We have received the sad news that Australian aerial lift and telehandler veteran David Single has passed away following a long battle with cancer. He was 68.
For the past seven years or so he has worked as an industry safety consultant, interspersed with spells in hospital from where he would continue to work. He was a regular contributor to Vertikal.net in terms of information, ideas, suggestions and from time to time constructive and well-founded criticism.
The news of his passing came overnight when his son Neil posted this message: “Dad passed away this afternoon after a long battle with illness. He asked me to write this post after his death and to thank everyone for their friendship and support over the years. He will be missed terribly.”
David Single began his access career as national service manager with Crown Equipment based in Sydney, initially with forklifts and lift trucks, but then moved into Crown Access Equipment division, which at the time included Talon Access Equipment. He also helped set up Crown’s service operations in Singapore. In 1990 Crown sold Talon to Snorkel to become Talon Snorkel and Single moved with it, becoming operations manager. His role included product development for Australia and Asia, as well as responsibility for the service, training and technical support teams in the region.
In 2004 he joined JLG Australia with responsibility for new product development, product marketing, sales and training before being promoted to national service manager in 2007. He also played a significant role in the development and refinement of the Australian Standards for telehandlers and assisted with the Singapore aerial lift standards. During his time with JLG, he served as vice president of the newly formed Telescopic Handler Association (TSHA).
In 2014 he was obliged to retire from his job at JLG and speaking at the time, he said: “I have retired from JLG as international and interstate travel has become extremely difficult after complications after back surgery. JLG is fantastic company that gave me every advantage and opportunity to grow the stature and respect of myself and JLG within the development of Australian Standards and development of Standards and Codes of Practice in other regional countries. The opportunity to have access to regulators to discuss issues affecting our powered access and telehandler industry and starting from my Snorkel days to continue the product training with regulators and include the other manufacturers in the process has allowed a better understanding and interaction with the regulators. This really proves the quote, "the sure way to miss success is to miss the opportunity". To gain the success with the regulators and other industry groups, we first need to make the opportunity.”
Shortly after becoming an independent consultant, Australia’s Elevating Work Platform Association (EWPA) made him concept leader for the ‘EWP Incident Investigation Document Australia’. Speaking of the task when it was completed in 2015, he said: "We identified the need for a document similar to those used by airline investigators, for inspecting or investigating an aerial lift incident. There are many ‘experts’ around Australia, and their investigation experience needs to be used provide a competent investigation checklist document. With the go ahead from the EWPA, my task was to bring together a group of EWP industry experts to develop and complete the ‘EWP Incident Investigation Document’. This has been completed and ready for release by the EWPA at the Adelaide 2015 HRIA Conference.”
“I thank all the industry persons that provided input, support and reviewed the document. For the guys that came to my home as travel for me is difficult, and provided personal support, I thank you all. During a difficult personal time dealing with the two cancers at once and anaemia, the hospital visits, and early forced retirement at 61, this project has been a great distraction, even though I was the instigator before the news of cancer was confirmed. Sitting in a hospital bed with a laptop and working out details of the document has been a great distraction. My wife has been so patient with me invading her space, being stuck at home. Now it is on with the adaption of the document for other markets.”
David Single was a very special person, he knew the aerial lift industry inside out and was one of the foremost experts on safe use and safety standards. While he had a complete command of the theoretical side, and incredibility diligent he was also very practical and rooted in the real world of getting the job done.
On top of all this he was a thoroughly decent and open human being. Although he was tough and to the point and could curse with the best of them at the sight of abuse and misuse of aerial lifts, he was truly a nice person. His passing will be mourned by the hundreds of industry people around the world that knew or worked with him over the years. The industry has lost a class act.