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Failure To Register Warehouse Results in KFC Closures

Access platforms weren’t the problem at a warehouse in Rugby, which was supposed to be storing KFC’s chicken last week.

In case you weren’t already aware, KFC was recently forced to close a number of stores following problems with its chicken deliveries.

These were caused by the new delivery company, DHL, for KFC failing to store the chicken in a registered warehouse. This means that the chicken will now not be used by KFC, after pledging that they will not sell chicken that does not fulfil its own high standards.

Though the cold warehouse where the chicken has been stored doesn’t need to be licensed, it does need to be registered with the local council, the authority announced. It is understood that the correct paperwork has now been provided to the council. The chicken can be used and KFC is attempting to donate it to charities.

The council decided to allow the warehouse to continue operating while it awaited its registration, as not doing so would not have been “in the public interest”. However, a couple days after registration was achieved, lorries were filmed lining up to get to the warehouse – so significant are the delays that DHL is experiencing as a result of these warehouse problems.

Many of KFC’s 750 restaurants are franchises which use the delivery service, and many people who work for these franchises will likely be quite angry soon!

It is thought that the problem with the warehouse registration has also been compounded by a software failure, meaning data from KFC’s ordering process has not been transferred to its new system.

The technology analyst Chris Green said: “If you were one of KFC’s 750 franchisees you could order your replacement chicken and other supplies and usually within about 24 hours a lorry from Bidvest would appear outside your store with what you needed.

“It is doing huge brand damage to KFC. The franchisee can’t go off and buy chicken from a wholesaler. Their contracts with KFC prevents them from going to third parties. And KFC can’t put its name on chicken it didn’t supply. The franchisee and KFC have both got both hands tied behind their backs.” 

KFC was warned about its decision to switch its delivery company by trade union GMB in October last year. They cited significant problem experienced by Burger King when it decided to make the same delivery company switch, from Bidvest Logistics to DHL, six years ago.

GMB expressed concerns on both occasions that DHL could not manage the deliveries from a single warehouse.

Mick Rix, the GMB’s national officer said he had written to KFC a couple of months ago explaining that dropping from a supply system based on six warehouses to just one warehouse in Rugby (which was later fund to be unregistered). He went on to call the situation at the warehouse an “utter shambles”.

He also made the claim in The Guardian newspaper that the executives at KFC knew about potential problems with DHL up to three weeks ago, and criticised the job losses experienced at Bidvest as a result of the change of delivery company.


Industrial Sites ‘Non-Compliant’ With Environmental Protection Measures

Some of the biggest industrial sites in Scotland are failing to comply with environmental protection measures, including 51 fish farming sites that have been rated as very poor, poor or at risk.

BP-owned Kinneil Terminal and Petroineos at Grangeouth, as well as two other sites at Dounreay, have all been rated as poor, according to BBC Scotland.

Figures from the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) show that compliance has dropped from 90.94 per cent in 2010 to 88.28 per cent in 2016 in the food and drink sector. The SEPA has reminded those operating in certain industries that environmental compliance is indeed non-negotiable.

However, compliance in the waste industry climbed to 90.35 per cent in 2016, up from the 72.48 per cent seen in 2009.

Terry A’Hearn, chief executive of the organisation, explained that it will be bringing in new tools to make sure that sites do follow the regulations.

He went on to say: “Every Scottish business will comply with the law, and we'll work to ensure as many as possible will go even further.

“This latest report card on the environmental performance of Scottish regulated businesses is encouraging, with significant outcomes achieved for Scottish communities. It's a reminder that we'll work positively with those who want to do the right thing by Scotland's environment, and a wake-up call to those that don't.”

The agency now has a new set of powers that mean it can address those companies that are failing to comply with their obligations. For example, contractors working on the Aberdeen bypass agreed to pay a penalty of £280,000 for polluting the River Don and the River Dee.

Companies should make note of the EU Waste Framework Directive, which includes information on taking the necessary measures to make sure waste is disposed of or recovered without harming the environment or endangering human health, covering permitting, registration and inspection requirements as well.

You should also take a look at the Waste (England and Wales) (Amendment) Regulations 2012, which came into force on October 1st 2012. These relate to the separate collection of waste, with authorities having to collect paper, metal, plastic and glass separately.

You need a permit under EU legislation for the recovery and disposal of waste, with the main objective being to prevent harm to human health and the environment. There are exemptions from the need for a permit, as long as general rules are put in place for each exempt activity and the operation has been registered with the relevant registration authority.

Hazardous waste is something you should certainly pay close attention to, as if it’s mismanaged it has the potential to cause more harm to the environment and human health. There are strict controls in place from the moment of production, to movement, management and recovery or disposal.

Have a read of the Strategy for Hazardous Waste Management in England to find out more about what your responsibilities are and how you can avoid damaging the environment through the work that you do.

For help with forklift rentals, get in touch with us today.


Amazon Confirms New Warehouse Site

Online retailer Amazon has announced that it will open a new warehouse in Rugby, creating 400 jobs in the process.

The new fulfillment warehouse is set to start operating later this year, with the company also eyeing the creation of new warehouse facilities in Bristol, Coventry and Bolton as part of its plans to extend its Amazon Marketplace service.

There are currently 16 fulfillment centres in the UK, with recruitment already underway for the new site in Coventry, which is also expected to be up and running by the end of 2018. This location will provide 1,650 permanent jobs.

However, the Coventry site is slightly different to Amazon’s other warehouses in that it will be the first dedicated UK receive centre. This means it will act as a hub where millions of products sold on Amazon are received, before being distributed to other sites around the UK, SHD Logistics explained.

This is all part of a heavy programme of investment being undertaken by the online retailer, which has ploughed £6.4 billion into its UK business since 2010, funding everything from its research and development in this country to its head office, as well as fulfillment and logistics infrastructure.

While Amazon clearly has the resources available to expand its network, and thereby its business, many smaller firms are not in such a strong financial position.

Research published recently by the Royal Mail found that although SME online retailers in the UK saw their businesses perform better in 2017 than a year earlier, many are concerned about rising costs going forward.

In fact, 69 per cent of the firms surveyed said that they expect costs to be higher in 2018, with logistics and delivery named as one of their three biggest expenses.

When searching for warehouse space, it could be advisable for such firms to find a site that provides gas forklifts and other equipment as part of any contract for using the space.

More SME online retailers in the UK also intend to sell more of their products overseas this year, with 64 per cent of those surveyed planning to boost their international sales revenue, rising to 78 per cent among firms in the electronics sector.

Nick Landon, managing director at Royal Mail Parcels, said that it was “great” to see such a high level of confidence among the country’s small online retailers as we start the new year.

“Although obvious challenges exist, retailers are grasping the available opportunities for growth and have a clear view of the actions they need to take to win new customers at home and abroad,” he asserted.

However, there are concerns about jobs in the logistics sector, with greater automation expected to enter warehouses up and down the country in the coming years. Amazon is currently recruiting IT specialists and engineers, as well as operations managers and a HR team.

This indicates there are opportunities in the sector for those with specialist skills, while there could be less demand for employees who simply pick goods from a warehouse floor to be shipped, with technology now able to take over. 


Food Manufacturers Warned Over Health Risk Management

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has issued a warning to food manufacturing companies and their employees, saying that they have to prioritise workplace health risk management or they could face a hefty penalty.

Unannounced inspection visits are now taking place, focusing on musculoskeletal disorders (mainly lower back pain and upper limb disorders as a result of repetitive tasks, and manual handling) and occupational asthma.

Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) are the most common type of illness in food manufacturing, with handling injuries making up about 20 per cent of reported injuries by members of staff. And the HSE has now reminded companies that this kind of ill health can be prevented if the appropriate risk control systems are in place.

The organisation is now calling on anyone in the industry to update their knowledge of its guidance and advice, which is available online for free via the HSE website.

John Rowe, the HSE’s head of manufacturing sector, said: “The food manufacturing sector is made up of over 300,000 workers and its health and safety record needs to improve. This inspection initiative will look to ensure effective management and control of targeted health risks. Food manufacturing companies should do the right thing by protecting workers’ health; everyone has the right to go home healthy from work.”

The key message from the HSE regarding MSDs is that there are steps you can take to prevent or minimise them, measures that are cost effective, but it’s also important to remember that you can’t prevent all MSDs. As such, early reporting of any symptoms is required, as is proper treatment and suitable rehabilitation.

Manual handling includes a huge variety of different tasks and injuries can take place nearly anywhere, at work or at home, and for a variety of reasons including awkward postures or heavy loads. Previous injuries can also increase the risk.

The Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992 require companies to manage risks to employees. You must ensure that your workers avoid hazardous manual handling operations as far as is practicable, whether that’s through redesigning a task or mechanising and automating the work that needs to be done.

You also need to carry out risk assessments of injury from hazardous operations that can’t be avoided. And you also have to reduce the risk of injury from these operations as far as is practicable – and where this isn’t practicable, you must explore changes to the job, working environment and load.

Labelling of loads is important under the regulations – although you only need to do this if there is a risk of injury. Providing information about weights will warn handlers reliably and quickly about whether a load is heavy or not – so make sure the information is positioned somewhere visible and is easy to understand.

Are you looking into forklift truck sales at the moment? Get in touch with us at Rollrite Hire today to find out more.


UK Manufacturers End Year On A High

The UK manufacturing sector has had a strong year and this looks set to continue into 2018, if the latest figures from the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) are anything to go by.

According to data published by the CBI, manufacturing order books in the UK are close to hitting a 30-year high, with the majority of manufacturing sectors in the country posting a strong performance this year.

Motor vehicles and transport equipment, and the mechanical engineering sectors were singled out as being particularly strong this year, although businesses in 14 of the 17 sectors identified by the CBI stated that their order books were above normal in the organisation’s latest industrial trends survey.

Total order books were reported to be above normal by 28 per cent of the manufacturers surveyed, while the same percentage also said their export order books were above normal.

What’s more, 42 per cent of the businesses questioned stated that the volume of output over the past three months has increased, with just 11 per cent reporting a decline. This resulted in a balance of +30 per cent, well above the long-standing average of +4 per cent.

CBI head of economic intelligence Anna Leach commented that while this performance and the outlook is encouraging, challenges still remain.

“While the lower level of sterling continues to support exporters, cost pressures remain intense,” she cautioned.

Ms Leach added that manufacturers will be among those expecting to see positives coming from the government’s emphasis on industry and the economy. “Businesses will expect to see the government’s Industrial Strategy make rapid progress next year to support manufacturing and the wider economy in every corner of the UK,” she stated.

With manufacturers creating and shipping more products, there could also be a rise in demand for forklift leasing, particularly if firms are wary of investing in new equipment prematurely in case the economy takes a dip.

Despite the positive performance and outlook for manufacturing, the wider UK economy is cautious about where things will go in the coming year.

The latest CBI/Pertemps network group employment trends survey found that, while many firms are optimistic about their ability to create jobs in the short term, there are concerns over how Brexit will affect the UK jobs market.

One of the biggest worries is that businesses will struggle to remain competitive if they choose to base their staff in the UK. Almost two-thirds of respondents to the survey (63 per cent) said that they currently feel as though changes to the UK labour market “will contribute to Britain becoming a less attractive place to invest and do business over the next five years”.

This is an increase on the 50 per cent who felt this way at the end of 2016, and significantly higher than in 2015, when just 25 per cent of respondents cited this as a major concern.

Naturally, all eyes will be on the Brexit negotiations to see whether Britain can get a favourable deal when it exits the EU in 2019. CBI managing director of people policy Neil Carberry said that the survey highlights the importance of making progress on the Industrial Strategy, and of getting a good Brexit deal to “improve productivity, support job creation and boost pay growth”.


Do You Offer Your Workers Time And A Half At Christmas?

It would be nice to think that over the Christmas break we could all down tools and stop working to spend time with friends and family but we do live in a 24-hour society and it doesn’t all just grind to a halt just because it’s December 25th.

There are all sorts of people in all sorts of professions who have to work over the Christmas period and while they may be all smiles and say they don’t mind, they might well have a few rancorous feelings if they see their pay packets in January and notice that they’re a little light.

If people in your company are working over the festive season it might be a nice gesture of goodwill (it being Christmas, after all) to offer them a bit of bonus pay for giving up their holidays. Whether it’s overtime or simply keeping everything ticking over while others are on their jollies, showing your appreciation for them certainly couldn’t hurt – and will guarantee them coming back to the office in January with a big smile on their face.

But a new report from the Resolution Foundation has just revealed that while one in ten employees did paid overtime last year, just a fifth of them got time and a half pay premiums for working those hours.

The Foundation is now advising the government to consider trialling an overtime pay premium that applies to both people on minimum wage but also those on low and middle salaries. This would help to discourage companies from using contracts that don’t reflect the hours someone has actually worked, while also providing an income boost to staff members who do paid overtime to give their contracted hours a boost.

“Paid overtime is a massive workplace issue for millions of workers, and yet it enjoys a fraction of the attention given to more niche areas like the gig economy. This is likely due to it being a bigger deal outside London, and in more traditional sectors like manufacturing and agriculture.

“But, while paid overtime is popular, it’s far less lucrative than it used to be. Only a minority of workers still enjoy the traditional ‘time and a half’ pay premium,” senior policy analyst at the Foundation Conor D’Arcy said.

According to UCATT, the union for the construction industry, employers may need overtime to be worked and employees may not refuse to do this unreasonably. Overtime is calculated on a daily basis, but overtime premium rates won’t apply until normal hours have been worked in that pay week (39 hours).

Overtime is calculated at the rate of double time on Sundays, the rate of time and a half on Saturdays, and at a rate of time and a half for the first four hours after normal working hours have been completed on a weekday, and then double time until the starting time for work the following day.

Looking for pallet trucks? Get in touch with us today.


Budget To Provide Boost For House Building

The latest Budget from chancellor Philip Hammond has set out a number of positive measures for housebuilders and the construction sector, with the government aiming to construct more new homes to meet demand.

That will, naturally, have an impact on other areas of the industry, including builders merchants who have recently reported strong sales in the UK. The Construction Index highlighted the data from the latest Builders Merchants Building Index (BMBI), which showed sales growth in the third quarter of the year.

According to the BMBI, sales climbed by 5.2 per cent in this period, compared to the same three months in 2016, and this is despite there being one less trading day in 2017 than there was last year.

Heavy building materials marginally outperformed the other product categories, with sales here increasing by six per cent year-on-year. With growing demand there could also be more need for electric forklift hire to help move all of these products around, both at builders merchants and onsite.

Within the budget, the Chancellor made a number of announcements that have been received positively by those in the construction industry.

Among them is the news that an additional £15.3 billion is to be made available in the form of capital funding, loans and guarantees for house builders.

Some of this money will be used to more than double the current Housing Infrastructure Fund, while small and medium-sized (SME) housebuilders are set to benefit from the additional cash going into the Home Building Fund, Builders Merchants Journal reported.

More funding was also unveiled to support training within the construction sector, with £34 million set to be spent around the UK to ensure that there is a skilled and well-trained workforce to deliver the host of new homes being promised by the government.

As well as the extra funding being unveiled across various areas of the construction sector, Mr Hammond also stated that the government will intervene where local authorities have failed to set out an up-to-date local plan.

This means that central government will use legislation to force a local council to adopt a local plan, with the aim to speed up the construction of new homes and even new garden villages that are being proposed in various parts of the UK.

The Home Builders Federation (HBF) welcomed the announcements by the Chancellor, but stressed that more still needs to be done if the UK is to meet its target of constructing 300,000 new homes a year.

Measures to help SME builders were singled out for praise by the HBF, although the organisation stressed that these need to be implemented quickly and followed up with further changes to the planning system to help SME builders fulfil their potential.

Executive chairman of the HBF Stewart Baseley commented: “The measures announced today will assist by stimulating demand and helping broaden the supply base of new homes.”

However, he continued: “But much more needs to be done, in particular with regards to the planning system, if the target is to be met.”


How To Prevent Manual Handling-Related Injuries

Having a physical job means, naturally, a lot of wear and tear on your body so it’s important that you and your members of staff know how to minimise the risks so no one injures themselves.

Figures from the most recent Labour Force Survey show that 8.9 million working days were in fact lost between 2016-2017 because of work-related musculoskeletal disorders. Industries with higher than average rates of these disorders were revealed as construction, agriculture, forestry and fishing, transportation and storage, and human health and social work activities.

These kinds of disorders relate to any damage or injury to joints and other tissues in the upper or lower limbs, and the back. Manual handling – moving items by lifting, carrying, lowering, pushing or pulling – carries a number of risks because of the weight of items, the distance they need to be transported, where they’re being picked up from or put down and so on… and it’s possible that bending, twisting and getting into awkward positions is likely from time to time.

Employers are required to manage such risks under the Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992. This can be done through risk assessments if hazardous operations can’t be avoided, or by avoiding hazardous operations through redesigning jobs so there’s no need to move a load, or by automating and mechanising the work that needs to be done.

The good news is that if changes do need to be made, they don’t need to be difficult or expensive. You can reduce the impact of risk factors by, for example, breaking up periods of work that do require a lot of repetition with lots of short breaks instead of one big one.

Making sure that all tools are properly maintained and that the right tools are available for the job in question can also reduce the amount of force necessary to complete certain tasks. Improving the working environment can also be beneficial, perhaps through investing in low-vibration tools and so on.

The majority of injuries happen because of overuse so it makes sense to try and reduce these risks wherever possible. This can be done by making mechanical aids like reach trucks available, rotating staff around so the same people don’t spend a long time performing riskier tasks and encouraging workers to take regular breaks.

The Health and Safety Executive has a manual handling toolkit to help employers and employees both identify risk factors involved with manual handling work so possible solutions and improvements can be devised.

For example, there’s the manual handling assessment chart designed to help you work out high risk activities, perfect for organisations of any size. Or you might find the assessment of repetitive tasks tool useful, designed to help assess the common risk factors that could lead to the onset of upper limb disorders. Repetitive tasks are often found in production, assembly, packing, processing, packaging and sorting work, as well as the regular use of hand tools.


Construction Sector Grows

Diesel forklift hire may be on the up again soon as the sector has returned to growth, after an unprecedented slump in September.

September saw confidence in the industry hit as the purchasing managers' index (PMI) score hit a new low of 48.1, suggesting the industry was in contraction.

New information reveals this index has grown to 50.8. Anything above 50 on the index indicates growth.

Despite this it is thought that confidence in the sector is at its lowest since December 2012, as a number of civil engineering firms have complained that they are not getting new projects to work on when they have finished the ones they are currently working on.

There are a number of large infrastructure projects that are currently being worked on but some are concerned that there won’t be enough to replace them, once key projects such as HS2 are finished.

One of the reasons for the increase in the index score was an increase in house building according to Tim Moore, an associate director at IHS Markit in the Financial Times:

“Greater house building was the sole bright spot in an otherwise difficult month for the construction sector. Sustained declines in civil engineering and commercial activity meant that large areas of the building industry have become stuck in a rut.

However, relying on house building alone to support the construction industry was not enough warned Duncan Brock, of the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply, in The Telegraph Newspaper.

"Any heavy reliance on residential building alone would be foolhardy with interest rate rises on the horizon and availability of skilled workers lacking in the sector, unless the Chancellor pulls a rabbit out of the hat and supports the training of new construction workers", he said.

There are a number of fingers being pointed at problems facing the construction industry, with many of them being linked to the UK’s decision to leave the European Union.

For example, it is feared that there will not be enough construction workers to support any projects that do become available as many EU migrants are heading home due to a lack of clarification over their residency status in the UK.

In addition to this a deadlock at Stormont means there is a lack of projects being confirmed for the pipeline, further worsening the problems that have caused some of the lack of confidence in the industry in the first place.

The procurement process in Northern Ireland stopped in August when the deadlock in Stormont first started and hasn’t been reignited since. This is particularly worrying in light of the fact that there have also been fears raised over how a return to a hard international border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland will affect construction there. 

This double problem in Ireland could see both a lack of construction workers in the region, alongside a shortage of projects, which could bring about severe stagnation in the sector. 


FMB: Hard Border Between NI & The Republic Would Be Damaging

A new report has suggested that a hard border between Northern Ireland (NI) and the Republic would prove quite damaging to the construction industry, with more than half of small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in NI saying that it would have an effect on purchasing products and materials from the Republic.

The Federation of Master Builders (FMB) study found that many of those in the industry believe a hard border would also affect their ability to employ people from over the border… concerning since nearly one-third say they employ people from across the border.

Chief executive of the organisation Brian Berry explained that the research suggests a hard border between the two would negatively affect growth among SMEs in the construction sector. And as such, the call is now being made to return to the free movement of people between the UK and Ireland, as it was before 1973.

He noted that there are over 200 roads crossing between NI and the Republic, with up to 35,000 people commuting between the two every single day. A typical construction company in NI will transport labour, products and materials from the Republic regularly and anything that could interfere with their ability to do this easily and quickly will need to be dealt with in a sensitive way.

“Brexit is already making its presence felt in Northern Ireland with builders feeling the pinch since material prices have risen following the depreciation of sterling after the EU referendum. Indeed, more than a third of NI builders have reported that their margins have been squeezed since the EU vote last summer.

“Let’s remember that the construction industry is central to the health of the NI economy. The construction sector employs around 65,000 people and has an output of £2.4bn per annum in NI alone,” Mr Berry concluded.

According to Labour Party shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer, failing to strike an accord in the Brexit negotiations would inevitably result in a hard Irish border, which would prove catastrophic for Ireland.

Sir Keir went on to say that the Labour Party would not support a no-deal outcome in a vote in the House of Commons. If no deal exists, no agreement will be put in place regarding the border in Northern Ireland which will lead to a hard border… and this will mean no deal exists for EU citizens in this country or for those Britons living overseas.

After Brexit has happened, Northern Ireland will be the only place in the UK that will share a land-based border with an EU member state. As such, how this border is managed will prove to be highly sensitive and is certainly a huge priority in the talks between the UK and the EU.

Chris Grayling, transport secretary, said that no one intends to change the situation of people moving freely between Northern and southern Ireland, according to the BBC.

For forklift truck sales and more, give us at Rollrite Hire a call today.


Mobile Robotics In Material Handling ‘On The Rise’

A new report has suggested that mobile robotics in both material handling and logistics will be a $75 billion market come the year 2027 and will more than double by 2038. It’s expected that navigational autonomy will see cash being diverted towards autonomous industrial vehicles, driving growth in the material handling vehicle sector (such as forklifts).

The IDTechEx paper suggests that autonomous forklifts will continue to take up a tiny share of the market until 2023 or thereabouts, but will then enter a phase of rapid growth. This will transform the industry and increase adoption levels up to 70 per cent by 2038.

“[Automatic guided vehicles] barely made a dent in this industry. This is because their navigational rigidity put a low cap on their total market scope, keeping them as a small subset of the warehouse/factory automation business. Autonomous mobile robots are radically different however because they will ultimately enable automation to largely keep the flexibility and versatility of human-operated vehicles,” it was observed.

Artificial intelligence and the construction industry was also recently in the news earlier this year, with New York company Construction Robotics developing a robot that can lay 3,000 bricks in a single day. A human builder can lay on average 500 bricks a day – so it could have a knock-on effect in the sector and see people put out of work.

According to the Times, these devices are already in use on some sites in the US and the company is hoping to bring the robots over here within a couple of years. Of course, they won’t make people entirely obsolete – it was observed that the robots will need to be supervised closely, while human members of staff will also need to supervise in terms of health and safety, help with laying bricks at difficult angles and clear up once the working day is done as well.

There’s also the Hadrian X from Fastbrick Robotics, another bricklaying robot that could have a big impact on the global construction industry. However, as the developers themselves observe, these robotic systems have struggled in the past to handle changing conditions outside the controlled environment of a factory or warehouse – although the Hadrian X has been developed to help tackle this problem.

It is apparently the only totally mobile construction solution that can overcome site-related issues that come with building in the real world.

And over in Japan, a Construction Robot has been developed that can remove heavy debris and carry out high risk construction tasks, with an attached drone included to give it better aerial vision. It was recently upgraded to ensure it can handle steep slopes and awkward terrain more effectively, while two swivel arms have been added, one of which boasts a dextrous multi-fingered hand.

Are you looking into forklift truck hire at the moment? Get in touch with us here at Rollrite Hire to find out how we could help.


Sould You Rent Or Buy Your Next Forklift?

If you’re considering getting a your hands on a new diesel forklift for your business, then first step is that you need to consider whether you want to rent or buy - a big decision, but one made easy with this expert guide. Depending on what the job is you’ll need to carry out with a forklift truck - cost it up and see which way is the more cost effective for your business.

Of course, when renting there’s no initial outlay for the forklift, meaning that if you’re worried about cashflow, it provides an alternative way to split the cost month on month. It also means you don’t need to worry about storage or having the machine serviced - another plus!

However, rental charges can soon add up, and if you’re using a forklift more often, then you might end up spending more than the cost of a forklift before you know it. You also won’t own the machine at the end of a rental agreement, meaning your business has spent the money, but doesn’t have the forklift as a re-sellable asset.

Convenience is also key - if you keep renting on a short term basis, factor in the cost of your time arranging the rental and its delivery to site.

What might be the best decision for your business is a combination of the two. Deciding on a make and model of forklift can be hard if you’ve never rented or owned one before, so a short term rental gives you a great chance to try out one and find the right fit for your business.

Another decision to make is if you would prefer to purchase a brand new or second hand vehicle. You can get you hands on some great used forklifts that are still in great perfect order, and will still be in action for many years. If you do decide to buy second hand then make sure you go and look over the truck and test drive to make sure everything is in working order. You’ll be able to acquire one at a great discount if you shop around. If you will be using the forklift daily then for peace of mind it may be that a brand new truck that hasn’t ever been used, without any wear and tear (or hidden problems you’ll need to have repaired) is the right choice for you.

Most importantly before purchasing a forklift truck is to make sure you have the correct certificate and training to be able to use it. The types of training or paper work you need can vary so make sure you check your area for what the latest regulations are. Great news if you already have someone in your business that is already trained to drive them, but another option is that you hire a new employee with the right experience and qualifications.

You could also send an existing employee on the correct training courses to acquire the skills needed. You will find that a lot companies that sell forklift trucks such as Rollrite Hire and other heavy lifting machinery will provide courses and training, you may even be able to get a good deal if you purchasing or renting from the same company.

Although a big decision for any business to make, you could find that things you’ve currently been struggling with in your warehouse trying to manually move from one place to another will be able to happen more efficiently and in turn your business will run smoother becoming one of the best decisions you can make.


Govt Called On To Ensure Permanent residence For EU Migrant Workers

A new report from the All Party Parliamentary Group for Excellence in the Built Environment has called on the government to ensure the rights of EU migrant workers in the construction industry aren’t ignored and that they’re able to remain in this country after Brexit.

The existing workforce must be stabilised and this is the way to go about it, according to the paper, which also suggested that transitional arrangements be put in place for a period of time so that access to employees from other countries doesn’t disappear.

Industry also needs to do more to futureproof itself and adopt digital technologies and offsite construction to become more productive and enterprising. Additionally, supporting the goal of attracting, retaining and training a bigger UK-based workforce would be a wise move as well, so that local talent’s skills fit in well with contemporary methods of working.

“Brexit presents huge risks to the UK construction sector and, as a consequence, to our ability to deliver the homes and infrastructure that we urgently need.

“It is hard to overstate the importance of locking in construction to the heart of the industrial strategy and taking a proactive and comprehensive approach to the challenges facing the construction sector in mitigating the risks,” chairman of the all-parliamentary group Oliver Colvile commented.

The report is also keen to see a single body set up to provide strategic oversight on skills and training across the board, while bringing in new talent throughout the entire built environment sector, instead of just trades.

The apprenticeship levy and the Construction Industry Training Board could also be merged into one organisation and money ring-fenced so it’s spent in such a way as to attract and retain new talent to help support the industry in the future.

Just today (July 12th), chief Brexit negotiator for the EU Michel Barnier has put the pressure on the UK to clarify its position on the fate of EU citizens ahead of the second round of withdrawal negotiations, which is set to take place on July 17th.

Mr Barnier has now made it clear that he wants some answers regarding EU citizens before the second round begins. He was quoted by the Independent as saying: “The British position does not allow [EU citizens in the UK] to continue to live their lives as they do today. How do you build a relationship based on trade and security to last with a country where you don’t have trust?”

Recent research from consultancy firm Deloitte revealed that highly skilled EU workers are the most likely to leave the UK at the moment, with one-third of non-British employees considering relocating elsewhere in the next five years. This should perhaps come as something of a warning to the government, emphasising the importance of devising workable immigration plans while also upskilling UK workers.

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Fork Lift Truck Association Reveals Safety Campaign

While a fork lift hire is an essential piece of equipment for many areas of business, especially in warehouses, it’s also an extremely dangerous piece of equipment. It’s important not only for handlers to be trained in their safe operation, but other staff also knowing the health and safety rules they need to follow to avoid an accident taking place, after all, it could cause them a serious injury. 

However, according to the leading body in fork lift truck safety, being trained is not enough to prevent accidents - everyone needs to be aware of just what damage a fork lift in the workplace can do.

The Fork Lift Truck Association has been running its safety campaign, Safetember, for 10 years now - spanning the whole length of September. While the event itself is not for some time, this week the FLTA announced the theme for this year’s campaign, and it’s a stark reminder about the risks that a fork lift truck handled improperly pose: ‘You don’t walk away from a fork lift accident’.

According to the Health and Safety Executive, fork lifts make up one out of four of all workplace transport accidents, making them more dangerous than both HGVs and LGVs.

FLTA Chief Executive Peter Harvey MBE spoke about how there is no such thing as a minor accident involving a fork lift:  “Every day, on average, three people are seriously injured and hospitalised in incidents involving fork lift trucks,” he said, according to TyrePress.com. “Yet these accidents are anything but ‘everyday’ for the injured, their colleagues, families and friends… The resulting injuries – including dislocations, amputations and long-bone fractures – change lives. In an instant.”

That’s why the FLTA wants people involved in all links of the chain of fork lift truck operation to spread the word - from manufacturers to suppliers to those doing the actual driving.

Every accident, they say, needs to be used as a warning to prevent the same thing happening again.

One such incident hit the headlines this week after a woman was seriously injured by a fork lift truck at Glastonbury Festival. The woman was trapped underneath the vehicle after being hit by it on one of the festival’s main routes, which is shared by pedestrians and vehicles according to Bath Chronicle

While the accident prompted a major response from on site emergency services, it took a long time for the injured woman to be extracted from the site because of access issues.  She received treatment on site while still trapped under the fork lift according to eye witnesses. It’s believed she sustained serious injury to at least one leg.

No-one has been arrested in connection to the accident, but portioning individual blame may be difficult in an environment with festival revellers sharing the space with such heavy machinery.

While it’s a clear example of the damage that a fork lift truck can easily cause when used in the wrong environment, it will be interesting to see the FLTA and the festival’s response to such an incident on the Worthy Farm site. 


New Forklift Attachment To ‘Extend Pallet Life’

If you’ve ever received heavy goods on a wooden pallet you’ll know sometimes the wood isn’t in the best condition, but a new attachment for your electronic forklifts could extend the pallets life.

Surprisingly the wooden pallet dates all the way back to the 1930s when they were first created to move and transport heavy good and materials in the Second World War.

The first forklift trucks were also engineered around this time. A US Navy officer at the time called Norman Cahners was the man responsible for designing and patenting the four way pallet a design which has remained unchanged since then thanks to how effectively it works.

He added the open notches to the side of the shipping pallets meaning that the forklift trucks could easily move around goods from one ship to another.

In the USA, there are thought to be around two billion wooden pallets, with 500 million being produced every year to keep up with demand replace any that are broken or worn. It’s thought that the pallet making industry makes up 40 per cent of the country’s annual hardwood timber consumption. For many environmental organisation hardwood pallets are a problem because of the fact that faulty ones usually end up in landfill sites.

Timber pallets can often be damaged by forklifts if the machinery is not being operated precisely, especially when wet or when under intense strain, however an exciting new product has now been developed that will ensure less damage to wooden pallets when be moved on and off forklift trucks.

The design, called a Sumo Glove, works by being fitted to the prongs on the end of a forklift trucks and the area that comes into most contact with pallets which can damage them, and is made from industrial polyurethane plastic.

Simon Ross, managing director of the UK based company, spoke to Forklift Action about the need for the product: “We obviously need pallets in the supply chain but, because of the large number that are damaged and discarded each year, a shift in the way that we think and act regarding the use of wooden pallets across supply chains is required”.

The Sumo Glove forms a protective barrier between forklift and pallet, meaning the overall process will lead to less damage to pallets. The device is great because they can be fitted to various sizes of machines and fitting the device is full proof.

The gloves have already been sent out to many huge transport goods companies, with incredible feedback results which have shown a decrease in the number of disposed pallets due to damage from impact. It claims to reduce damage to product by careless forklift truck driving by 98 per cent.

While pallets aren’t an exorbitant cost to most businesses, devices such as this will undoubtedly become an industry standard for companies who value reducing their footprint on the environment, with less hardwood required in production reducing deforestation while also reducing the amount of the material ending up in landfill.

 


Housebuilding Boosts Construction Activity

Construction activity in the UK hit a 17-month high in May, boosted largely by increased activity in the residential construction sector.

The latest IHS Markit/CIPS UK Construction Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) revealed that housebuilding has now become the best performing category in the construction sector, surpassing civil engineering.

In May, the PMI hit 56.0, a considerable jump from the 53.1 recorded in April this year, with IHS Markit and the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply (CIPS) noting that this is the strongest growth in business activity in just under 18 months.

However, they cautioned that while this latest reading is positive, it is still well below the peak experienced in January 2014, when the index stood at 64.6.

Those working in the residential building industry noted that they have “a strong pipeline of new development projects”, as well as pointing to the robust demand for new homes in the UK as another factor supporting their sector.

While this is all positive, some construction managers noted that client spending remains subdued as a result of the economic uncertainty in the UK.

As well as growth in business, those surveyed also reported rising employment levels in the industry for the second consecutive month, with the rate of job creation in the construction industry now the strongest it’s been since January.

Duncan Brock, director of customer relationships at CIPS, said that the improvement in residential housing construction indicates that developers feel that they are in a position to respond to the demand for new housing in the UK.

“The sector had been held back by the rising cost of raw materials but after months of tense negotiations with suppliers, input prices are starting to stabilise,” he explained.

With the building sector rebounding, there may be greater demand for reach trucks, forklifts and other equipment to help move materials around on sites.

Tim Moore, senior economist at IHS Markit and author of the latest Construction PMI, noted that although residential building has outperformed civil engineering in the past month, that doesn’t mean the latter sector is struggling.

He stated that civil engineering “continued to flourish”, highlighting the strong pipeline of infrastructure projects as the main reason why this area of construction is performing well.

Mr Moore was also positive about the near-term future of the construction industry in the UK, commenting: “The forward-looking elements of this survey are reassuring for the construction sector, notably the acceleration in new business growth to its strongest so far this year.”

In February this year, the government introduced a series of targets for the country’s housing market in an attempt to fix what it describes as a “broken housing market”.

Among the plans were shortening the amount of time developers would have to begin construction work on an approved site from three years to two, helping local planning authorities ensure the right homes are being built in the right places, and supporting independent house builders to construct more new homes.

The government has set aside £3 billion in a home building fund, designed to help smaller builders deliver a greater number of new residences, with a target of 25,000 new homes to be constructed by the end of this parliament. 


Temporary Visas For EU Migrants To Plug The Skills Gap?

The construction industry is facing a severe skills shortage at the moment. This is certainly not news. And thanks to Brexit and the prospect of leaving the EU behind (and potentially forgoing the help of migrant workers), it looks like this might get worse before it gets better.

However, a new report from independent thinktank Migration Watch UK (EU Immigration, Post-Brexit – A Comprehensive Policy) has suggested that bringing in temporary visas for migrants from the EU to work in jobs like plumbing, bricklaying and construction for up to three years after Brexit could well be the answer we’re looking for.

The organisation did note that the answer, long term, is of course to train British employees more effectively, but this is not likely to happen unless it’s in the financial interests of companies to do so. And in the meantime, continued access to skills for a period of time will be required and there is also a need for a roll-out period for the migration arrangements we’re left with while Brexit negotiations take place – and after we’ve left the EU as well.

“We have recommended that EU workers be included in the current arrangements for entry to highly-skilled jobs but without a cap. We have also suggested Barista Visas for young Europeans. We now propose these Brickie Visas which would meet a genuine need for a few years but with strong financial incentives for employers to train British workers. Training outside the workplace has fallen off a cliff since 2000. Employers must now step up to the mark,” vice-chairman of Migration Watch UK Alp Mehmet said.

The EU skills shortage visa wouldn’t be valid for more than three years, with a levy payable by businesses that would increase every year. There would be no in-work benefits, housing benefits or tax credits and this wouldn’t be a route to settlement.

Speaking to People Management, however, director of external affairs at the Federation of Master Builders Sarah McMonagle noted that smaller building companies – which make up most of the firms in the building sector – would find it hard to navigate their way through an expensive process for sponsoring migrant labour.

She explained that small to medium-sized enterprises in construction would find it concerning if talent from outside the UK was closed off, since the sector relies heavily on non-UK labour. “While there is undoubtedly a need to increase the number of people signing up for construction apprenticeships, the transition to a workforce where there are sufficient numbers of trained UK workers to meet demand won’t happen overnight, and government policy must reflect this,” she went on to add.

And Paul Payne of rail recruiter One Way noted that while this brickie visa is a good idea in theory, it could simply be a short-term solution to a very long-term issue that has been caused as a result of a lack of talent within both the construction and the engineering sectors.

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Government Needs To Focus On Construction Skills

Whatever party gets into power following the general election in June, the government needs to focus on developing skills within the construction sector and ensuring that any changes to immigration policy do not adversely affect the industry.

This is the opinion of the

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