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Kenneth Saward wins National Lift Truck Operator of the Year Competition

Lift Truck 1st

On the 26th September, The first bi-annual RTITB and Sumo Glove competition took place in Telford, Shropshire. From the 80,000 operators who were invited to take part the top scoring eight competitors in the on-line hazard perception and theory test from each of five regions, competed in practical regional finals held over five days from the 30th June – 4th July in West Bromwich. From that, ten finalists emerged to find out who would be champion.

The National Final was a superb opportunity for the competitors to showcase their skills. With tests including the Sumo Circle and the OLinpac rings jigsaw, the finalists were challenged to the highest level.

Following the day's competition Kenneth Saward from Swansea was announced National Champion and was presented with a brand new Ford Fiesta car. Jane Willis, HSE's Director of Strategic Programmes awarded the prize at the gala dinner along with runners up prizes and recognition for all finalists. Second place went to Steven Hall from Coventry who picked up a luxury holiday, and third place went to Daniel Giles from Cambridgeshire, who was also awarded with a holiday.

The competition was designed to highlight the importance of properly trained operators to safety and damage reduction.

RTITB managing director Alex Nelson said: “Shropshire is the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution and is therefore probably the birthplace of the industrial injury. Forklift trucks are potentially lethal in the wrong hands. Something like 7000 injuries are reported each year and this is costing industry £8 million annually, which would pay for a lot of training. However, apart from the serious message we wanted to have some fun.”

All competitors and guests agreed the day was a huge success.

I am so impressed; I didn't know what I was expecting but today is terrific. It's all about skill and really effective training coming together into practice.

Jane Willis – Policy Director for the HSE

I'd love to have a go myself

Roger Rustom – Health and Safety Officer, Kodak

It's been fantastic, we've really enjoyed it. There's been so much enthusiasm from the drivers but also from everyone who's taken part.

Dean Beddard – National after market Sales Manager, Barloworld Handling

You lose a lot of your skills in your everyday job, but here you get to use them properly and refresh yourself.

Daniel Giles – Second runner up

From the reports I have heard, it appears the grand final was a great success and one in which we are proud to support. Not only is it a show of skill but also the excellent training required to help improve driver safety.

James Clarke – Secretary General, BITA

2010 will be when the next competition takes place and Kenneth is already looking forward to defending his title.

National Finalists

Welsh Champion – Kenneth Saward

Welsh Runner Up – Scott Viner

Irish Champion – Steven Harvey

Irish Runner Up – Gerard Murray

Scottish Champion – Eamon McNamee

Scottish Runner Up – Stuart McLean

Southern English Champion – Daniel Giles

Southern English Runner Up – Steven Hall

Northern English Champion – Brian Foster

Northern English Runner Up – Gary Maher

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