Interest in this year’s Operator of the Year competition peaked at 302,000 eligible entrants, surpassing 2011’s impressive 250,000 eligible entrants – a sure sign that there is no shortage of operators out there eager to show off their operational skill and commitment to safe practice.
The competition is run by RTITB (formerly the Road Transport Industry Training Board), one of the largest lift truck training accrediting bodies in the UK and Ireland.
During the week of 19th-22nd March, the 40 qualifiers who made it through the online theory quiz battled it out at the industry's key exhibition of the year, IMHX 2013 for a place in the grand final. After a week of tough competition 10 finalists were selected to compete in the final, held at RTITB’s Telford headquarters on 20th September.
While the event produced a lot of enjoyment for those watching, and proved a great platform for the operators to show off their obvious skills, the serious message behind the competition shouldn’t be missed. In the month and a half since the curtain came down on IMHX 2013 at least one fatal fork lift truck accident has made the industry press, and the HSE has successfully prosecuted a number of companies for forklift incidents involving fatalities and injuries that occurred over the last two to three years. The Operator of the Year competition, established in 2008 and sponsored by TNT Express Services UK and Ireland, Toyota Material Handling UK, and Calor Gas Ltd, has at its heart the promotion of safe and correct forklift operation. It is an opportunity to show how this equipment can be used safely and effectively, and how proper training can make a huge difference to the health and safety of employees and the operating costs of a business. For the ten finalists it is an opportunity to demonstrate not only their training but also their commitment to safe, efficient and correct operation.
The grand final takes place on 20th September. After a day of imaginative and challenging contests, the Operator of the Year will be crowned at a gala dinner in the evening. This year’s winner will drive away a new car, while the first runner up will enjoy £2000 of holiday vouchers and the third place finalist will win £1000 in shopping vouchers.
Attendance at the grand final is open to the public, businesses and training organisations. To register your interest in attending this event, or to find out more, visit www.opofyear.com. Places are limited - registrations are already up by 20% in comparison with this time in 2011!