NEBOSH Diploma Syllabus Revision News #26

Like C5 and C6, C7 is also about machinery and equipment.  But this time mobile, lifting and access equipment.

When I was working for a large chemical company in a former life, I remember being amazed at the very high reach (compared to a standard fork lift truck) of the narrow aisle reach trucks we used.  The warehouse for our raw materials and finished products was “stack ‘em high”, so the racks were packed with pallets of chemicals that looked like a menacing post-apocalyptic scene.  The standard fork lift trucks we also used had all manner of attachments, cages and what not that meant they could be adapted to lift passengers, handle barrels and, well, even pallets….you can understand why they are so widely used.

Nonetheless, their very versatility brings with it a number of issues.  Like Spiderman’s uncle said, “…with great power comes great responsibility…”.   There is the obvious exuberance which leads to speeding (yes, I can understand that) and assuming you’re the only user on the road.   You can easily forget these trucks carry a good deal of momentum and can cause a good deal of damage even at low speed.  From a pedestrian perspective, I also remember how easy it was to accidentally encounter a reach truck, just because the lanes of aisles between racks formed a labyrinth of corridors giving zero visibility – literally tunnel vision in fact.  A bit like a supermarket.  Hence the importance of strict separation between pedestrians and vehicles (well, as far as possible) with barriers, designated walkways – all set out in a delightful yellow colour, taking design cues from the Wizard of Oz (follow the yellow brick road).

On the positive side, mobile work equipment is always a delight, because, just like international rescue’s thunderbird rockets, it is just such good kit – not only fun to drive but practically useful too.  I mean, who wouldn’t want to swap their daily drive for a MEWP, cherry picker, reach truck or telescopic handler.  There’re easy to part on the lawn and if you lock yourself out accidentally, you can probably get through an open upstairs window (if you have the passenger adapted cage for your reach truck).  Oh how tempting to borrow a truck, even for an evening….a man can dream