregate our 600 plus employees from all moving vehicles.

In closing McVicar again stressed that “Australia really does set the benchmark for safety and that forklift safety was a big part of that”.

Find out more about Combilift and their commitment to safety at www.combilift.com

Adaptalift Group are the official Australian distributor of Combilift multi-directional forklifts for further information contact us on 13 22 54 or visit our website www.adaptalift.com.au

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