Until recently, standard practice was that pipe rail trolleys moved automatically and only stopped when the brake was applied. However, since the beginning of 2016, the use of pipe rail trolleys with this kind of automatic propulsion system is banned by the Dutch labour inspectorate. This meant a radical change for Dutch horticulturists, which were used to work with these pipe rail trolleys for many years. Reason for the ban was a number of accidents where automatically moving pipe rail trolleys were involved.

Foot pedal for pipe rail trolleys

The Dutch labour inspectorate contacted Dutch horticulturists by mail, to inform them about adjustments that could be made in order to comply with the new safety regulations. The result is that nowadays most pipe rail trolleys only start to move when a foot pedal is activated. However, this is a solution that many horticulturists dread.The ‘foot pedal method’ has a significant disadvantage over the automatically propelled pipe rail trolleys. Labourers are standing on pipe rail trolleys for hours on end and because pipe rail trolleys are moving most of the time, continually pressing a foot pedal causes physical stress. The result is a rise in stress injuries among greenhouse labourers.

Solutions

To find a solution for the problem as described above, the organizations LTO Glaskracht and Stigas contacted a manufacturer of pipe rail trolleys, to see if this manufacturer could come up with a different approach in meeting the new safety regulations. Unfortunately, no solution was found. Therefore, LTO Glaskracht has contacted the labour inspectorate and demanded a more proactive attitude from the different manufacturers of pipe rail trolleys.In the meantime, LTO Glaskracht tries to move the labour inspectorate into tolerating automatically moving pipe rail trolleys, until a sustainable solution is found. This would mean that horticulturists should be able to decide for themselves if they install a foot pedal on their pipe rail trolleys or not.

Our take on the problem

In practise, pressing a foot pedal to keep the pipe rail trolley moving is not a good solution from an ergonomically point of view. We also think that it has a significantly negative influence on the workflow of the greenhouse labourers. Therefore, in our opinion, pipe rail trolleys that move automatically are the best solution.However, as our customer, we leave the choice to you. Every pipe rail trolley in our large assortment is completely customizable. You can decide for yourself if we equip your pipe rail trolley with a foot pedal to accelerate or to brake.