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The rise in popularity of commercial recycling has had an unintended consequence: An increase in the number of workers being injured by forklift attachments used to haul these materials.
In June, a company in the UK was ordered to pay the equivalent of nearly $4,000 in connection with an accident in which a forklift operator fell more than 8 feet while attempting to manually open a bin filled with waste plastic that was attached to the forks on his vehicle.
Now Invicta Forks & Attachments, the largest maker of mechanical fork attachments in the UK, has come up with a solution: An auto-tipping bin attachment that can be controlled by a forklift operator without ever having to leave the vehicle’s cab.
Drivers at Risk
Peter Sharpe, Invicta’s managing director, said many companies have started using enormous dumpsters — some measuring as much as 120 feet in length and more than 8 feet tall — to handle all the commercial recyclables they are handling. Many European countries now offer incentives to businesses in an incentive to create “zero-waste” economy.
While this may be good for the environment, it hasn’t fared so well for workers working with poorly designed bin attachments for forklifts.
The new type of bin attachment was designed out of necessity. The company’s customers were complaining that their employees were being endangered by the use of roll-on roll-off dumpsters and forklift bin attachments because they were routinely required to work at unsafe heights when using manual levers to empty them.
“Most skips carried by forklifts require a forward tipping action to unload,” Sharpe said in an Invicta news release. “But the height and design of these super-sized skips often sees operators standing on mud guards or climbing the side of the hard skip to reach the release mechanism.”
The new auto-tipping bin attachment ‘unlocks’ the tipping action when the base is lowered to the edge of the receiving dumpster. A secondary locking mechanism prevents accidental discharge.
The attachment is then returned to its original position via a combination of gravity and truck movement.
“We’ve designed the auto-tip mechanism to eliminate the need to get out of the cab,” Sharpe said. “Operators have immediately seen its potential, allowing them to get on with their work and not exit the cab, which is the safest place for them.
“The option is now a standard feature on our tipping skip range,” he added. “Manual release mechanisms will always be required, but the option of the auto-tip function improves efficiency as well as adding safety.”
The auto-tip forklift bin attachment also is available as a bolt-on item so that it can be retrofitted to existing attachments. This allows businesses to upgrade as their businesses grow.
“It means customers can still add it at a later date even if they don’t currently have the need for the high-level tipping function,” Sharpe said.