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Education key to improving health and safety say Invicta

Invicta is the largest UK manufacturer of mechanical fork attachments and has 85 years' engineering experience behind it. So its concern about the level of health and safety knowledge in British industry is not to be ignored. Director Peter Sharpe is keen to stress the importance of education whenever possible: “At Invicta we're proactive as far as health and safety education is concerned. Some might call it scare tactics – I call it awareness tactics. There are some worrying knowledge gaps out there and it's time they were addressed.”

While Sharpe acknowledges that the market has become more safety-conscious over the last decade, he says there's still much to be done and cites a recent visit to a major sportswear firm: “Employees were sent eight metres up in to the air – on a pallet! It didn't take much in the way of education to help them realise that the relatively small cost of a safety cage was almost irrelevant when weighed against the potential hefty fines from the HSE. The intrepid employees also seemed very happy with the idea of a safety cage!” His message is clear: fitting and using appropriate safety equipment doesn't only tick the right boxes from the HSE's perspective, it can also save you a huge amount of money in potential fines and bad publicity.

The fork-mounted Access Platform is a relatively simple product that can provide enormous safety benefits. Access platforms give a proven and safe area from which to carry out routine maintenance, inspection and stocktaking. Although access platforms should have multiple features to maximise operator safety, many companies do away with these in order to keep the price down. Invicta platforms all feature toe-boards, finger mesh and non-slip floors and are fully compliant with PM28/third edition.

Another simple attachment to help maximise safety and efficiency around the warehouse is The Basil – an innovatively-designed sweeper that can be quickly and easily fitted to a fork-lift truck. The attachment's nine replaceable bristle strips can be swapped around the steel housing to ensure even wear and maximise lifespan (around 400 miles each, that's an impressive working life of six to eight years). The Basil also has a left- and right-hand sweep option for clearing roads and pathways and there will soon be a magnet attachment available for the front. With two widths (1500 and 2400mm), The Basil is ideal for a wide range of applications, from builders' merchants and timber yards to garden centres and logistics companies.

Leeds-based Invicta has more than 25 product lines for the industrial and construction markets, although the versatility of its products makes them applicable to many other industries. From tipping skips and work platforms to lifting jibs and drum handling equipment, there is a product to cope with most requirements. More specialised items such as scissor grabs and fly jibs are also part of Invicta's normal range. Also, as a manufacturer itself, the company has the ability to design, fabricate and test bespoke fork-lift attachments to meet customers' specific requirements. “There are times when you go on-site and realise what they want to do is impossible in terms of truck limitations,” admits Peter Sharpe, “But most of the time it's just a case of working out what's required and making it happen with a safe and practical solution.” Whether the challenge is to handle a load, move it or unload it, Invicta is confident of its ability to provide the right attachment to carry out the task safely.

Invicta has recently completed an extension to its plant, adding three new fabrication bays to the 14 already operating around the clock. It has also added more warehouse space to house finished products. The company is increasingly winning business on its combined strengths of product quality, reliability of service and fast delivery and Peter Sharpe intends to keep it that way.

With more staff being recruited and a revamped website displaying full product information, Sharpe believes that Invicta's reputation is growing steadily and is a name worth remembering for quality fork-lift attachments. He says, “As a company, we're obviously doing all we can to inform and educate the market about our products and services. However, as part of that overall campaign, we shall continue to make sure that fork truck users are aware of how quality attachments can make a very real contribution to safe working practices.”


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