Safety in Cold Stores

Contributed by Des Fell, Founder and M.D. of Accredited Training which has been training forklift drivers for over 30 years.

As a leader in the training industry of forklifts, and particularly in freezer stores, I am really amazed and disappointed in what I have recently observed.

Companies, obviously in an attempt to save expenses, which is understandable, are opting for reach trucks without heated cabs, in freezer stores.

This is a bit like stepping back into the dark ages where, even though the operators were wearing cold suits they had to spend roughly 15 minutes in the cold room, and then get out to sit in the sun for another 15 – 20 minutes to recover from the cold. Admittedly cold room suits have improved, but how many people are using the correct freezer room attire – and not going for the least expensive there as well.

While Barpro markets a European freezer room suit, it still assumes the operators will have heated cabs. Their sale of freezer room suits is far below what it should be when you hear the number of operators working in freezer  stores, not to mention the staff who are on foot in and out of the freezer room all day. Drivers don’t move much when operating a reach truck and so don’t generate sufficient heat to keep them comfortably warm.

One can sympathize with companies trying to save money in this day and age where money is extremely tight, but have they considered the amount of money they are losing by not having the productivity which is so important.

Des Fell and Roger Cornelius of Accredited Training
Des Fell and Roger Cornelius of Accredited Training


An article in SHEQ magazine recently, by Professor Andrew Sharman, he pointed out the true causes of unsafe behavior in the work place.

“The truth is that most people would rather cut a corner or two to fit in, even if there is a health or safety risk”

“Something has to give and often it is safety”

“Safety is always the first item on agendas but it is covered in a way that communicates: ‘Let’s get this out of the way so we can get on with the important stuff’ “

These remarks are so true of what is happening today in cold stores, and where operators are using drive–in racking, an up to date way of storing goods, companies have reverted to old fashioned practices with their forklift operators.

Not only should they be aware of safety with their forklifts, but their operators should also be trained to the highest level. Supervisors should be sent on a seminar to enforce the behavior in the cold stores. Many supervisors have told me they very rarely go into the cod stores to see what is happening as it is too cold!

Contact Roger Cornelius or Des Fell at Accredited Training for more information:

Tel: 021 853 4194



Read more: Effects of the cold on the human body