BITA’s David Goss appointed Chair of Influential EU Technical Committee

Following a recent plenary meeting in Brussels, BITA’s Technical Manager David Goss has been elected Chairman of the CEN/TC150 Industrial Trucks – Safety Technical Committee.

CEN/TC150 is responsible for European standards in the field of safety of self-propelled and manually operated industrial trucks and their components. Many of these standards are harmonised, and thus provide a legal interpretation of the requirements of relevant European Directives, such as the Machinery Directive, for specific products.

CEN is the European Committee for Standardization and brings together the National Standardization Bodies of 34 European countries. It is one of three European Standardization Organizations (together with CENELEC and ETSI) charged by the EU and EFTA to develop and define voluntary standards at European level. Each European Standard is recognized across the whole of Europe, and automatically becomes the national standard in 34 European countries, making it much easier for businesses to sell their goods or services to customers throughout the European Single Market.

BITA is also a member of all of the Sub-Committees and Working Groups doing a similar job with ISO/TC110, Industrial Trucks, at international level, where David has been head of the UK delegation since taking over from Bob Hine.

Post-Brexit, the importance of trade associations in developing and articulating a single UK voice will become even more pronounced, both at home and abroad, and David’s appointment is a strong indicator of how BITA is valued across the industry.

Max Sammartano joins BITA Board

BITA has appointed Linde’s UK MD Massimiliano (Max) Sammartano to its Board. It has also announced that two of its stalwart members – Victoria Hutson and Stan Harris – are to step down.

BITA is delighted to welcome to its Board Max Sammartano, managing director of Linde Material Handling UK. Max took on the position of general manager of the Northern Europe and South Africa region in July 2017, and his appointment to the BITA Board underlines the strong voice BITA has in the running of the UK material handling sector.

Max Sammartano commented: “I am looking forward to my new appointment on the BITA board. However, first and foremost I would like to thank Stan Harris for his contribution over the last four years. BITA plays such a critical role in shaping the UK truck industry and it is important to Linde to contribute to this.”

Welcoming Max to the Board, BITA President Simon Barkworth said: “We are thoroughly delighted that Max is joining our Board. He represents one of the world’s largest material handling equipment manufacturers, and his experience, knowledge and wisdom will be put to good use as we enter what could be a very challenging time for UK industry.

BITA has also accepted the resignation of two of its hardest-working Board members.

As chair of BITA’s technical committee, JCB’s Victoria Hutson led a team that sets technical standards all new forklifts distributed by BITA members must meet. Victoria moves to pastures new outside of this industry with BITA’s very best wishes and gratitude.

Linde Scotland’s Stan Harris is retiring from his position on the BITA Board as director of the F-Tec forklift engineer training centre. Together with his fellow Board members, Stan has overseen the fantastic success story that is F-Tec, and has made a significant contribution to the expansion of the programme. Again, BITA wishes Stan all the best in his retirement from the industry and thanks him for his incredible contributions.

Simon Barkworth added: “We wish a fond farewell to Victoria and Stan, whose tireless work on behalf of BITA has made – and will continue to make in the future – a very significant improvement to everyone involved with the manufacturer, distribution, servicing and operation of fork lift trucks.”

BITA bade farewell to Victoria and Stan at its recent Autumn Thought Leadership Conference and AGM event, where immediate past BITA president Tim Waples, who has invested considerable hard work and dedication into his two spells as president, was also honoured.

Delegates at the well-attended event heard the latest Brexit insight from leading commentator Tom Harris, and were also treated to a fascinating take on workplace diversity by Professor Adrian Furnham, Professor of Psychology at University College London.

BITA issues lithium-ion guidance

The British Industrial Truck Association (BITA) – the UK trade association for manufacturers and suppliers of fork lift truck and associated components and services – has published a Guidance Note for all users and potential users of lithium-ion traction batteries.

With a considerable upswing in the take-up of lithium-ion-powered industrial vehicles – including powered pallet trucks, tow tractors, scrubbing machines and lifting platforms, as well as forklift, and reach trucks – BITA has produced the publication to offer comprehensive guidance concerning the specification, transportation, storage, charging, handling, use, inspection, maintenance and disposal of this type of battery.

In an industry that has been a long-time user of battery-powered vehicles, albeit of the lead-acid variety, there are many significant differences in the properties of the two types of batteries. In some cases, their differing characteristics are so significant that users need to have clear information to ensure their safe and efficient operation. Many operational requirements are fundamentally changed for li-ion compared with lead acid, and, to provide clarity, this new guidance is separated from BITA’s long established, and well respected, Guidance Note GN 68 ‘Lead acid traction battery applications’.

BITA has led the way in publishing what it considers to be the most comprehensive independent advice currently available. Whilst much of the information will be of interest in all markets, it also contains information specifically applicable to the UK.

David Goss, BITA’s Technical Manager and the man responsible for leading the team that created the document, said: “UK take-up of lithium-ion technology was initially quite slow, but we are now seeing tremendous interest in the benefits that lithium-ion battery technology offers. These include ‘opportunity charging’, low maintenance and improved efficiency. However, there are some important dos and don’ts regarding the technology; BITA’s latest Guidance Note sets these out in plain English, providing invaluable, impartial advice for all users.”

BITA’s Guidance Note GN69 ‘Lithium-Ion Traction Battery Applications’ is free to BITA members, and available at a nominal fee to all from BITA’s website


Shaun Prendergast

BITA members will be deeply saddened to hear that Consolidated Fork Truck Services Ltd. (CFTS) has announced the untimely death of its most valued Technical Manager Shaun Prendergast.

Shaun joined CFTS in July 2012 and with Matthew Kennedy has driven CFTS to steadily increased coverage and understanding of Thorough Examinations throughout the UK and Ireland.

Simon Barkworth, President of BITA, comments: “I reflect the words used by CFTS that Shaun was a valuable member of the CFTS team, and was extremely popular with customers and colleagues alike. He carried out his responsibilities with great dignity and humour. The thoughts and prayers of Shaun’s many friends and colleagues at BITA are with his family at this time.”


HSE clarifies LOLER position on hand pallet trucks

hand pallet truckThere has been considerable confusion in the marketplace as to whether low-lift equipment such as a hand pallet truck – which only raises the load sufficiently clear of the floor to enable horizontal movement – is subject to LOLER examination. BITA guidance has always been that this equipment is not carrying out a lifting operation, and is not, therefore, subject to LOLER.

The HSE confirms this view and has recently updated its Approved Code of Practice to clarify that LOLER applies to “high-lift pallet trucks, both manual and powered, that have the ability to raise the forks above 300mm”. The approved code of practice can be downloaded free of charge from

We have updated BITA Guidance Note GN28, Thorough Examination And Safety Inspections Of Industrial Lift Trucks, to align with the latest guidance. A complimentary copy has been emailed to all BITA members.

Trading with the EU if there’s no Brexit deal

brexitThe UK Government has published a series of technical notices on preparation for a ‘no deal’ Brexit.

One of the notices deals specifically with trading with the EU and provides some information intended to enable businesses to consider how they would be affected by a ‘no deal’ scenario. This would occur if there were to be no withdrawal agreement and no transition (implementation) phase. The underlying message is that whilst ‘no deal’ is unlikely, businesses should undertake contingency planning.Information is provided on importing and exporting, including customs controls and VAT.

This scenario assumes there to be no mutual recognition of equivalence of product standards or testing, e.g. by notified bodies. Contingency planning should consider that the UK would be treated as a ‘third country’. This may impact product conformity and documentation requirements.


As part of BITA’s celebration of the 75th anniversary of its formation, all BITA Members are invited to the new-look 2018 BITA AGM event. Taking place at the JCB World HQ in Staffordshire on Friday 19th October, the complimentary event will be content-rich and feature a keynote from leading Brexit commentator Tom Harris.

jcb 1Kicking off with opening remarks from our hosts at JCB, the day will see former MP  Tom Harris leading the conversation as he updates Members with his unique inside line on the imminent break from the EU.

He will be followed by the well-respected psychologist, Prof Adrian Furnham, whose views on workplace diversity are both compelling and entertaining.

In addition to the speakers, Members will also get the chance to welcome recent graduates from F-TEC into the industry as they receive their certification in an on-stage ceremony, take a tour of the ‘Story of JCB’ exhibition, learn about the latest developments from IMHX 2019, and – of course – be treated to lunch and excellent networking opportunities.

Look out for your personal invitation coming soon – in the meantime, if you wish to learn more, please contact in the first instance Peter MacLeod on 07738 011456 or

Lead metal named as REACH SVHC

Lead metal, along with nine other substances, was included in the REACH Candidate List as a substance of very high concern (SVHC) at the end of June 2018. See for details of the substances.

batteryInclusion on the Candidate List triggers immediate communication obligations in the supply chain. Suppliers of articles containing >0.1% by weight of metal lead must inform their customers down the supply chain and, upon demand, the general public. This applies when the article is supplied for the first time after the substance is formally included in the Candidate List. Further details on the obligations can be found at

Further regulatory actions might be taken to address lead metal over the coming years, including possible inclusion in the Authorisation List (Annex XIV REACH). Lead may be identified as a priority substance for authorisation due to its hazardous properties and high volume uses as well as consumer and worker exposure.

If identified as a priority substance, a specific public consultation is likely in 2019 or 2020. Afterwards, the decision whether to include lead metal in Annex XIV will be taken by the European Commission and Member States. As a worst-case scenario, lead might be included in the authorisation list in 2021 with a sunset date in 2024 at the earliest.

However, further risk management options were discussed at the ECHA Member States Committee in June 2018. Industry representatives called for strengthening of the existing legislation as an alternative to authorisation. This position was shared by several Member States. Eurometaux is launching an advocacy campaign to ensure that there is a proportionate method for risk control, given the widespread uses of the substance and lack of substitutes available. It has launched a new task force to support and coordinate advocacy by the wider downstream and end use sectors reliant on lead.

BITA Member discount for Talent in Logistics

conffacebookTaking place in Telford on 21st June 2018, Talent in Logistics is a conference, exhibition and awards dinner dedicated to the training, development, recognition and retention of the 2.2m+ people working in transport, warehousing and logistics in the UK and Ireland.

Click here to see the conference programme.

To recognise the close alliance between the joint aims of BITA and Talent in Logistics – to make operating in and around workplace transport inherently safer – Talent in Logistics would like to extend an offer to BITA Members of discounted tickets so that they can be part of the event and contribute to the conversation/debate, particularly around attracting future talent.

Conference Only – STANDARD PRICE £105+VAT
Conference Only – BITA MEMBER PRICE £94+VAT (10% discount) 
Conference & Awards – STANDARD PRICE £295+VAT
Conference & Awards – BITA MEMBER PRICE £265+VAT (10% discount)

To trigger your 10% BITA discount, order your tickets using the link below and enter “BITA Member” in the text box when asked for additional information.


Many Members will be delighted to hear that the popular BITA Golf Day has been reinstated. Running this year in conjunction with the FLTA Golf Day, the event takes place on 16th May at Newbury & Crookham Golf Club in Berkshire.

Established in 1873, Newbury & Crookham is one of the oldest clubs in England, and its par 69 course, measuring just under 6,000 yards, is set amongst beautiful mature woodland. The course provides an interesting and rewarding challenge for golfers of all standards, and is described as “a hidden gem” by Today’s Golfer.

The day’s activities start at noon with lunch, followed by 18 holes, then supper and prizegiving. Members taking part in the 2018 BITA Golf Day will enjoy a really great day of golf and experience some exceptional cross-industry networking.

If you’d like to take part, please contact James Clark on 01344 623800 or Final details are currently being formulated, and James will be in touch shortly – but please act quickly, as places will be limited.

BITA and RTITB collaborate to raise forklift training standards

BITA RTITB handshakeThe British Industrial Truck Association (BITA) and RTITB, the preferred regulatory body for workplace transport training, have announced a collaboration aimed at raising the standards of fork lift truck training in the UK.

By formalising their existing close working relationship, the two organisations hope to achieve a number of common goals, namely:

  • Raising awareness of the logistics sector amongst a younger audience and promoting it as an attractive career path;
  • Harnessing current and emerging technology to ensure accessibility to training for the modern, technology-driven audience;
  • Promoting and supporting high standards of training and safety to minimise risk and accidents involving workplace transport.

James Clark, Secretary General of BITA, the trade body that represents fork lift truck manufacturers and suppliers, says: “Since its formation over 75 years ago, BITA has existed to ensure trucks produced and sold by our members are inherently safe to operate. By extension, we have also worked with our members to improve safe standards of operation; training is, of course, a very large part of that initiative.

“We have considered RTITB as a valuable partner in helping us to achieve higher standards of training for many years, and this new initiative formalises our existing arrangement into something more rigorous and tangible.

“BITA aims to support the industry in creating a younger, highly-trained workforce capable of competing at a global level, and we view RTITB as the ideal partner to help us achieve this. It is a highly respected training organisation, and our closer collaboration will allow our members – who produce over 90% of the fork lift trucks sold in this country – greater access to the highest standards of training. We look forward to working with RTITB and to forming a long-lasting relationship with the mutual aim of driving down industrial accidents and the dreadful, often tragic consequences they bring.”

RTITB’s vision is to create a global family of committed partners using workplace transport training standards which place efficiency, people and maximum safety at their heart. Amongst its many objectives, RTITB wishes to revolutionise material handling equipment training, and views BITA as a key partner in its quest to achieve this.

“At RTITB, our sole mission is to reduce costs and save lives in workplace equipment operations. To achieve such a big goal, we work with committed partners who share our vision for a safer, more efficient world. BITA are a perfect partner and we will be working with James and his team to continually promote and support high standards of forklift truck training in order to dramatically reduce incidents and their severity in the ubiquitous world of fork lift use”, says Laura Nelson, Managing Director of RTITB.

By leveraging current and emerging technology, such as simulators, virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR), RTITB aims to ensure accessibility to training for digital natives – including Millennials and Generation Z – whilst at the same time helping to reduce the overall cost and impact of training for today’s busy employers. Through the use of these technologies, it is RTITB’s belief that training engagement among this young target audience will improve and result in vastly improved learning outcomes.

With this agreement in place between two industry-leading bodies, further announcements will be made in the near future about the form the training will take and the way in which BITA members – and the wider industry – can benefit from it.

Public consultation on Outdoor Noise Directive

hearing protectionA public consultation on an evaluation and possible revision of the Outdoor Noise Directive, 2000/14/EC, is running until 18th April 2018.

BITA is supporting a full revision of the OND. We believe that the burden to industry can be reduced whilst improving effectiveness. Along with our European partners at FEM, we are calling for withdrawal of the current database and reporting obligation, which should be replaced by indication of the noise level in sales literature, and the enablement of self-certification for all equipment types (both for noise limits and noise marking).

We strongly believe that the current equipment classifications requiring noise marking only, Article 13, and specifying noise limits, Article 12, should not be extended. The inclusion of additional equipment in either Article, or moving equipment from Article 13 to Article 12, would incur substantial costs for which no significant benefit has been established.

BITA recognises that a major benefit of the OND is commonality of noise limits, measurement methods and reporting requirements across the EU. However, market surveillance is generally ineffective and there currently exists a confusion of requirements across different Directives.

The European Commission particularly seeks contributions from industry and is assessing the costs of various options. The survey can be found here. If you require any assistance completing the survey or would like a copy of the detailed BITA response, then please contact

Outdoor Noise Directive – survey
Outdoor Noise Directive – information

SHD Logistics Conference – BITA discount

BITA has negotiated a 10% discount for members wishing to attend the SHD Logistics Spring Conference on April 17th.SHD Logistics Conference logo

Under the banner of ‘What does the future look like?’, speakers include:

  • Alex Harvey, Head of Robotics and Autonomous Systems, Ocado – ‘AI and robotics solutions to transform warehousing operational performance and competitiveness’;
  • Beverley Bell, Think Logistics and former Transport Commissioner – ‘Bringing in the next generation – creating a brighter future skills programme’;
  • Naila Dad, Head of Operations, Pharmacy2U – ‘A UK first: The transformation of pharmacy medicine supply in the UK’;
  • Marcos Hart, Business Optimisation and Transformation Director, Wincanton – ‘Tomorrow’s Logistics: harnessing the power of cross-sector innovation’;

BITA will also have a presence at the event, where it will be talking with delegates to explain the work it does for it Members and the wider industry.

To trigger your 10% BITA Member discount, please click here.

BITA Members raise “incredible amount” for Transaid

BITA Members who attended the 75th Anniversary Dinner at Thinktank, caroline transaid reboot 2018Birmingham on January 18th raised £2,690 for our charity partner Transaid.

With prizes generously offered by Toyota Materials Handling (UK) Ltd, Michelin Tyres, Collect+ and Backhouse Jones Solicitors, guests were invited to make a donation to Transaid to win a chosen prize in a ‘Canadian’ raffle, whereby they could select the particular prize they were gunning for.

Caroline Barber, Chief Executive of Transaid, made a short presentation during the evening, and afterwards praised the guests for their outstanding generosity: “These crucial funds will help Transaid to transform lives in Africa.  It will help us to train commercial drivers and FLT operators to reduce death and injury on the roads and in the workplace.” She described the figure raised by such a relatively small group as “an incredible amount”.

The total of £2,690 was reached later that evening in the hotel bar – whilst members mingled with the cast of Strictly Come Dancing who were staying in the same hotel, a ‘selfie’ craze led to some very substantial personal donations to the Transaid fund!

BITA is a proud supporter of Transaid, and encourages its members to engage with the charity. Transaid transforms lives through safe, available, and sustainable transport. As an international development organisation that shares expertise with partners, Transaid empowers communities to build the skills they need to transform their own lives. It has strong and wide-reaching links with the UK logistics industry, and several BITA Members are corporate supporters. If you would like to find out more about Transaid, its programmes, its fundraising challenges or its corporate membership scheme, please contact Florence Bearman, Head of Fundraising, at

Simon Barkworth Appointed BITA President

Simon Barkworth, Managing Director of Crown Lift Trucks Ltd, has been appointed as the new President of the British Industrial Truck Association (BITA), the UK’s leading authority on fork lift truck standards and operational safety.

As BITA celebrates its 75th anniversary, Simon has moved up into his new role from the position of Vice-President, succeeding outgoing President Tim Waples who is stepping down after his second period in office.

Simon, 44, became Managing Director of Crown Lift Trucks in 2015 and has overseen an unprecedented period of growth for the company, having followed his father into the lift truck business beginning in a dealership before moving on to Crown in 2000.

Commenting on his appointment, Simon said: “I think now is perhaps the most exciting time ever in the business, with so many changes and challenges ahead – developing customer expectations, the continuing growth of online shopping across all areas, the future availability of labour and, not least, the phenomenal growth in technology. I followed my father into the forklift business – it kind of gets into your blood – and it was a very different business then.

“BITA represents the interests of members whose businesses lie at the centre of these changes; by taking a leading role in the response to them and developing more competitive collaboration across the industry, the valuable support we offer our members will help them rise to meet the challenges to come.

“I would like to thank outgoing President Tim Waples for his hard work and commitment to BITA, and look forward to building on the work he has done.”

James Clark, Secretary-General of BITA, said: “I would like to welcome Simon into his new role as President. As BITA approaches its 75th anniversary in 2018, we continue to remain relevant to our memberships’ interests, providing a trusted repository of knowledge for our members to draw on and enabling them to convert uncertainty into opportunity.

“With Simon at our helm, we enter this exciting period for our industry with renewed vigour and determination to ensure BITA members are equipped with the resources, knowledge and support they expect from their trade association.”

Media Contact:
Peter MacLeod, Adfield Harvey Ltd
+44 (0)7738 011456

Simon Barkworth-1
click image for hi-res version

Forklift truck sales up 8.2% year-on-year – with retail distribution sector demand up by 40%


BITA’s latest forklift truck Market Index shows how key industries drive growth

BITA’s forklift truck Market Index shows that sales of trucks rose by 8.2% year-on-year, reaching 33,407 by the end of the third quarter of 2017, continuing the improvement on 2016 levels.

This is the third successive quarter of growth, painting a picture of a sector that can withstand short-term economic fluctuations. Sales into manufacturing sectors were again high, with a 5.9% improvement on the previous year’s figure, reflecting the growth in UK manufacturing output this quarter.

BITA Secretary-General James Clark commented: “Despite the uncertain economic environment, forklift sales have continued their recovery from the downturn seen during H2 of 2016, particularly in the retail distribution and manufacturing sectors.”

However, the positive picture for construction sales at the beginning of the year, which had shown a 26% increase in annualised sales compared with 2016, has subsided – with the latest figures pointing to a 3.4% reduction on the previous year’s deliveries. This mirrors the contraction in the construction sector over the last two consecutive quarters.

Retail distribution remains a major growth area, and the dip registered in  2016 has since been replaced by a strong recovery, sales up 40% on last year. However manufacturing remains the largest single sector user of industrial trucks, making up over a third (32%) of sales.

Commenting on the role of forklifts within the UK economy James Clark said: “Despite the continuing uncertainties around the economy and growth forecasts over the next three years, forklifts continue to be in demand, fulfilling their role as enablers of business expansion and supporters of the UK economy.”

Find the release in PDF form here and infographic here.

Former BITA Technical Manager receives US award


Bob Hine’s contribution recognised by the Industrial Truck Association

Bob Hine, who recently retired after 10 years as BITA’s Technical Manager has been presented with a Special Industry Award from BITA’s sister organisation in the United States, the Industrial Truck Association (ITA).

The award was presented by Brett Wood, President and CEO of Toyota Materials Handling North America, and outgoing Chairman of the board of the ITA, at their recent annual meeting held in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, USA.

The award pays tribute to Bob’s work in the development of international forklift safety standards, with the citation reading:

‘In grateful recognition of his many contrbutions to the worldwide industrial truck industry during his career. His leadership and diplomacy in the development of international forklift safety standards are recognised by his peers and assocates as major accomplishments in a global industry.’

David Goss, Bob’s successor as BITA’s Technical Manager, will be continuing and extending his work in co-operation with the ITA’s Chris Merther, and presented a liaison report on European standardisation and legislative activities at the annual meeting.

James Clark, Secretary-General of BITA, said: “Bob is widely respected and gave many years of valued service to BITA and our members. I know that David will continue to work closely with Chris Merther of the ITA in pursuit of our mutual interests, building on and extending our relationship with them in the years to come.”

BITA Market Index – Strong forklift truck sales growth bucks uncertain economic trend


BITA’s forklift truck Market Index shows that sales for trucks rose by 6% in the first half of 2017, recovering from a dip in 2016.

So far, 2017 has seen two quarters of growth with annualised sales in June of 32,189 units. BITA Secretary-General James Clark commented: “Despite the uncertain economic environment, forklift sales seem to have begun their recover from the downturn seen during H2 of 2016, particularly in the retail distribution sector.”

Downward trends in consumer spending have contributed to the continued fall in sales for forklifts for wholesale distribution (down 9.7%), but sales into the retail distribution sector have seen a large spike in demand (up 35.7% over the last 12 months) exceeding the year-on-year growth in online shopping.

Manufacturing remains the largest single sector user of industrial trucks and has seen a slight increase in market share with industry now making up over a third (34.9%) of sales. The increased output of UK manufacturing towards the end of 2016 helped the improving picture after a downturn in Q3.

Commenting on the role of forklifts within the UK economy James Clark said: “The economic mood has seemed increasingly uncertain with a number of factors casting doubt over UK growth. Despite this, forklifts continue to be in demand, fulfilling their role as enablers of business growth and supporters of the UK economy.”

Find the release in PDF form here and infographic here.

BITA members’ mood rises as optimism around economic prospects and orders improves


Latest Oxford Economics forecast reveals increased confidence as fears ease around Brexit – survey undertaken before General Election date announced

The latest Forklift Truck Market Outlook for 2017, produced by Oxford Economics on behalf of BITA, reveals that member confidence has improved since the last survey in Autumn 2016 – with 85% of respondents feeling general prospects for the coming 12 months remain unchanged.

None of respondents in this latest survey said they felt ‘less optimistic’ for the next 12 months, compared to half of respondents who said this in the Autumn survey – and 15% felt prospects had improved.

However levels of optimism now, compared to the equivalent report in May 2016, are not as high. Taken across the last three Outlook reports, overall optimism was high in May 2016, taking a dip in the Autumn report, with optimism now returning in the current report, albeit at a lower level.

Attitudes to sales have also improved, with 85% of respondents saying they expected sales to either ‘rise modestly’ or ‘rise significantly’. Views on orders have also remained positive with 70% expressing that their order books are ‘modestly better than normal.’

This could reflect the strong order position prior to the referendum – as now only 15% feel their order books are ‘significantly better than normal’, down from 50% who thought this was the case in the Autumn survey.

Concerns around pricing have eased, although the expectation continues to be that prices will rise, driven by the devaluation of sterling. Only 30% now hold the opinion that prices will ‘rise significantly’ in the coming 12 months, compared to 66% who thought this previously. Prices are expected to ‘rise modestly’ by 70% of respondents.

One area where expectation has changed significantly is ‘which customer sector will show most sales in the coming 12 months’. In the Autumn survey no respondents chose ‘Retail and Wholesale firms’ as a key growth sector – in this survey 30% of respondents think this is the case.

Counterbalance orders have recovered a little after major falls registered last year, growing 3.6% year-on-year in Q1 2017. However it is not anticipated this will continue as investment – crucial to the performance of the Counterbalance market – struggles.

The warehouse segment has performed better, growing by 36% in the final quarter of 2016 – and by 5% year-on-year in Q1 of 2017. However, within Classes the picture is much more mixed. Class 2 bookings fell by 20% year-on-year in Q1. Class 3 performed much better, rising 21% in Q1 – and it is the strength of Class 3 that is holding up overall warehouse orders.

The Oxford Economics forecast for growth anticipates household consumption will rise by 1.5% this year, and just 0.5% in 2018. This will be compensated for to an extent by the weak pound increasing the competitiveness of exports, meaning GDP growth is forecast to be 1.8% this year and 1.4% next.

Jeremy Leonard, Head of Industry Services for Oxford Economics, said: “Various risk factors cloud the outlook around this report, particularly of course Brexit and the outcome of the General Election. The tone of negotiations around Brexit appear volatile – and the final outcome of negotiations will not be clear for some time.

“Market specific risks remain of secondary importance compared to Brexit, while innovation still provides grounds for optimism. Here struggling orders may create new impetus for novel product offerings or new technologies.”

James Clark, Secretary-General of BITA, comments: “The previous Forklift Truck Market Outlook and members’ survey showed our members’ mood moderating as Brexit uncertainty continues – and forecast overall weaker economic sentiment as the industry digested the referendum.

“However this latest Outlook and survey has demonstrated a degree of confidence among our members, with none saying they felt less optimistic for the coming 12 months. This coupled with an improved attitude to sales makes for quite an optimistic picture overall. But we shouldn’t be complacent, there is still the great unknown of Brexit to come – and there are issues around investment which are affecting Counterbalance orders which are a potential cause for concern.”

The Forklift Truck Market Outlook includes a detailed overview of sector by sector performance, both in terms of forklift product categories and customer business divisions. It is prepared for BITA by independent economic consultancy Oxford Economics and is available exclusively to BITA members as one of the key membership benefits. The next Outlook report will appear in Autumn 2017.

BITA warns against forklift truck modifications


BITA and FLTA warn that unauthorised modifications can endanger staff and invalidate warranties

Forklift truck modifications are offered by many companies and are widely advertised, but they are far from risk free – and can have consequences for health and safety and invalidation of warranties.

BITA Secretary-General James Clark explains: “A recent presentation to our Truck Suppliers Group (TSG) clearly demonstrated the risks and dangers behind unauthorised modifications, making the point that assessment and implementation of truck modifications is a skilled task requiring detailed and specialised engineering knowledge.”

Truck modifications that are not factory approved may affect capacity, stability or safety requirements. Companies making modifications do not realise the consequences, or are not aware of their responsibilities and liabilities, should something go wrong with a modification at a later date.

There is a very clear standard for the safety requirements of industrial trucks, BS EN ISO 3691-1:2015, which states in paragraph that ‘unauthorised truck modification is not permitted’.

“It’s not as if the regulations are hard to understand”, continues Clark. “However only the most cursory web search is required to identify companies advertising modification changes to forklift trucks, as if this were normal practice and presented no safety hazards whatsoever.”

But it isn’t only BITA that is concerned about such modifications. Fellow industry body the Fork Lift Truck Association (FLTA) is equally concerned: “This is an important industry-wide issue, and is especially important when trucks are leased,” said Peter Harvey MBE, FLTA Chief Executive.

“Unauthorised modifications or repairs – even changing tyres – could invalidate rental contracts or manufacturer warranties, leaving users to foot repair bills. So it is crucial that  those utilising lift trucks understand what they can and cannot do. Failure to do so puts them at risk of unexpected repair bills and much more. Before making any changes to the original equipment customers must consult the manufacturer or authorised dealer.”

Examples of modifications commonly being offered include mast reductions, drive-in racking modifications, and perhaps most disturbingly, truck head guard modifications. BITA’s TSG  has been provided with some examples of real concern:

  • A cab-pillar section was removed and re-welded as part of a drive in racking modification. Without knowledge of the exact material grade used in manufacture, it would be difficult or impossible to certify the welding and it is extremely doubtful whether the modification would pass an ISO 6055 impact test
  • A counterbalance truck fitted with extended 15ft-long forks, dangerously reducing stability
  • Fork-mounted ‘safe’ access platforms, advertised as though permitted for routine use
  • Hoists mounted to overhead guards, reducing strength, impeding operator visibility, and applying loads outside the design limits

These are just a few examples, in addition there are more ‘informal’ modifications such as adding additional weight (in the form of drums full of water or toolboxes filled with concrete) to increase the lifting capacity of counterbalance trucks.

“We are sure there are many more examples out there, and accidents and deaths have been linked to making unauthorised modifications that affect the safe operation of trucks”, adds Clark. “Those undertaking such work should understand that, depending on the modification, they may have inadvertently taken on the responsibilities of being the equipment manufacturer, with all the risks of prosecution and redress this entails.

“Modification of a forklift truck without the manufacturer’s approval could invalidate the warranty and the CE marking, making it difficult if not impossible to re-sell elsewhere. This is an issue to which, as an organisation which cares deeply about safety at all levels, causes us great concern”, concludes Clark.

BITA members’ mood moderates as Brexit uncertainty continues


Latest Oxford Economics forecast reveals weaker sentiment as industry digests referendum result; but still some grounds for optimism

The latest Forklift Truck Market Outlook for 2016, produced by Oxford Economics on behalf of BITA, reveals that member confidence has softened in line with the slowing prospects for the UK economy.

Half of respondents surveyed in the Autumn considered themselves ‘less optimistic’ about the outlook for the coming 12 months, compared to just 20% who said the same back in the Spring. This is reflected in attitudes towards expected sales, with fewer respondents now in the ‘rise significantly’ and ‘rise modestly’ categories, but opinion still fairly divided.

However, despite this pessimism regarding general prospects, current order books are not yet suffering as a result, with the majority of those polled considering their ledgers to be significantly better than normal, a substantial change from earlier in the year when less than a fifth reckoned this to be the case.

Opinions on pricing were one of the most noticeable shifts in the latest report, with all respondents now expecting these to rise, compared to flatter predictions previously. This is due to a weaker currency in the wake of the EU referendum result and is also the reason why those surveyed expect higher costs to impact on profitability.

The ongoing uncertainty following the UK’s decision to vote to leave the European Union, and the subsequent lack of clarity regarding the shape of any future deal, has meant it is difficult for businesses to commit to investment while the economic landscape continues to change.

Against this backdrop, the counterbalance sector is expected to be particularly hard-hit given its dependency on such investment. Counterbalance orders fell 16.4% year-on-year in Q3, having already decreased by 5.9% in Q2.

The warehouse segment hasn’t been immune to the economic uncertainty either, but hasn’t witnessed as drastic a decline as the counterbalance sector. Class 2 bookings fell 3.1% on an annual basis, having decreased by 5.8% in Q2. Class 3 managed to grow by 8.4% in Q3, but this was something of a recovery given a 17.7% fall in the second quarter.

The Oxford Economics forecast for growth anticipates consumption staying strong in the short term (+2.8% in 2016) before slowing to 1.2% in 2017 and 0.5% in 2018. GDP growth is predicted to be 2.1% this year before slowing to 1.4% in 2017.

Jeremy Leonard, Head of Industry Services for Oxford Economics, said: “The longer term outlook should provide grounds for optimism. The migration towards online shopping should continue, even if this occurs to a smaller extent due to the increased price of importing to the UK following the sharp depreciation of the pound. Online shopping requires delivery and warehousing of goods, which should continue to drive demand for warehouse trucks.

“However, market-specific risks are expected to be second order in comparison to the greater overarching risks associated with Brexit. Innovation remains a key source for positive optimism, where new product offerings or new technologies could begin to shape the market faster than envisioned. In fact, the more challenging market environment following Brexit may be exactly the time when such innovatory changes are most likely, as firms are forced to compete more vigorously.”

James Clark, Secretary-General of BITA, comments: “The previous Forklift Truck Market Outlook and members’ survey portrayed an industry that was upbeat despite the shock of the referendum result and remained optimistic about future prospects. Despite the lack of real clarification from Westminster – not to mention the High Court ruling requiring MP approval to trigger Article 50 – about what form Brexit might take, the sector has become more subdued in its perspective as a result of more modest data filtering through.

“That said, it’s not all doom and gloom and there are still plenty of reasons to be cheerful – not least encouraging current order books and the continuing evolution of online shopping which should guarantee a proportion of warehouse truck orders for the foreseeable future. There are undoubtedly challenges ahead, but the materials handling industry is well equipped to adapt and innovate to overcome these obstacles.”

The Forklift Truck Market Outlook includes a detailed overview of sector by sector performance, both in terms of forklift product categories and customer business divisions. It is prepared for BITA by independent economic consultancy Oxford Economics and is available exclusively to BITA members as one of the key membership benefits. The next Outlook report will appear in Spring 2017.



Technical consultant Bob Hine to leave BITA after a decade of service



Hine to stand down in February 2017

Bob Hine, technical consultant at BITA, is to retire in February 2017, ending an outstanding 10-year association with the trade body.

The announcement brings down the curtain on a 46-year career in the materials handling industry for Hine – a qualified engineer by trade – which included a senior position with Linde where he managed the UK and overseas service product support team.

In addition to his role with BITA, Bob also represented the British Standards Institute as a technical expert in standards-making activity across Europe and globally.

James Clark, Secretary-General of BITA, comments: “What Bob doesn’t know about the materials handling industry – and forklift trucks in particular – is unlikely to be worth knowing. He is an expert in the purest sense of the term and his knowledge and skill have been of immeasurable benefit to BITA over the past decade or so. While we wish him the most relaxing and fruitful of retirements, he will be sorely missed not just by the team and members of BITA, but those across the industry who have come to rely on his expertise.

“His departure also necessitates the need to source his replacement and we welcome applications from anyone who feels they have the appropriate skillset to step up to the plate. With ever-changing regulations and requirements and an uncertain economy off the back of the EU referendum result, these are exciting and dynamic times to be involved on the technical side of the materials handling industry, and the role is an excellent opportunity for the right person.”

BITA members undeterred by Brexit and remain upbeat on future prospects


Latest Oxford Economics forecast reveals fall in forklift orders – but members are confident that longer term impact will be negligible

The latest Forklift Truck Market Outlook for 2016 produced by Oxford Economics on behalf of BITA suggests that the economic impact of Brexit might not be as significant as other forecasters are predicting.

While mindful that negative confidence shocks could still occur, Oxford Economics feels other commentators have been too pessimistic in their outlooks and that innovation in new products and technologies could lead to renewed demand in forklift trucks.

And the BITA members’ survey, which forms part of the report, shows that associates share this mindset, with the majority believing that their sales will remain unchanged over the next year and slightly longer term (three years). The consensus is that only small changes will be made to trade arrangements and that there won’t be changes to tariffs that would impede business levels.

Despite this stoicism, some of the post-referendum data makes for predictably sobering reading. Counterbalance orders fell by 17.6% in July compared to the equivalent month a year earlier. However, warehouse orders grew by almost a third (28.3%) over the same period, illustrating which channels are most likely to be impacted by Brexit.

With consumption being the key driver for warehouse truck demand – and more closely linked to consumer-facing sectors such as food and beverage manufacture rather than economic cycles – it is less likely to be impacted by any Brexit-related downturn than counterbalance trucks might be. Indeed consumption is still expected to grow by 2.4% this year, before calming to 1% in 2017.

Oxford Economics now expects GDP growth of 1.1% in 2017 and 1.5% in 2018, compared to the 2.3% and 2.2% envisaged before the referendum result became clear.

Jeremy Leonard, Head of Industry Services for Oxford Economics, said: “Our current forecasts see Brexit affecting the economy mostly through lower investment, especially in the short term. Our GDP growth forecast for 2016 is unchanged, as weaker growth in H2 is offset by the stronger than anticipated Q2, but is set to be lower in 2017 and 2018 than if Britain had voted to remain in the European Union.”

James Clark, Secretary-General of BITA, comments: “As the dust continues to settle on the EU referendum result and the industry has more time to digest the ramifications, the consensus seems to be that things aren’t as bad as first feared. Indeed, with no timeframe yet in place of when Article 50 might be invoked, the sector has been employing a business-as-usual attitude rather than sitting on its hands, wondering what to do next. This was particularly evident at a successful IMHX in Birmingham last week, when the prevalent mood was positive and optimistic.

“It is inevitable that there was something of a slowdown in the run-up to the referendum and that the data and forecasts for the period immediately afterwards reflected some uncertainty in the economy, but longer term there doesn’t seem any need for any undue concern provided the Government is strong and sensible in its negotiations. Indeed, the warehouse order data gives plenty of reason for good cheer and an industry that has survived bigger challenges before now such as the global financial crisis won’t be deterred by any mild discomfort caused by Brexit.”

The Forklift Truck Market Outlook includes a detailed overview of sector by sector performance, both in terms of forklift product categories and customer business divisions. It is prepared for BITA by independent economic consultancy Oxford Economics and is available exclusively to BITA members as one of the key membership benefits.

2016 Design4Safety Awards winners unveiled


The winners of the prestigious Design4Safety Awards have been announced by BITA at IMHX 2016, recognising innovation across the materials handling industry.

Six categories acknowledged achievement in Automation, Industrial Vehicles, Racking and Storage, Technology, Warehouse Infrastructure and Goods in/Goods out.

The awards, being made for the third time, focus on improving safety standards by highlighting the importance of considering safety issues and practices right from the design stage.

Toyota Material Handling UK landed two awards, triumphing in both the Automation and Technology categories. In the former, its BT Optio OSE250 with remote drive drew praise from the judges for the fact it allowed significant improvements to safety in the workplace for order picker trucks, as well as enhancing efficiency and ease of operation. The company saw off the competition in the technology classification with its smartphone app which allows fleet managers to keep in control wherever they are.

Jungheinrich UK Ltd took the honours in the Industrial Vehicles category, with its pedestrian detection and speed control system lauded for improving safety without compromising productivity. A-Safe (UK) Ltd’s RackEye came up trumps in the Racking and Storage section, with the 24-hour monitoring device allowing companies round-the-clock monitoring of the safety and integrity of racking structures.

In the Warehouse Infrastructure category, it was STOMMPY’s GRB D120 R guardrail that most impressed judges for its ability to prevent vehicle damage to walls, structures and equipment, as well as enhancing pedestrian safety.

And last but by no means least, Hörmann triumphed in the Goods in/Goods out category with its Safety Light Grille which looks to eliminate the potential harm to people when passing under spiral and high speed doors.

BITA Secretary General James Clark said: “Safety is of utmost importance in the materials handling industry and we inaugurated the Design4Safety awards to highlight this focus and remind firms of the need to incorporate it into the engineering of their products and services from the concept stage. The variety of entries is testament to how many companies share our vision of placing safety at the heart of everything we do and the winners can be rightly proud of seeing off some stern competition.”


  • Industrial Vehicles:

Pedestrian detection and speed control system – Jungheinrich UK Ltd

  • Automation:

BT Optio OSE250 with remote drive – Toyota Material Handling UK

  • Goods-in/Goods-out:

Safety Light Grille – Hörmann

  • Racking & Storage:

RackEye – A-Safe (UK) Ltd

  • Technology:

Toyota I_Site Smartphone app with instant alerts – Toyota Material Handling UK

  • Warehouse infrastructure:


BITA Market Index – Forklift truck market enjoys strong start to 2016 before Q2 cooling


Forklift orders started 2016 at their strongest level in recent years before softening slightly in the second quarter, according to BITA.

A recent upward trend in demand peaked in March 2016, when an annualised level of 33,400 units were ordered. This represents an 89% increase on the bottom of the market in December 2009 and highlights how strongly the industry has fought back from the global economic downturn.

The political uncertainty caused by the impending EU referendum in June caused a slight cooling of the market in quarter two – with a 10% slowdown in orders – but the market remains at historically high levels, underpinned by a number of sound fundamentals, despite the subsequent leave vote.

Despite this pause for breath, Britain appears to be recovering from the Brexit decision better than previously expected with indicators from the manufacturing sector, the building industry and consumer spending figures all confounding expectation.


Sector focus

Manufacturing is the largest single sector user of industrial trucks, with almost a third (33.2%) of forklifts used in this industry. This has grown slightly from 33% in 2015 and could be set for further future growth if statistics from the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), are anything to go by. Manufacturers recently reported the strongest export orders in two years as the weak currency makes British goods more competitive abroad. Theoretically, this impact should only strengthen as exporters negotiate new deals based on this favourable pricing, with the CBI also reporting that 34% of businesses reported a rise in output volumes.

Transport and warehousing makes up a significant part of the ‘other’ classification which accounts for 36.6% of transactions when combined, up from 34.9% last year. There’s nothing to suggest this will change any time soon, with online giants such as Amazon and ASOS continuing to expand their operations. The former recently announced the creation of 1,500 permanent jobs at a new warehouse in Tilbury in Essex opening in spring 2017, hot on the heels of unveiling 500 positions at a warehouse in Doncaster, also slated to open next year.

The retail distribution sector has seen a steady proportional decrease over the past five years. Having accounted for 19% of transactions in 2011, this has steadily fallen to 15.7% for 2016 to date, and is consistent with the shift in consumer purchasing behaviours from the high street to online.

Wholesale distribution currently accounts for 14.5% of transactions, down from 16.4% for 2015 as a whole.


Truck type focus

Counterbalance trucks continue to be the most in-demand type of industrial truck, accounting for 47.3% of transactions so far in 2016, slightly down from 48.8% in 2015. Warehouse pedestrian trucks represent just more than a third of all transactions (33.8%), a slight uptick from 33.4% in 2015. Warehouse rider trucks make up less than a fifth of the market, accounting for 18% of sales in 2016 to date, up from 16.8% in 2015.

Both the counterbalance and warehouse truck market sectors remain strong with market demand from the UK’s major forklift users and especially SMEs showing a high degree of resilience.

Market growth in recent years has been particularly noticeable for electric counterbalance trucks, powered pallet trucks and for very narrow aisle models and less prominent for engine powered counterbalance trucks.

Find the release in PDF form here and infographic here.

Finalists announced for 2016 Design4Safety Awards


The finalists for the 2016 Design4Safety Awards have now been decided across the six award categories encompassing all aspects of the materials handling industry.


The awards, organised by BITA, are open to all companies exhibiting at IMHX 2016, taking place at the NEC in Birmingham from 13-16 September. They are focused on designing safety into products and services with the aim being to highlight the importance of product or service design in improving safety standards. By focusing on design for safety the awards recognise innovative thinking, regardless of the type or cost of the product or service.


Commenting on the entries BITA Secretary General James Clark said: “We have had a fantastic range of entries for the Awards. The breadth and quality of entries shows just how seriously designers take safety, and this has made selecting the finalists a difficult task.”


The categories and finalists are:


  • Industrial Vehicles:

Tagging and checklist system – Good to Go Safety

Combi-WR Walkie Reach – Combilift Ltd

PowerMount – B&B Attachments

Guardian Stability System – Doosan Industrial Vehicle UK

WAV 60 Work Assist Vehicle – Crown Lift Trucks

G2 Engine – Doosan Industrial Vehicle UK

Safely Working with Lift Trucks Video Training Module – Mentor Training

Pedestrian detection and speed control system – Jungheinrich UK Ltd


  • Automation:

KASTOunicompact 3.5 – KASTO Ltd

BT Optio OSE250 with remote drive – Toyota Material Handling UK

Linde Robotics – Linde Material Handling UK Ltd


  • Goods-in/Goods-out:

Pallet Lid – Loadhog Ltd

Domino 400kg Automatic – Zonzini UK

Safety Light Grille – Hörmann


  • Racking & Storage:

Tagging and checklist system – Good to Go Safety

RackNets – Warehouse Partners

RackEye – A-Safe (UK) Ltd

Half Plastic Pallet – Nortpalet Fabrica S.L

EQ range of collapsible containers – BITO Storage Systems Limited

Rhino II – Gondola Skate Moving Systems Inc


  • Technology:

Toyota ISite Smartphone app with instant alerts – Toyota Material Handling UK

Crown InfoLink – Crown Lift Trucks Ltd


  • Warehouse infrastructure:

SLC 800 E4 Safe – LKE UK



“We now move on to the final judging stage. Winning entries will be judged on the basis of those which provide the strongest evidence of a measurable contribution to the level of safety awareness, or rate of incident reduction achieved by the design. Good luck to all the finalists, and the winners will be announced on Thursday 15th September at the SHD Logistics Awards ceremony”, concluded James.

BITA reacts to the EU referendum result

James Clark, Secretary-General of BITA, comments: “The past week has been tumultuous for the country as a whole, but for the forklift truck industry it is very much a case of business as usual. There will obviously be ramifications in time as the schedule for the extrication from the European Union becomes apparent, but the process could well take months or even years so until that point our members will be committed to their existing processes and relationships. Our technical work continues and we have already begun internal processes to evaluate the impact of the Leave decision on our members and will use our global technical insight and influence to not only minimise its impact, but also to pursue the most favourable UK trading conditions.

“Our sector has weathered various storms in the past such as the lengthy global financial crisis and other economic threats and emerged all the stronger for it and we are confident that the industry can adapt to the evolving political climate and continue to be successful. With 2015 seeing the sector finally return to pre-recession levels in terms of orders and shipment for counterbalance and warehouse trucks, we are keen to keep this momentum going. We look forward to discussing this and other relevant issues with our friends and colleagues from the industry at IMHX in September.”

Click here for press release

Still time to enter the Design4Safety awards 2016



The deadline to enter the BITA Design4Safety awards has been extended to Friday 15th July to allow extra time for busy companies to submit their entries.


The awards are open to all companies exhibiting at IMHX 2016, taking place at the NEC in Birmingham from 13-16 September.


The Design4Safety awards are all about designing safety into products and services with the aim being to highlight the importance of product or service design in improving safety standards. By focusing on design for safety the awards recognise innovative thinking, regardless of the type or cost of the product or service.


The awards provide the opportunity to highlight the crucial safety benefits of their individual products and services, and a valuable opportunity for publicity. There are six different categories which encompass the whole materials handling industry:


  • Industrial Vehicles
  • Automation
  • Goods-in/Goods-out
  • Racking & Storage
  • Technology
  • Warehouse infrastructure


Entries must include a 150 word explanation of the how the product or service improves safety or eliminates a previously unsafe approach, and a high-resolution image, JPEG or GIF, up to 2MB. An additional supporting document alongside links to online images or video that supports the entry can also be submitted.


Products or services entered don’t have to be newly launched, but must be available at the time of entry and for at least six months after the awards are announced. Winning entries will be those which provide the strongest evidence of a measurable contribution to the level of safety awareness, or rate of incident reduction achieved by the design.


The new deadline for entries is Friday 15th July 2016 and should be submitted via the form which can be found at


The last winners of the awards included Hörmann’s Fork Truck Barrier, Crown Lift Trucks’ rider powered pallet truck and Sentry Protection Products’ Collision Sentry device, which alerts fork lift operators to potential collision risks in warehouses. Why not join them?

Tim Waples appointed as new BITA President



Tim Waples, Vice President and CEO of Doosan Industrial Vehicles UK Group Companies has been appointed as the new President of the British Industrial Truck Association, formally receiving the badge of office at BITA’s recent AGM.


Tim is no stranger to BITA having previously been President from 2010-12 – and is a major figure in the industry. He brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the role – and with 30 years’ experience he has seen every aspect of the business.


Tim began his career as a mechanical engineering apprentice, and has risen to become Vice President and CEO of Doosan Industrial Vehicle UK Group Companies, where he has overseen the acquisition of Rushlift Ltd.


He succeeds David Rowell as President, the only President in BITA’s history to serve two consecutive terms. As well as playing a major role at European level, perhaps the major legacy of David’s time in office, has been the BITA Academy – the first time there has been a joint body for apprenticeships across the industry.


Commenting on his appointment Tim said: “It is a real honour to be asked to take up the post of President, especially for a second time. I would like to pay tribute to my predecessor and all his hard work, and during my time in office I will look to build on this work particularly in the area of statistics, as BITA is the only official source of UK industrial trucks statistics.


“I’ll also be looking to further develop the Oxford Economics Market report which I know so many members find invaluable to their planning and budgeting, as well as developing and strengthening our relationship with the FLTA. Add to this working with our apprentices, and the development of technical policy means there is plenty for me to do in the year ahead.”


James Clark, Secretary General of BITA said: “Tim is a prime example of how, for anyone committed and prepared to work hard, a career in the materials handling industry can provide a pathway to senior management. I would like to welcome him as President and say how much I am looking forward to working with him again.”

Time to enter the Design4Safety awards 2016



BITA is once again organising the Design4Safety awards which make their welcome return at IMHX 2016, taking place at the NEC in Birmingham from 13-16 September.


The awards, which take place every three years, are all about designing safety into products and services with their aim being to highlight the importance of product or service design in improving safety standards. By focusing on ‘design for safety’ the awards recognise innovative thinking, regardless of the type or cost of the product or service.


All IMHX exhibitors can enter the awards, which provide the opportunity to highlight the crucial safety benefits of their individual products and services, and there are six different categories which encompass the whole materials handling industry. These are:


  • Industrial Vehicles
  • Automation
  • Goods-in/Goods-out
  • Racking & Storage
  • Technology
  • Warehouse infrastructure


Entries must include a 150 word explanation of the how the product or service improves safety or eliminates a previously unsafe approach, a high-resolution image, JPEG or GIF, up to 2MB, one additional supporting document and links to online images or video that support the entry.


Products or services entered don’t have to be newly launched, but must be available at the time of entry and for at least six months after the awards are announced. Winning entries will be those which provide the strongest evidence of a measurable contribution to the level of safety awareness, or rate of incident reduction, achieved by the design.


The deadline for entries is 31st May 2016 and should be submitted via the form which can be found at




Winners in 2013 included Hörmann’s Fork Truck Barrier, Crown Lift Trucks’ rider powered pallet truck and Sentry Protection Products’ Collision Sentry device, which alerts fork lift operators to potential collision risks in warehouses. Why not join them?

BITA announces two new Board appointments




BITA has made two new key appointments to the BITA Board, Stan Harris of Linde Material Handling, and Jan Lorenz of Jungheinrich.


Harris, Managing Director of Linde East and Scotland has been with Linde for approaching a decade. He brings a wealth of experience to his new role, which involves Board responsibility for the BITA Academy through which the industry’s joint apprenticeship scheme is run.


As well as his senior position with Linde, Harris has also been a Director of Scottish Premiership football club St Johnstone for over nine years.


Commenting on his appointment he said: “I was an apprentice engineer myself and I passionately believe that bringing young people into our industry is not only vital but our duty. Demonstrating that an interesting and rewarding career is available in a growing sector is an important part of this. Offering a clear career path through the industry’s joint apprenticeship scheme, run via the BITA Academy, is something I am looking forward to getting involved in.”


Jan Lorenz joined the BITA board last year after his appointment as Managing Director of Jungheinrich UK, and brings with him 10 years’ experience with the Jungheinrich Group in a variety of management roles. He will be responsible for the Truck Suppliers’ Group (TSG), which includes virtually all of the companies supplying industrial trucks in the UK today, and examines the range of issues and policies which affect manufacturers and distributors.


He said: “The TSG plays an important role in drawing together industrial truck suppliers across the UK to discuss common issues and challenges. It is also key to ensuring manufacturers and distributors are represented in relation to the issue and policies which impact on them, and making sure they have a voice.”


Commenting on the appointments James Clark, Secretary General of BITA said: “I would like to welcome Stan and Jan to the Board – they are both hugely experienced and will bring a wealth of knowledge of the industry to bear for the benefit of all BITA members. I very much look forward to working with them both in the future.”

BITA issues winter fuel warning

With the worst of the winter weather just around the corner forklift trade association BITA is urging companies to ensure correct storage of fuel – and to check the specific fuel requirements in light of changing emissions legislation and the requirements of modern engines – particularly around the use of biodiesel and ultra low sulphur diesel.

BITA’s Technical Consultant, Bob Hine explains: “Incorrect storage of fuel, potentially leading to contamination, can create real problems for forklift truck operators, particularly over winter with cold weather operation. Add into this the need to ensure that the correct grade of fuel is being used for trucks, means a winter of potential risks to operational effectiveness and efficiency.”

Causes of contamination

Key causes include:

  • Water in fuel
  • Particle contamination/poor filtration
  • Extended storage periods
  • Diesel microbial contamination
  • Irregular tank maintenance

Up to 7% of biodiesel can now be included in UK gas oil/red diesel and as biodiesel blends can absorb more water this can precipitate out of solution when the temperature changes. This in turn can create the conditions for microbial contamination, the ‘diesel bug’, leading to sludge problems. Biodiesel also oxidises and breaks down more easily in the presence of oxygen, creating peroxides that eventually form acids, leading to formation of gums and resins which can block fuel filters.

Fuel can also be contaminated with dirt, rust, sand etc which can result from simple bad fuel handling practices and cause real damage to an engine or machine and its fuel system.

Simple solutions

  • Buy from reputable sources: This will prevent the likelihood of microbe, water or particulate contaminant problems. A reputable fuel distributor turning over high volumes is more likely to be on top of preventing these problems.
  • Maintain your tanks: Tanks need maintenance. There are treatments available to prevent water accumulation, but no additive can overcome a rusty tank that allows rain water in.
  • Keep tanks full: This minimises development of condensation.
  • Limit storage time: Ideally diesel should not be stored in excess of 12 months.
  • Temperature control: Fuel should not be exposed to temperatures in excess of 35 degrees C.
  • When moving fuel: Run through a filtration system.
  • Regular testing for microbes and water: This will help you stay on top of stored fuel problems. Tanks should be dipped monthly to monitor water phase levels.
  • Biocides should be used every 90 days to prevent the establishment of microbial contamination, especially with ultra low sulphur diesel (ULSD)

Another issue that can cause problems, both for modern diesel engines designed to meet stringent emissions legislation, and older engines designed to previous specifications, is ensuring that the correct grade of fuel is used.

Engines designed to run on ‘European’ grade diesel, with a cetane rating of 51 (the cetane number being the measure of how readily diesel burns under compression) can struggle to run effectively on UK red diesel, which has a cetane level of 45.

The advent of ULSD can also mean a reduction in the ‘oilyness’ of fuel, or lower ‘lubricity’. This can potentially be an issue if used in older engines which were not designed to run on ULSD.

For some engines, fuel containing the maximum 7% of biodiesel can result in reduced cold-weather handling performance and more water pick-up potential, meaning a great possibility of corrosion in filters. This has led to some suppliers offering so-called ‘FAME-free fuel’ which claims to contain no biodiesel, but this is extremely difficult for a supplier to guarantee, given the prevalence of biodiesel in the supply chain, so relying on this has potential problems.

Alongside the use of the correct fuel and fuel storage protocols, general vehicle maintenance tips allied to fuel and efficient operation include observing the manufacturer’s fuel filter service life recommendations, particularly around frequency of replacement, the daily draining of water from fuel filters, and replacing a vehicle’s fuel filler cap immediately after refuelling.

Hine concludes: “To keep your fleet operating at maximum efficiency, with minimum downtime, effective fuel storage and tank maintenance is vital. If this is matched with a meticulous adherence to the fuel grade needs of your fleet, be it brand new or of a less recent vintage, it will help ensure that the winter weather won’t stop your business in its tracks.”