Landmarks and accidents

5 August 2008

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If my calculations are correct, this is the 75th blog I've penned for this website, something of a landmark you could argue.

As you may have seen in the news section, we welcomed 40,442 users to the site in July, more than in any previous calendar month, registering 215,166 impressions, also a record.

The increased volume of traffic and activity within the site is naturally satisfying. We aim to deliver a comprehensive information service to the overhead lifting end user communities in every corner of the globe and the latest statistics show we are providing valuable content.

We will continue to monitor the traffic and assess the needs of users from varying sectors within the industry. A complete understanding of our visitors will result in a priceless information source for end users but also an equally valuable marketing tool for manufacturers and product suppliers. Work to this end is ongoing.

Elsewhere in the news section, you may have read about a fatality, which appears to be linked to the use of a forklift, if you read between the lines of a report published on the Chicago Tribune website.

A worker at a Jelly Belly Candy Co. factory in North Chicago was killed, authorities have confirmed, in what appears to be a forklift accident, according to the report.

The report claimed that a supervisor sent Ismael Reyes-Calderon, 51, to move some items in a storage area, but became curious when he didn't return after 20 or 30 minutes, it said, quoting Bill Kelley, vice chairman of Jelly Belly Candy Co.

"The supervisor found Reyes-Calderon pinned between the pallet mover and a sack of starch on a pallet. He was already dead," the report continued.

"We're investigating what happened," Kelley said. There were no witnesses.

An autopsy found Reyes-Calderon died of a crushing injury to the chest, Coroner Richard Keller said, the report concluded.

It wasn't the only forklift accident I've read about recently. A worker in a very different part of the world was killed and three others injured, due to wrong equipment being used to lift heavy pipes.

A health and safety expert in the area went as far as to say the heavy pipes should not have been moved with the use of a forklift in the first place. "These pipes should be held from both sides instead of just the middle. An overhead crane is the right machine to use for such materials," he was quoted, adding that such a lift should be "controlled by a remote that does not require workers to stay close to them [the load] while they are being shifted."

In yet another forklift accident, a 60-year-old man suffered a broken leg after the truck "rolled forward" and "pinned him" according to reports.

I am passionate about promoting overhead lifting above all other forms of material handling, and with good reason. There are clear advantages of, say, gantry and jib cranes over widely used lift trucks. But the challenge is positioning the products in a way that convinces the end user market that is the case.

In a recent poll of visitors to this site, the majority (61%) said the main reason they choose overhead lifting equipment over fork lift trucks is to clear floor space. Some 22% said trucks are cumbersome, noisy and dirty.

Please keep your letters and emails coming in. It's always good to hear from manufacturers, suppliers, end users and anyone else involved in the overhead lifting business.

Richard Howes, Editor