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Interesting response from Screwfix

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Jeremy Nako

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I've been looking at getting a low-end surface planer for a while now, and they're like gold dust.

Used Titan planers, usually £159.99 at Screwfix, are fetching £250-300 on Ebay.

So.. I dropped Screwfix an email, to ask when they were anticipating new stock arrival, and I received this reply :

"Unfortunately any products over 25KG’s are currently unavailable, as these products can’t be picked safely following social distancing guidelines."

I'm not complaining or moaning... it just surprised me.
 

Snettymakes

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ahhh I wonder why there was such a glut of Titan planers on eBay. People cashing in on their unused machinery whilst the price is good I guess.
 

Jelly

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On the one hand, I appreciate that they're trying to keep their staff and the public at large safe from both COVID and MSK injury, which is laudable.

On the other I can't believe they haven't managed to work out a practical solution to make it possible safely, like popping the item on a scissor-lift trolley for the customer to wheel to their car/van unaided...
 

Nick Laguna UK

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On the other I can't believe they haven't managed to work out a practical solution to make it possible safely, like popping the item on a scissor-lift trolley for the customer to wheel to their car/van unaided...
Hi Jelly - I suspect this relates more to them being able to pick and despatch items from their main distribution centre.
They almost certainly arrive on massive container width pallets & then stored.
Normally two people could easily take a machine up to 50kg off the pallet together & send to a store - given that the max lift should only be 25kg for an employee split between them. Not possible now though due to distancing and good on Screwfix too for keeping staff safe as you say.
Standard scissor lift trolleys won't work splitting pallets due to the height involved - but I'm surprised they have not found another solution - maybe they are so flat out it's bottom of priority list. Whilst the stock sits there it probably goes up in value too....Who knows?
 

Jelly

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maybe they are so flat out it's bottom of priority list. Whilst the stock sits there it probably goes up in value too....Who knows?
I hadn't thought about the DC angle, but this is a very likely explanation; the DC's will have access to "mechanical means" (in the form of FLT's or Reach Trucks) but almost certainly won't have the slack to use them for a time consuming task like breaking down pallets layer by layer.
 

Jeremy Nako

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Like others, I'm surprised at this - TBH it never really crossed my mind this might be the issue. I presumed that it was a supply / import issue.

Yes.. good on Screwfix for keeping employees safe,
 

eribaMotters

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That is interesting. Screwfix and B&Q are owned by the same company. I wonder if heavy items are all at present unavailable from B&Q, eg fence posts.

Colin
 

Nick Laguna UK

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Heavy items likely already have systems in place not requiring a 2 man lift - this is how we do bandsaws (image drawn for another importer) - couldn't manual lift anyway even if we we had our weetabix
Items 25kg - 50kg I reckon will be the ones affected as no more two man lift with each lifting an end each and breathing on each other as per the past way of doing it.
push-plate-2.jpg
 

bourbon

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Heavy items likely already have systems in place not requiring a 2 man lift - this is how we do bandsaws (image drawn for another importer) - couldn't manual lift anyway even if we we had our weetabix
Items 25kg - 50kg I reckon will be the ones affected as no more two man lift with each lifting an end each and breathing on each other as per the past way of doing it.
View attachment 101498
Who the hell decided that was a good method of working!!!! as a FLT driver of some 35 years, That is not an acceptable use of a forklift. HSE would throw the book if you had an accident
 

RobinBHM

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I've been looking at getting a low-end surface planer for a while now, and they're like gold dust.

Used Titan planers, usually £159.99 at Screwfix, are fetching £250-300 on Ebay.

So.. I dropped Screwfix an email, to ask when they were anticipating new stock arrival, and I received this reply :

"Unfortunately any products over 25KG’s are currently unavailable, as these products can’t be picked safely following social distancing guidelines."

I'm not complaining or moaning... it just surprised me.
A few years back I bought a concrete mixer from Screwfix.

The Screwfix guy wheeled it out on a pallet truck and said: "we aren't allowed to help you at all due to health and safety reasons, please let me know when you've finished with the truck"

So I had to lift the massive box into my hatchback on my own.....and it was pretty awkward and heavy.
 

RobinBHM

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Heavy items likely already have systems in place not requiring a 2 man lift - this is how we do bandsaws (image drawn for another importer) - couldn't manual lift anyway even if we we had our weetabix
Items 25kg - 50kg I reckon will be the ones affected as no more two man lift with each lifting an end each and breathing on each other as per the past way of doing it.
View attachment 101498
I'm surprised you use 2 forklifts, I would've though you would push it over 6" with the forks, move forklift and put forks under the overhang, lift up enough to put bearers in, then pick up item as normal.

Still, if you have 2 forklifts, I guess why not!
 

julianf

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I mailed screwfix about a triton unit that seems perpetually out of stock.

They said that they would not be placing another order.

I asked why it was still on the website if there was no stock.

They said it would remain on the website until all stock was sold.

I said "great, can you tell me where the stock is, a friend might be able to pick one up for me"

They said "Due to having over 600 + stores, we are unable to advise of which store will have stock"


Ive been really tempted to point out their logic flaw, but i know it will get me nowhere.
 

LeeElms

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You could check the stock for stores near your friends (it shows around 6 stores for me if I put in my postcode) -- but I agree if you have a lot of friends, it might take a while ...
 

Jelly

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Who the hell decided that was a good method of working!!!! as a FLT driver of some 35 years, That is not an acceptable use of a forklift. HSE would throw the book if you had an accident
I'd be leery of using an FLT to push something onto the forks of another at 90° too.

Not because it's particularly likely to go wrong, but because if it does and the item being pushed catches on the forks, the pushing forklift can apply enough force that it's conceivable that it could cause the other one to tip-over...

When I've seen the same task done, it's always been a single FLT operation:
  • Place FLT with empty pallet at one side of the pallet to de-stack.
  • Raise empty pallet to level of box(es) to be remove, and tilt until touching against pallet to be de-stacked.
  • FLT in neutral, handbrake on.
  • Slowly walk the box onto empty pallet by hand, or use a ratchet strap attached to the forklift back-rest to pull it on slowly.
  • Move FLT back and lower load to ground.


That said, I'm not inclined to rush to judgement based on just that explanatory sketch...

From experience as long as there's a well thought through risk assessment in place, which details appropriate controls or mitigation, and evidence that the control measures are actually followed then the HSE are unlikely to take issue with "off label" use of plant equipment.

I would presume Nick has all that in place, and there's more nuance to the operation than the picture shows.
 

SamTheJarvis

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On the other I can't believe they haven't managed to work out a practical solution to make it possible safely, like popping the item on a scissor-lift trolley for the customer to wheel to their car/van unaided...
Or actually training staff to not be pathetic bloody wimps that can't even pick up a bag of cement. Nope, mediocrity (or worse) it is.
 

julianf

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You could check the stock for stores near your friends (it shows around 6 stores for me if I put in my postcode) -- but I agree if you have a lot of friends, it might take a while ...
I've checked all over the place and every single search comes up as no stock.

Realistically I think there is no stock.

However, the madness is that Screwfix still thinks there is stock, but seems to have no way of locating it.

...and if they can't locate it, how would they ever then know when they have no stock remaining?
 

alex_heney

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Or actually training staff to not be pathetic bloody wimps that can't even pick up a bag of cement. Nope, mediocrity (or worse) it is.
You mean training staff to break the law?

While individuals are perfectly allowed to lift what they like, employers are not allowed to require employees to lift more than 25Kg per person. I'm not sure they are even allowed to let them do so.
 

tradesman

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I just had delivered a roll of armoured cable weighing 35Kg - from screwfix by parcel force
 

Jelly

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You mean training staff to break the law?

While individuals are perfectly allowed to lift what they like, employers are not allowed to require employees to lift more than 25Kg per person. I'm not sure they are even allowed to let them do so.
That's not strictly true.

Employers are not legally allowed to instruct staff to commit unsafe acts.

I made a (somewhat ranty) post which addressed some of the misconceptions around safe manual handling yesterday...

I fully agree it would be incredibly stupid from a H&S perspective for a national business to expect every person in a diverse workforce to undertake higher-risk lifting practices, and difficult from a HR perspective to single out employees who could safely undertake those lifts.
 
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