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Opinion BITA

Designs – and ideas – for safety

IMHX 2013 may still seem a long way off, but by September this year all exhibitors will be able to start entering the show’s Design 4 Safety Awards. David Rowell, President of BITA, invites you to participate.

Whatever other challenges we face in our businesses – and let’s face it,

there are plenty at present! – I think it’s fair to say safety remains the Number One concern for the materials handling industry. And, while safe working practices are vital, so too are safety design innovations.

“Manufacturers and suppliers play a critical role in safety assurance, by con- tinually improving the designs of their products”

Manufacturers and suppliers of all types of warehousing equipment and services play a critical role in safety assurance, by continually improving the designs of their products. The IMHX Design 4 Safety

Awards, which débuted at IMHX 2010, recognise the industry’s commitment to safety and highlight the importance of product design in improving safety standards. By focusing on ‘design for safety’, the awards recognise innovative thinking regardless of product type or cost. And I am pleased to announce that by 1st September, entry forms will be available on the IMHX website at design4safety.

As readers may well remember from the 2010 event, all IMHX exhibitors are invited to enter their products and services for an award. There are now six entry categories, refl ecting the full range of companies represented at the show. I strongly urge all readers of SHD Magazine to enter their products, and not only for the honour of winning. The awards also serve as a really valuable showcase for the

28 August 2012 Storage Handling Distribution

industry’s commitment to safety – and the extent to which safe product design plays a leading role.

Of course, safety is all about people, not only in terms of assuring their safety in working environments, but also encouraging them to think creatively and innovatively about how to work more safely. Here we feel there’s a particular opportunity to recognise the value of fresh thinking, as demonstrated by the growing number of apprentices working in the industry (not least those who have been recruited into our own BITA Academy at City of Bristol College).


To achieve the desired recognition, we have launched a brand-new Awards category, Ideas 4 Safety, to recognise the safety contributions of tomorrow’s industry leaders who are starting their careers today. All bona fi de materials handling apprentices – not only in lift trucks but any branch of the industry – are invited to propose how they would increase safety within the industry, either through enhancing existing types of product or procedure, or by creating new, innovative approaches. This award will be judged purely on creative thinking and ideas, not technical execution, to ensure a level playing fi eld for all apprentices no matter what stage of training they have reached. Entries can be submitted via

the web address given above. You’ll hear much more about this in months to come, but if you employ or know an apprentice in our industry, do encourage them to enter.


Ideas 4 Safety comes at a time when apprentices – and apprenticeships – are increasingly beginning to look like a superior option for employers and students alike. For example, at the IGD Skills Summit held in mid-June, delegates from the food and grocery sector drew interesting contrasts between graduates and apprentices. Apprentices, it emerges, are increasingly valued for their loyalty, willingness to learn and overall positive attitude; graduates all too often display infl ated expectations and limit their value to employers by moving on too quickly. In mid-July, meanwhile, fi gures released by the university admissions body UCAS indicated applications for degree course places had dropped by 50,000 – or 8.9% – year-on-year. Commentators had no trouble in singling out the high cost of a university education as the most likely reason for the decline. That may be bad news for universities, but maybe we can turn it to our advantage – not only in terms of recruiting more high- quality apprentices into lift-truck engineering, but into the materials handling industry as a whole. ■

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