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Shotton employee through to forklift finals

9 May 2011 No Comment

John Wainwright is getting ready for the forklift challenge of his life. John, who works at Tata Steel in Shotton will be taking part in the forklift Operator of the Year Competition national finals on 16 September.

John gained his place after coming second in the Northern England finals on 20 April in Castleford, West Yorkshire.

employ_grand_ finalist(small)


The competition is run by the RTITB, a national transport governing body. The emphasis was on safety and skill as John and other competitors negotiated their way round three disciplines and had to:

  • load as many boxes as possible in 15 minutes in a tight space
  • delicately balance basketballs on cones
  • take a judge on an inspection of a forklift truck to spot faults and then sit a theory test.

John has been employed at Shotton since he was an apprentice and works on the manufacturing process lines at the steelworks. Unlike many of the other entrants to the competition, he does not drive forklifts full time – it is just one part of his job.

Forklift truck safety at Tata Steel

His success is a testament to the recent emphasis on forklift truck safety at Tata Steel. Shotton has run intensive training courses as part of the company’s ‘Zero Harm’ safety campaign. Trainer Dave Edwards is very proud of John and will be helping to prepare him for the finals. “He’ll have learnt a lot from the competition last week. We’ll need to keep him in the zone for the next few months. But the main thing for us at Shotton is to have safe, competent drivers on site.”

The RTITB Operator of the Year 2011 is sponsored by Toyota Material Handling UK and TNT Express Services UK and Ireland.  Events are attended by trade publications, employers, instructors and the general public.

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