Girl Power as Kirstie wins Toyota Forklift Challenge

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  • Plant & Equipment

Following on from Michelle Payne’s fantastic Melbourne Cup win on Prince of Penzance this week comes news of another victory for women — WA Crates’ Kirstie Downie winning the Toyota Forklift Challenge final.

Girl Power as Kirstie wins Toyota Forklift Challenge
One of the entrants in the 2015 Toyota Forklift Challenge.

The final, held at Perth's Market City recently, saw 10 of the market's best forklift operators represent their respective companies and compete for prizes while helping to raise awareness of workplace safety.

"The 10 finalists navigated a course designed to simulate a range of activities typical of a forklift driver's normal working day," Toyota Material Handling Australia (TMHA) says. "The contestants were awarded points for demonstrating safe forklift driving techniques while negotiating the course, rather than just how quickly they could complete it."

Kirstie Downie, the first female entrant in the Challenge, received a $500 Coles/Myer gift card Second place and a $250 gift card went to Charles Spargo of Bullfrog International, while third place went to Taylor Grant from Etherington, who took home a $100 gift card.

"Safety is our number one priority and it's pleasing to see the keen interest from the audience and participants in this event," Perth Market Authority CEO Stephen Ward says. "I'd like to congratulate the winners; it's a great achievement to be crowned Market City's best forklift driver for 2015."

TMHA WA branch manager Lance Cross says the second edition of the challenge was a great success and proved to be an enjoyable way to get the workplace safety message across where it really counts.

"Initiatives like the Toyota Forklift Challenge are a practical way to get all the drivers thinking about workplace safety, not just the 10 finalists," he says. "All the tenants and staff here at Perth Market City have really embraced the event."

The Toyota Forklift Challenge finalists used the Toyota 8-Series 8FG18 counterbalance forklift, whose features include Automatic Fork Levelling Control to level the forks during loading, ergonomically designed controls and smooth, quiet operation from the Toyota engine.

Many 8-Series forklift models also feature Toyota's System of Active Stability with the company’s Active Swing Lock Cylinder, which can help improve forklift stability and assist in reducing the potential for lateral tip-overs.

Toyota Forklift Challenge entrants registered by completing a questionnaire regarding safe forklift driving habits, with the top 10 respondents going through to compete in the final. Both the questionnaire and practical round were overseen and judged by workplace training course provider TCE Training.

Click here to find Toyota combustion counterbalanced forklifts for sale.


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