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Forklift operators get ready to rumble

Australia’s best forklift operators are getting ready to battle for the title of Champion Driver at Melbourne Materials Handling Trade Show 2009, which will host the finals of the National Forklift Championships for the first time.

More than 10,000 visitors are expected at the Melbourne Exhibition Centre to see the forklift finalists in action and view a diverse range of products and services that focus on safety and efficiency in warehousing and distribution.

Melbourne Materials Handling will be held concurrently with the Safety In Action workplace safety trade show from March 31 to April 2, with hundreds of exhibitors taking up over three acres of floor space.

This is the first year the finals, which are organised by Melbourne Materials Handling sponsor the Supply Chain & Logistics Association of Australia (SCLAA), have been hosted at the trade show. Championship Coordinator, Bill Henman, says the trade show’s focus on both the materials handling and safety sectors make it a good fit.

“People who operate forklifts, perform forklift operations, use racking systems, etc will be visiting the trade show, so it gives them the opportunity to see people from around Australia competing at a national level in the Championships at the same time,” he said.

Spectators of the event will see operators drive through a negotiated course to test their hand-eye coordination and skills which are aligned to the national load shifting standards for high risk plant.

“A lot of employers believe their forklift drivers are not too bad, but in actual fact they’re not driving the way they should be. If they come to the Championships they will be able to observe how a driver should operate to a standard,” Henman said.

The SCLAA expects the competition to be tough in 2009. Spectators can expect to see Australia’s best pull out all stops to win as the Championship was this year opened up to include entrants from Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland. The winning female and male operator will each win $1500 and a silver cup for their efforts.

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