The Sattach Pilot Protector prevents the operator from falling or jumping from the truck during a roll-over and is referred to in international safety standards (ISO 3691-1) as an ‘operator restraint’. Traditionally seat belts have performed this function but, despite increasingly complex electronic controls, the use of seat belts meets resistance from operators for comfort and convenience reasons and importantly the monitoring and enforcement by company management of the correct use of seat belts is notoriously difficult.
There are two simple truths about the Pilot Protector. Firstly, its use is so natural for the operator as we expect to open and shut doors when entering or leaving a vehicle and the operator is not restricted when turning or bending in the seat. Secondly, if the gate is not latched shut, a gas strut on the Pilot Protector gate pushes it wide open and it is unlikely that the operator would drive the forklift with the gate wide open. And this means that company management can easily see that the restraint system is in place and being used.
All of this is in contrast to traditional seat belts, where various electronic sensors, switches, inter-locks, sequence controls or warning lights are introduced to try to ensure that the seat belt is used – and there always seems to be a way around these devices and they need monitoring and maintenance.
Sattach Pilot Protectors can be fitted as easily to any existing forklift as to a new truck, whereas retro-fitting seatbelt inter-locks, sequences and sensors is an expensive option for an existing fleet.
Body Restraints are now compulsory under European Standards (Directive 95/63/EC) for trucks up to 10T capacity and the latest version of AS2359 is expected to introduce the term ‘operator restraint’. Risk assessments of forklift safety will always generate concern about roll-over protection and the Sattach Pilot Protector is a simple and cost-effective solution.
Seat belts are used in cars to prevent the driver from being thrown forward in a high-speed collision. But very few, if any, forklift fatalities are caused in this way. More commonly the driver is crushed when falling or jumping from the forklift during a roll over. The Pilot Protector contains the driver within the forklift structure preventing the driver being crushed by the overturning forklift.
‘Overturning poses the most danger to forklift operators in the workplace. It is a leading cause of deaths involving forklifts, accounting for one in six deaths. When an operator jumps or is thrown from an overturning forklift, more often than not they end up trapped under the overturned forklift and a fatality occurs.’