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Forklift heroes honoured at ‘Homebase Driver Challenge’

Homebase forklift operators from across the UK tested their driving skills in a special competition organised by the company’s material handling partner, Briggs Equipment.

The first ‘Homebase Driver Challenge’ event, held at Homebase Distribution in Northamptonshire, was constructed by Briggs as part of a unique training programme. It focused attention on health and safety and damage reduction in an entertaining way, drawing on the competitive spirit of the 38 drivers taking part.

Participants took part in two heats of timed trials complimenting everyday forklift application duties and the top drivers from these heats competed in five different trials during the final to win the ‘Driver of the Year’ title.

Participants were judged by Mentor FLT Training Ltd which looked for consistency of speed, accuracy and safety throughout all of the games.

Ben Wilson, Head of National Accounts at Briggs, commented: "We held the competition to encourage Homebase drivers to operate trucks using safe working practices at all times. The trials involved a theory test and driving exercises, however, the final trials were completely different. They brought in all of the skills of daily operations together by using equipment such as basketball hoops to simulate operating in a confined space, moving awkward or fragile loads, stacking and using precise hydraulic movement, all in a fun way."

The final (which took place on the 27th September 2011) crowned Mark Dowthwaite from Lincoln Homebase stores the overall winner, who completed the five final trials in a combined time of 22 minutes, just 30 seconds faster than the closest runner up.

Clive Hillman, Store Equipment Manager at Homebase’s parent company, Home Retail Group, commented: "A big thank you goes to Briggs who has really helped improve awareness of good driving as well as attitudes towards forklift trucks.

"The Homebase Driver Challenge has been just one element of a wider campaign to influence driver behaviour and reduce damage to trucks and racking in the stores."

Briggs Equipment, which has secured a new contract with the home improvement company, is dedicated to working closely with Homebase as part of its on-going partnership approach.

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