Upon closure of the Operator of the Year 2011 Grand Final, RTITB promised to bring the competition back to the industry in 2013, making it bigger and better than ever. RTITB have been true to their word and in doing so, have collaborated with the IMHX, who will play host to the preliminary heats of the competition at the NEC, Birmingham from 19th-22nd March 2013.
The inclusion of the competition at the IMHX promises to make it a focal point of the exhibition, following the IMHX’s continued growth over the past few years. Over the course of four days, operators from across the UK and Ireland will participate in four heats, with the best operators being announced at the end of each day. The top competitors will then move forward in the competition to the Grand Final, where they will have the chance to win a brand new car. The Grand Final will be held at RTITB’s headquarters in Telford, Shropshire, in September 2013.
To ensure that all participants have received correct and thorough operator training in line with Approved Code of Practice L117, all entrants must be registered on RTITB’s NORS database. Operators will be required to complete the first stage of the competition, which is in the form of online testing, which will be open from 10th December 2012 until 18th January 2013. The best 12 operators from each region will then move onto the heats at the IMHX.
Of the competition RTITB’s Operations Director, Laura Nelson, said: "Each year we have aimed to make the competition bigger and better than ever, which I believe we more than achieved in 2011. This year we really want to put the competition on the map and make it one of the most prestigious competitions in the UK’s warehousing industry and we believe that by moving the second stage of the completion (the heats) to the IMHX we will be more than able to achieve this. Whilst the Operator of the Year competition acts as a strong message for the importance of safe and correct operation, we hope that it will also reiterate the invaluable benefits to employers of accredited training – for both operators and their business."
Returning to the competition for 2013 is last year’s sponsors Toyota Material Handling UK, TNT Express Services UK & Ireland and Calor Gas Ltd.
On Toyota’s continued partnership with RTITB, Tony Wallis, Sales and Marketing Director, Toyota Material Handling UK, says:
"Driver operation is still one of the main causes of accidents and damage to goods and as which is a continuous cost to businesses. During 2012 our year of safety, Taking Care with Toyota, we are committed to promoting best practices that aim to decrease accidents in the workplace and have been working throughout the year to raise awareness to methods of safer working practices. The operator of the year competition is a fabulous opportunity for us to join forces with RTITB to celebrate safe working and recognise excellence within our industry, amongst those that regularly take a backseat but without which, many business operations could not be completed".
Simon Harper, Director of Operations at TNT Express UK, said: "TNT is delighted to be supporting the Operator of the Year again in 2013. The competition, as always, is tough and really brings out the best in the competitors.
"TNT was proud to see one of our own operators Gary Maher, from Durham, win last year. Lift truck drivers are an integral and vital part of our operation and our association with the RTITB ensures the highest of standards in professionalism, health and safety."
Keith Higginson, Commercial Marketing Manager at Calor Gas Ltd, also stressed the importance of Calor’s affiliation with the competition:
"Health and safety training is a high priority within Calor and is something we take very seriously. The counterbalance forklift truck market is a key commercial market for LPG sales, so it makes great sense for Calor to sponsor safety training within the logistics market, especially in league with RTITB."
Further details will be released in due course regarding entry for the competition. For more information on RTITB and its services, visit www.rtitb.co.uk.