Safe forklift approach – training tips and advice

Somebody with a passion for safety to equal ours at Axelent is Peter Winding from our business partner, Windings. Windings specialises in industrial safety training aimed at improving safety and efficiency at workplaces all over southern Sweden. Windings was founded in 2004 and over the years have trained thousands of people in forklift, lift and overhead crane safety.

What is your safety background?
“I’ve worked in the industry all my professional life. I began as a fitter and over the years have tried many different jobs like machine operator, team leader and human resources. One of my tasks at my most recent job was to hold the internal forklift training courses. I found it rewarding and decided to try it on a fulltime basis.”

No sooner said than done. Around the turn of the millennium, Peter started his own company. Initially, the company was run as a side business. But interest and safety demands grew and in 2004 he devoted all his time to working with Windings.

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As the attitude towards safety changed much over the years?
“There is a completely different focus on safety today. When I began working during school holidays, they could still put a 13-year-old at a machine. That would never happen today because they’d probably end up in prison. A lot has happened during the past ten to fifteen years. A simple thing like a yellow visitor's vest has become standard. Nobody thought about that before, now there’s nearly always one when you visit an industrial plant.”

How does the partnership look between Windings and Axelent?
“We arrange training courses for them within our entire field. Our partnership has worked really well over the years and we have a common interest in industrial safety. For practical reasons we sometimes hold courses at Axelent, but they mainly come here to us.”

Why do people need safety training?
“To do things right you need to know what you’re doing. We prepare the participants in workplace reality, theory as well as practice. They have to feel comfortable in the equipment. In industry you're always putting yourself and others at risk with forklifts and other types of machinery. Workers need basic knowledge of what it entails to work in a hazardous environment.”

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What is the most common incident?
“The most common incident by far is collision. That you simple run into somebody. Ankle injury is the most common injury of all, according to the accident figures. Tip-overs caused by turning with a raised load is another common accident. Experience doesn't come into it, it could happen to anybody.”

What do you consider the best approach to maintaining a high safety level?
“Training. The people we train are only with us a short time until they’re approved. The real learning starts back at their workplace when they put what they’ve learnt into practice, and that's the real challenge. It’s important for everybody to have a safety mindset and to watch out for anything that could constitute a risk. Information and encouragement from employers are vital, like encouraging people to speak up if they happen to drive into somebody or something. Axelent is very good in this respect. As people tend to feel shame and embarrassment when they break something, it's important that employers stress that nobody will be hung out to dry. This is the best way to avoid serious injuries and damage. Taking continuous measures is vital. If something’s not fixed, then at least ten new incidents will follow in its wake. If you fix something immediately you minimise the risk of a more serious incident further down the line.”

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