June 24, 2020

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warehouse safety

Keeping manufacturing facilities running safely during COVID-19

Kirsty Adams, Editor of SHD Logistics Magazine, catches-up with Combilift’s Martin McVicar to discuss safety measures introduced at the manufacturer’s County Monaghan plant due to COVID-19, and the ever-important issues around fork lift safety.

Social Distancing

Safety has always been an important topic for warehouse managers – it has to be – they run a facility where operatives can be hit or crushed by powerful forklifts. Warehouse managers, fork lift truck (FLT) manufacturers and associations like the HSEBITA and the FLTA – as well as trainers such as Mentor and RTITB – have worked together in the UK and Ireland to eliminate risk, through robust procedures and safety features. Accidents still happen, which is why National Forklift Safety Day on the 9 of June – earlier this month – was an important date to recognise.

In the last few months, the safety conversation has changed somewhat, in the world of logistics and manufacturing. Whilst FLT safety remains paramount, warehouse managers have been advised to introduce new safety steps due to COVID-19, in order to keep their facilities running and ensure staff feel safe. Operatives are used to following safety measures regarding FLT, but virus safety is new ground. SHD Logistics spoke to Combilift founder Martin McVicar to discuss safety and recognise National Forklift Safety Day – which he’s a keen supporter of – highlighted by the fact he decided to build Combilift National Safety Week (8 – 12 June) around it.

He’s a true advocate for safety, evident in his safety product range, but also by his response to COVID-19 in his own manufacturing plant. The Combilift manufacturing plant – County Monaghan, Ireland – was back-up and running with safety measures in place three weeks after the country’s lockdown. An impressive timeline. Implemented measures at the plant include a change in shift patterns. Both engineers and administrators re-entered the operation in shifts of either 6am to 2pm or 2pm to 10pm.

We learned that the number of enquiries received for free warehouse reconfiguration plans had increased by 100% during April, measured against the same period in 2019. He explains that this is because of the space that can be created using the company’s range of narrow aisle fork lift trucks. According to McVicar, they create space at a time when operators need to find it for social distancing purposes.

For more on the Combilift product range, read the full article on the SHD Logistics website.

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