With rising fuel costs and a struggling economy hitting businesses hard, Europcar, the UK and Europes number one vehicle rental company, has expanded its van fleet in response to a demand for flexible and cost effective transport solutions. The fleet, available from most of Europcars 250 plus locations, now includes 50% more tail lifts to support businesses using lone drivers for deliveries and collections. Europcars van fleet comprises an extensive range of mini, short wheel base, long wheel base and box vans with one way rentals and delivery and collection available across the UK.
Crucially, Europcar is also offering tips to businesses on how to reduce the risk of injury through lifting and carrying items to be transported by van.
David McNeill, Corporate Sales Director for Europcar said: When times are lean, businesses need to look for ways to be more efficient. With no long-term financial commitment and immediate access to vehicles exactly suited to the job, vehicle rental is providing a valuable solution to get items from A to B. The addition of these tail lifts to our fleet will certainly support those looking to cut manpower on delivery and collections. However, we recognise it is sometimes necessary to load and unload awkward or heavy objects into a van by hand. In this situation great care must be taken to avoid any chance of injury to the back, legs and arms and for this reason we have put together the following tips for van drivers:
Europcars Tips for Lifting and Carrying
Assess the situation
Before lifting or carrying a heavy object, plan ahead and consider the following:
Test the weight of a large object by lifting a corner, can you lift the load safely by yourself or do you need help?
If the load is too heavy or an awkward shape is it possible to break-down into smaller parts?
Check how far you have to carry the load and if the path is clear of anything which may cause you to trip. Check that all doors have been opened in advance.
Once the load is lifted, will it block your view?
Correct lifting techniques for heavy items
Before you lift a heavy object make sure you have a firm footing.
Stand close to the object and centre yourself over it with your feet shoulder width apart, squat down to the ground.
Before starting to lift make sure you have a good handhold.
To lift, straighten your knees and raise from the ground in a smooth, steady motion. Concentrate on keeping your back straight and let your legs do the lifting. Tightening your stomach muscles will help to support your back.
Never bend your back to pick something up.
Once upright do not twist or turn your body, keep your head up and look straight ahead. Focusing upwards will help to keep your back straight.
Carrying the load
Hold the object close to your body and keep it steady with your arms bent, the farther the object is from your body the heavier it will feel.
Keep your feet about shoulder width apart, take short steps and move slowly.
Change direction by turning your feet and once facing in the right direction continue to move forward.
If you are straining or feel tired set the load down and rest for a few minutes.
To lower the object, once again position your feet shoulder width apart, tighten stomach muscles and lower to the ground by bending your knees in a smooth and steady action. Only release your grip when the load is securely set down upon a firm surface.
General lifting advice
Wear gloves to protect your hands and provide better grip.
Use a mechanical aid whenever possible and control using both hands.
When using a lifting aid or trolley always push rather than pull, use your body weight to assist and help control the load.
Use tie-downs where necessary to secure the load.
Notes to Editors
Owned by the French private equity firm Eurazeo, Europcar is the European leader in passenger car and light utility vehicle rentals. Since March 2007 with the acquisition of Vanguard EMEA (National & Alamo brands), its network comprises over 5,300 rental outlets in 160 countries. Europcar serves business and leisure customers throughout Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Latin America and the Asia-Pacific region. Excluding franchise operations, in 2007 Europcar signed more than 10 million rental contracts, with 7,700 employees and a fleet exceeding 215,000 vehicles.
For more information: www.europcar.com
For further press information please contact Cecile Stearn, Elinor Puzey, Louise Fowler or Alison Reeson at HSL, Churcham House, 1 Bridgeman Road, Teddington, Middlesex, TW11 9AJ. Telephone: 020 8977 9132. Fax: 020 8977 5200. firstname.lastname@example.org