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Some of the most frequently misunderstood terms in plant hire are those differentiating hire types, and how those may affect your business’s bottom line and hiring practices.
The two hire types are:
- Wet hire – Wet hire refers to hiring both the piece of equipment and the necessary personnel to run it.
- Dry hire – Dry hire refers to simply hiring the piece itself and supplying your own operator.
There are obvious pros and cons to both. The ability to roll all requiescant fees for a piece of equipment – including the worker hours necessary to operate it – is a very agreeable solution for many companies looking for simplicity.
Alternatively, dry hiring can save a substantial amount of time and cost if you have an employee on staff who already has the necessary qualifications and expertise to handle the plant equipment. For example, if you have an outside operator come onto your construction site you have to induct them into the workplace safety practices you have implemented, ensure they are up to speed on the work required etc. This takes time – which is a cost both in terms of the hire equipment but also to your team as you will lose a worker for the time they are inducting the operator.
Certification and the law
No matter which route you take, you’ll eventually have to consider your state’s legislation and if the operator (either outsourced or internal) is qualified to operate the plant equipment. For example, under NSW law there are certain certifications that workers require for machinery operation. On top of that, they must have practical experience operating and perform so under supervision from an RTO – it’s not considered enough to have theoretical experience and abstract knowledge of the plant.
These considerations are the backbone of choosing between wet and dry hire. Knowing which is more suitable for your company requires careful consideration of these; each situation is different, and unfortunately there’s no ‘best’ solution to quickly turn to.
Licenses for dry hire in NSW
The rules governing non hand-operated and machine plant are found under Chapter 5 of the Work Health and Safety Regulation (2011).
When you hire plant, you’re required by law to be given a notification of the condition and any faults inherent within or as a consequence of use under subsection 199. This is especially important when discussing Dry Hire, as unless circumstance happens to dictate it, there’s no way for a worker to come to grips with the plant before operation.
When dealing with dry hire, you should always know your rights and responsibilities under law – this applies to both businesses and managers (who are responsible for managing health and safety associated with the plant under subdivision 203), but also workers who are required to possess necessary certification and conduct themselves in accordance with OH&S.
Fork and bucket equipment
While a high-risk work license is not required with any telehandling equipment fitted with a fork or bucket, the conductor of business “has a duty of care to ensure workers have appropriate training in operating the telehandler”.
Otherwise, there are two main licenses required to operate forklifts within NSW:
- A forklift truck equipped with a mast and an elevating load carriage with a pair of fork arms or other attachment (class LF)
- An order picking forklift truck where the operator’s control elevates with the load carriage/lifting media (class LO)
The differentiation here comes from the method of control. LO order picks require harnesses and are generally more complex to operate compared to LF forklifts, which are controlled with a regular cockpit and steering wheel. Neither class classifies you to work with the other, but most employees begin their training with a class LF license as it covers the largest total number of case scenarios and model numbers (as well as most pedestrian uses).
There are 9 subsets of crane types categorised under NSW law, these are:
- Bridge and gantry cranes
- Derrick cranes
- Non-slewing mobile cranes greater than three tonnes capacity
- Portal boom cranes
- Self-erecting tower cranes
- Slewing mobile cranes
- Tower cranes
- Vehicle loading cranes
- Concrete placing booms
All of these require a high-risk work licence to use, with no exceptions. A brief description of each type can be found here, and a more detailed outline within the legislation itself. Each of these require a separate license, which is why wet hire for cranes is so common – people looking to dry hire for cranes must be very sure that they’re hiring personnel with the correct form of certification.
According to regulation changes, excavators no longer require specific licensing or certification for operators to have when performing excavation works. The plant equipment this relates to includes:
- Front-end loader backhoe (LB)
- Bridge and gantry (remote control) crane (LBG)
- Excavators (LE)
- Front-end loaders (LL)
- Scrapers (LP)
- Road-rollers (LR)
- Graders (LG)
- Skid steer loaders (LS)
- Dozers (LZ)
However, this does not mean that just anyone can climb onto an excavator and begin using it – it is the responsibility of the site owner/manager to ensure that all workers using such equipment are competent and capable of using the equipment.
This competency can be proven through documentation of prior certification, any logbooks or similar records detailing their experience with similar equipment, or relevant work reviews/assessments where their competency is detailed.
Is wet or dry hire right for you?
The choice of wet hire or dry hire will be dependent on your individual circumstances, particularly:
- What type of equipment (ie forklift, excavator, crane etc.), and
- The competency/certification of your workers.
Regardless of which you choose, always ensure that you approach several businesses for quote information, and ensure they are able to supply your business with exactly what you require.
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We can not stress this enough when it comes to your forklift or materials handling equipment. The importance of regular Preventative Maintenance services carried out on your Materials Handling equipment cannot be overlooked.
Quite often equipment such as forklifts work in harsh environments, they rely on various lubricants to keep them in good working order. With regular servicing your oils and lubricants are changed and/or checked regularly, safety components are also checked and full report given. Regular servicing of your Materials Handling Equipment also ensures less downtime between services.
There are so many things that can be looked at when regular servicing is being done. Things like excessive tyre wear significantly increases the risk of damaging components like steering & mast rollers.
Tyres should be checked during every service & breakdown visit by our Field Service Technicians. A decent equipment dealer will have a computerized service system, that will both log any service work done, and as well as programming your equipment for service intervals as agreed.
With business these days, operating more and more hours, its important to look for a Forklift dealer that can provide you the flexibility to service when it best suits your business.
That way its less disruptive to your business schedule. Most mechanical based business such as a forklift dealer, will have fully equipment service vans on the road, capable of handling any type of repair to your Materials Handling Equipment, whether it be a simple service to a full strip down and rebuild.
With Fully Trained Technicians and strict quality control systems in place your satisfaction should be guaranteed as well as ensuring that the most current WH&S requirements are covered.
A yearly Major Service and Respray can help keep your equipment running efficiently and looking new.
A lot of dealers also have their own tiltrays on the road, so they can actually pick your forklift up and take it back to their workshop for major repairs, don;t forget you can also ask for a support forklift for the interim period that they are working on yours.
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Flameproofing forklifts, is actually a very common requirement in the necessary environment. Flameproofing of material handling equipment is the science of reducing the risk of an explosion or fire by means of specialized principles and technologies.
The risk occurs wherever a flammable or combustible material is handled. This is not only confined to the mining but also petrochemical, oil platforms, paint, grain handling and food industry to name a few.
It is essential that all equipment used in these areas comply with the appropriate government rules and relevant standards. If you are looking for information or and guidance on area classification, it can be obtained from the Australian Institute of Dangerous Goods Consultants (AIDGC).
When inquiring about or ordering a flameproof forklift from a dealer it is important to specify the area classification, and the type of hazard and its temperature class.
The general phases of the flameproofing conversion are analysis and design, manufacture, installation, duty cycle testing and specialized after sales service. Certification testing, when required, is conducted by one of Australia’s three internationally accredited testing facilities.
Forklift trucks, tow tractors, sweepers, scissor lifts and boom lifts ranging from 1 ton to 32 ton have all been flameproofed. Both diesel and battery electric powered materials handling equipment can be flameproofed.
Something to remember when you are looking for Flameproofing, LPG and Petrol vehicles are not permitted in any hazardous areas.
Flameproofed Materials handling equipment are designed and manufactured in such a way as to remove or reduce the risk of the equipment becoming the source of ignition.
Sources of ignition include flames and sparks from exhaust systems, arc and sparks from electrical equipment, hot surfaces and static build up.
Modifications are required to the basic equipment to ensure it complies with the relevant requirements for the specified hazardous zone that it will be operating in.
If you are still unsure if the area has been correctly classified in accordance with AS2430 series, you can ask a third party to perform an audit on your hazardous area mobile equipment is not only a good idea but a must to ensure correct and safe operation.
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As we’ve developed out site and the more that we talk about Materials handling, we’ve come to realize there is a lot of planning in keeping your work place safe, and when you consider around 55% of businesses that suffer a serious fire never recover.
Workplace fires are a serious issue which is covered by local government, state and national regulations including the Building Code of Australia, Australian Standards and OH&S. An efficient fire safety provider should ensure you are kept informed of any changes in the fire industry and help your business to comply with all relevant local, state and national laws.
It is imperative that your business is prepared against fire to reduce risks. Comprehensive risk assessments and a Routine Maintenance Program can prove to be invaluable.
The early detection of a fire is of utmost importance to ensure all staff have sufficient time to respond and leave the premises safely. Some of the products to assist in fire detection include: smoke alarms; fire alarm panels; engineered detection systems which monitor for smoke, heat or flame; or even a video smoke detection system.
Rapid containment of any fire is essential to reduce the damage suffered. Once started, fires are difficult to contain without the correct fire equipment.
Regardless of whether the business operates in a warehouse, office building, laboratory or mine, there have been systems designed and developed to aid in the containment of fires.
Equipment which can be useful in fire extinguishing includes: fire extinguishers, fire blankets, fire hoses, fire hydrants and hose reels, sprinkler & deluge systems, foam systems, and various suppression systems.
It is essential that staff are trained in the correct use of fire equipment as well as emergency evacuation procedures. Exit lighting, warning & evacuation systems and fire safety training are all essential.
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When you start to look at forklifts there are so many different types shapes and sizes out there on the market. One class of forklift is more unique then most, the pedestrian operated forklifts range.
What makes then unique in Australia is the fact that you do not need a high-risk work license, which means it becomes easier for businesses to train their operators on how to use them, as well being a cheaper option for a business to consider.
Types of Pedestrian Operated Forklifts
There are a wide range of pedestrian operated forklift in this range including the walk behind pallet jack and walk behind stacker range.
Walk Behind Pallet Jack
Very much like a manual pallet jack, there are also battery electric operated pallet jacks. Ranging from a small 1500 kg Battery electric walk behind pallet jack through to a 3000-kg walk behind battery operated pallet jack, as well as ride on models.
As we construct bigger and bigger warehouses, ride on pallet jacks are becoming increasingly common with both end rider types and side standing types of pallet jacks, being used. As it allows the operator to ride with the pallet jack and load over greater distances very quickly.
Of course, there is also the Sit on Pallet Jack as well. Again, very useful for when pallets need to be moved greater distances in large warehouses.
Types of Walkie Stackers
There are many different types of walkie stackers, the best way to describe them is, if you think a battery electric pallet jack with a mast you wouldn’t be far wrong.
Walk Behind Straddle stacker
The most common type of walkie stacker with general capacities ranging from 1200 kgs through to 1600kg, and lift heights from 2500mm to 4500mm.
The mast will only travel straight up and down, they are designed so they have outrigger legs so they can straddle a pallet, as well act as a stabilizer.
There are also leg over walkie stackers where they are designed for special pallets that don’t have a bottom board configuration like the popular Australian Chep Pallet.
Walk behind Reach Stackers
The walkie reach stacker is growing in popularity with the ability for the carriage to reach out in front of the machine. So, it can pick up and move a pallet jack back toward the operator.
This type of function is very popular when needing to unload trucks or pick up a pallet that might be a little out of reach.
The walkie reach also has stability legs protruding from the front of the forklift,
Walkie behind counter balanced stacker
These types of walkie stackers are longer than normal as they don’t have stability legs out the front, they have more counterweight in the back of the unit to counterbalance the load.
The benefits of Pedestrian Operated Forklifts
No Forklift Ticket Required
Despite popular opinion there is currently no forklift license required to operate a walkie behind forklift at all.
All that is required is familiarization training given to the operator which is usually a short 15-minute run down on how to operate the walkie stacker.
This makes these type of pedestrian operated walk behind forklift very popular, in the back of loading docks where younger people are employed. Such as a supermarket that employ school children after school hours.
Lower maintenance cost
Due to the nature and design of these types of forklifts there is less maintenance required on a pedestrian operated walkie then a ride on 2.5T Internal combustion forklift.
They are designed with electric drive motors, and usually come with a large type industrial battery. As always, we recommend servicing as per the manufacturers recommendation.
Reduces manual handling
Especially the pedestrian battery electric pallet movers, if your business needs to move pallets around a warehouse. Instead of your employee moving 2 ton pallets with a manual pallet jack you can use a battery electric pallet mover to move them from A to B.
This reduces the need for the operator to physically move pallets around with a manual pallet jack, reducing the manual handling effort and the likely hood of back strain.
The Limitation of Pedestrian Operated Walkies
Limited lift heights
Due to the design limitations of walkies particularly the walkie stacker range. The Mast lift heights are limited to how high you can go.
Although in both a 2 stage and 3 stage configurations, they will generally lift no higher than 5000mm. If you are wanting to lift higher, then that you need to consider a ride on reach truck.
Designed with an operator tiller handle, when operating in a tight space this can sometimes take a knock that can damage the handler. Or if operating in a tight area, it can be difficult for the operator to maneuver around.
Which way should you go
In deciding which walkie, you should go for your business, it depends on what type of warehouse you have. Talk to your local forklift dealer about what is the best option for your business.
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