The hot summer months are upon us. With increased heat and humidity workers become more susceptible to heat related illnesses. Workers that are not accustomed to working in the heat can quickly become ill, experience heat stroke which can lead to serious illness and even death. There are a few things to keep in mind about heat related illness and what you can do to help prevent it in your material handling and warehousing operations.
Train your employees about the dangers of heat related illnesses. OSHA has excellent training information and materials to help you relate this information to all of your employees that work in the heat. Part of that training should be to recognize the symptoms of heat related illnesses and to act upon them immediately. Never shun it off and continue working. The symptoms exist for a reason!
Understand that all employees are not equally able to resist the heat. Employees should be able to assess their own conditioning, how they handle heat. Employees that are taking certain prescriptions or have certain chronic illnesses, like diabetes, need to pay special attention to how they feel while working. Employees that are new to outdoor jobs are some of the most susceptible to heat related illnesses. Try to ease them into the normal workload gradually, until you’re confident they are acclimated.
Improve Access to Water
Provide additional water stations during the hotter months, at more convenient locations and encourage employees to drink water every 15 minutes or so, based on temperature. Never wait until you are thirsty to start re-hydrating.
Give them a Break
Provide for more frequent breaks. In the long-run employees will be more productive in the heat if they are getting proper rest to allow their bodies to cool down and keeping themselves better hydrated during these breaks.
Be More Shady
For employees working outdoors provide areas to escape the sun for their breaks. Some install series of smaller pop-up style protection, others will rent large more permanent tent-style protection for workers to get a short respite from the sun. Exposure to the sun increases body heat, heart rate, perspiration and likelyhood of heat exhaustion.
Proper ventilation and air movement inside your warehouse or material handling facility is very important in keeping the temperature at safe levels and you workers cool. Ceiling fans, screen doors for warehouse dock doors, and roof vents are great ways to keep your facility comfortable and more productive.
OSHA has provided a wealth of information to help you provide a safe atmosphere to deal with summer heat. While OSHA does not have a standard pertaining to preventing heat illnesses, it is up to us to be sure we have done everything that we can do to help our employees stay safe and avoid heat related illnesses.
Well trained and equipped employees are more productive employees. Keeping them safe from the heat during the summer months ensures better productivity for tomorrow and years beyond. But it is up to us as the employers to be sure they are prepared to related and act accordingly to ensure their own safety.
While aerial lifts are used frequently at construction, warehousing, and many other job sites, they can pose potentially fatal hazards to workers. Aerial devices include boom-supported aerial platforms, such as cherry pickers or bucket trucks, aerial ladders and vertical towers.
The major causes of injuries and fatalities are falls, electrocutions, and collapses or tip-overs, such as the one that killed Kevin Miranda in Taunton, Mass., on Aug. 18, 2015. Skyline Contracting and Roofing Corp. was fined more than $100,000 after OSHA inspectors found that the aerial lift was positioned on unleveled ground and determined that the company had not trained Miranda to recognize this hazard.
Learn about the fall-related risks and recommended safe work practices associated with this equipment by visiting the new NIOSH Aerial Lifts webpage. The page includes a Hazard Recognition Simulator designed to help you acclimate to aerial lift operation. Additional resources on aerial lift safety are available from OSHA.
One way to improve your aerial lift safety is to be sure your operators are thoroughly trained to operate aerial lifts, based on the kind you operate and the conditions and terrain you operate them under. Visit our training page to learn more about our training programs.
Making sure your aerial lifts are operating safety is to put them on a regular maintenance schedule. It doesn’t take much to make a safe aerial lift become very unsafe. Damaged tires, hydraulic lines, worn parts etc…are all ways to increase the dangers of operating your aerial lifts. Visit our service page to learn more about our service program.s
To speak to us about your aerial lift safety and service, please contact us or give us a call at 866-393-9833.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced the preliminary Top 10 most frequently cited workplace safety violations for fiscal year 2015. Patrick Kapust, deputy director of OSHA’s Directorate of Enforcement Programs, presented the Top 10 on the Expo floor as part of the 2015 NSC Congress & Expo, the world’s largest gathering of safety professionals.
“In injury prevention, we go where the data tell us to go,” said National Safety Council President and CEO Deborah A.P. Hersman. “The OSHA Top 10 list is a roadmap that identifies the hazards you want to avoid on the journey to safety excellence.”
The Top 10 for FY 2015* are:
- Fall Protection (1926.501) – 6,721
- Hazard Communication (1910.1200) – 5,192
- Scaffolding (1926.451) – 4,295
- Respiratory Protection (1910.134) – 3,305
- Lockout/Tagout (1910.147) – 3,002
- Powered Industrial Trucks (1910.178) – 2,760
- Ladders (1926.1053) – 2,489
- Electrical – Wiring Methods (1910.305) – 2,404
- Machine Guarding (1910.212) – 2,295
- Electrical – General Requirements (1910.303) – 1,973
As you can see, forklifts and lift equipment is high on OSHA’s lists of citations. One way to avoid citations pertaining to your forklift fleet is to ensure you’re following OSHA’s regulations regarding powered industrial trucks (lift trucks), that your fleet is being properly and regularly maintained and that your forklift operators have received adequate training, and that the training is up-to-date.
If you’re unsure of your fleet’s condition or your operator’s training status, contact us at 866-393-9833 and we will help you ensure you do not end up on OSHA’s list of citations!
Violence in the workplace often erupts without warning, and can have tragic results. Taking steps to prevent these situations can improve safety in your workplace, improve employee satisfaction and lead to increased productivity. Conversely, ignoring potential hazards can result in employee injury, even death — and legal action at considerable costs to the company.
OSHA has outlined five steps you can take to identify and prevent these violent encounters before they happen. While they are not directly related to materials handling operations, we feel these guidelines can apply to a wide variety of organizations, including your company.
Management Commitment and Employee Participation
As with any initiative, without the commitment of management and leadership, the rank-and-file of the organization will likely ignore any efforts to improve safety with regards to violence. Company leadership must be involved on a regular basis and visibly endorse the effort. This can be achieved by establishing a safety and health committee, and having leadership rotate in and out of meetings conducted by the committee.
Management must articulate a policy and establish goals for the company. Once a plan has been developed, leadership should allocate sufficient resources to accomplish the goals and uphold program performance expectations. Providing resources could entail meetings with health professionals to help identify potential hazards, creating visible signage and using other communication methods to keep workers involved in and aware of the program.
Worksite Analysis and Hazard Identification
There are probably facets of your operation that are prone to producing higher anxiety or tension among your employees. These could be actual physical conditions such as heat, cold, and hazardous areas as well as departments that demand high productivity, or even interaction with the public. Taking stock of these areas and identifying factors that are the least or most likely to create a stressful atmosphere are key to prevention. Two steps you can take to identify and prevent violence include:
- Conducting job hazard analysis – Management can conduct surveys of their departments to assess the potential risk of violence among employees. This not only includes internal assessments, but assessments of destinations to which your employees may travel, including specific neighborhoods, time of day, etc. Sites that expose your employees to violent behavior are often outside the walls of your facility.
- Conduct employee surveys – Employees will often tell you if their jobs create stressful situations for them and if they feel endangered by some of their job tasks. Conduction of reviews on a regular basis will help you identify these areas and create a plan to reduce danger.
Hazard Prevention and Control
Once management has established and articulated its commitment, and evaluations have taken place, a plan to reduce potential hazards must be implemented. This step includes:
- Identification and evaluation of control options for workplace hazards
- Selection of effective and feasible controls to eliminate or reduce hazards
- Implementation of these controls
- Follow up to confirm these controls are being used and maintained
- Evaluate effectiveness and improve, expand or update these controls as needed
Safety and Health Training
As with any program you want to succeed, employees must be trained in order to follow the steps outlined by the company to identify and report these risks and follow up as needed.
This training could include meetings with mental health experts to help identify signs of stress in colleagues that could lead to violence. It also can include training on how to avoid violence outside your facility by taking common-sense actions (such as parking under a street lamp), what to do if an employee feels threatened and even self-defense training. Other training topics can include:
- The company’s workplace policy on violence prevention
- Documentation and reporting
- Location, operation and coverage of safety devices such as alarms
- Ways to identify and deal with hostile situations
- A standard response plan for violent situations
Recordkeeping and Program Evaluation
Recordkeeping includes reporting procedures, what gets reported and to whom, and how these records are kept. Keeping track of both “close calls” and actual events helps you identify patterns, areas of particular concern and even certain job functions that might be creating undue stress on employees. It can help you identify areas outside your facility that present a danger to your employees, such as areas of town they serve.
OSHA Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses (OSHA Form 300) can help you organize information not only for reporting to your proper internal sources but also for reporting to OSHA if necessary. As of January 2015, all employers must report:
- All work-related fatalities within 8 hours
- All work-related inpatient hospitalizations, all amputations and all losses of an eye within 24 hours
Injuries sustained as a result of assault must be entered on the log if they meet OSHA’s recording criteria (CFR Part 1904, revised 2014).
Keeping track helps you improve your program, improve employee safety and ensure your employees are operating in a safe and productive work environment.
We hope this summary is helpful to you in establishing your own workplace violence prevention plan. To learn more about what you can do, download the complete “Guidelines for Preventing Workplace Violence) by OSHA, HERE. While it was prepared for healthcare and social service workers, the overall content of this guide can assist any company, big or small, in achieving a safer work environment for all.
The Industrial Truck Association has announced it’s second annual Forklift Safety Day, to be held June Tuesday, June 9. You can register to attend the event, held in Washington, DC. While most of you won’t be able to attend, there are things you can do to take advantage of this day to help create awareness about the dangers that forklifts present and how to minimize the potential for accidents that can result in injury or death, damage to your facility, equipment and financial losses. We’ve compiled a short list of things you can do on June 9th to improve safety on and around your forklifts.
- Make sure all your forklift operators have been trained and that their refresher training is up to date, if applicable or necessary.
- Take time to teach your forklift operators the importance of daily inspections of their forklifts. Daily inspections reduce the risk of equipment failure and catch small problems before they blossom into giant ones. You can download daily forklift inspection sheets for both IC forklifts and electric forklifts.
- Download and post our free forklift safety posters for:
- Take some time to gather any staff that operates around forklifts, but not on them, to refresh them about the dangers of this equipment and how to be sure to use safe procedures when they are in an area of your facility where forklifts are being operated.
- Make sure all your forklift’s maintenance is up to date. If you have a Planned Maintenance Agreement, this would be a good time to review it with your service provider to ensure all standard checkpoints as well as unique equipment attachments are being inspected and maintained properly.
- Review any unique “site specific” features your facility may have and be sure your operators are aware of proper handling of equipment while on or around these features (ramps, areas where floors can be slick, floor substrates that vary etc…)
- Make sure that training is part of your company’s orientation for anyone that will or MIGHT operate a forklift. Remember, employees that have not been properly trained aren’t even allowed to sit on and start a forklift, much less move it out of the way of anything.
- Make sure you forklifts have proper safety equipment and that it’s operating properly. Lights, horns, back-up alarms, seat belts, fire extinguishers etc… Improve pedestrian safety, check out our Blue Spot Safety Light by Linde.
- Make sure you have lock-out kits to ensure that forklifts that do not pass an inspection are locked out immediately until repairs are made.
- Review all your forklifts for possible replacement. Old forklifts, or those that are getting “up there” in hours, might be potential threats. Review safety records and maintenance logs for your equipment. You might find this could be a good time to replace some or even all of your forklifts.-
Our goal is to help you operate safe, efficient and productive forklift equipment. To discuss forklift safety, operator training –or to get a quote on new equipment, please give us a call at 866-393-9833.
Training is one of the most important functions of any manager. From top to the bottom levels of an organization, employees that are well-trained to do their jobs perform them better, are more efficient and make greater contributions to the bottom line of the organization. When we discuss forklift operator training with our clients there are three essentials they must commit to in order to take full advantage of the training we provide. This of course transcends forklift operator training and could apply to training in about any other function within your organization.
Planning – Setting out on any quest, whether it’s comprehensive training or how your department will function, doing so without a plan, even a simple one will leave you wandering in the wilderness, drifting from one program to another, no sure if what you’re doing contributes or detracts from your quest.
Put together a plan, including what you want to accomplish, the steps it will take to get there and what you will do to maintain the levels of training you provide as well as what you will do to take it to each “next level” once you have attained your planned levels of training.
Time – Nothing happens overnight, there is no magic elixir for time and practice committed to your plan. You can expand or contract the time it takes based upon your level and amount of training provided to do the job. Time can be your commitment personally or the time commitment of external or outsourced training. Either way, it takes time with the trainer, then time practicing the skills by the employee to hone them to an efficient and effective state. We have addressed how people learn in our Feature Article “Training vs. Teaching; Knowing the Differences.”
Resources – Time is one of your most valuable resources in any organization and we have addressed the need for that above. But you must also provide the resources for effective training. This can include time with a skilled trainer, a location to provide and practice the skills, equipment needed to learn and practice on as well as materials needed to support the training efforts.
Providing comprehensive ongoing training is an investment in your employees, your organization, and your bottom line performance. The results are usually commensurate with the levels of each of the three essentials we’ve listed and it is rare that results oppose the efforts. Invest in your bottom line with complete and professional training and watch the results, over time, compound for your company.
Like anything else in life, whether it’s your car, your home or even your body, planning and conducting preventive maintenance creates long-term benefits that are well worth the investment. Why would your forklift and other materials handling equipment be any different?
There are many benefits of properly maintaining your forklift fleet and other equipment. We however have seen five major benefits that our customers have enjoyed. Planned Maintenance will:
Lower Your Maintenance Costs
Proactive and preventive maintenance has proven to lower costs by catching small
service issues before they blossom into giant repair headaches.
Improve Useful Equipment Life
Equipment that serviced regularly doesn’t have to be “turned over” as frequently. This lowers your
equipment costs over time.
Equipment that is well maintained, doesn’t break down. This improves productivity as well as your
bottom line performance.
Increase Residual Values
When you trade-in your equipment, or sell it to purchase new equipment, well maintained equipment
has proven to have higher values than equipment serviced on an “as needed” basis.
Enhance Facility Safety
Equipment failures can have catastrophic consequences. Properly maintaining your
equipment will improve operator safety, as well as those that work around your equipment.
Having the right partner in maintaining your equipment is as important as selecting the right doctor for your physical. Our trained, experienced technicians perform thousands of Planned Maintenance service calls each year. Learn more about Planned Maintenance, then Contact Us or give us a call at 866-393-9833 for a tailored plan for your equipment and operation.