The Costs of Not Protecting the Workforce: A New Report from OSHA

Cost of Workplace InjuriesA new report generated by OSHA highlights the real costs associated with on the job injuries, who pays them and how this impacts the employee and taxpayers.

Whether an employee is working on a high-rise building or driving a forklift, employers have the responsibility, and what we feel is an obligation to protect their employees from injury. By investing in training and safety, employers get fewer injuries, lower costs, more productivity and an improved satisfaction which often leads to less turn over. But all companies do not feel that way. Many are finding ways to avoid responsibility for providing safe working conditions for their most dangerous jobs.

The report highlights what some companies do to avoid responsibility and what this does to not only the employee, but his/her family and taxpayers when an accident with injury occurs. Shifting the financial burden however does not make it go away. It shifts it to over-burdened worker’s compensation and government systems. In addition, a worker who is injured can expect to make an average of 15% less income after the injury. And while the creating of OSHA in 1970 by President Nixon has greatly reduced on the job accidents, injuries and deaths dramatically, we still have approximately 4,500 deaths every year due to workplace accidents.

As a full-service forklift dealership, safety is one of our most important topics. Forklifts are dangerous pieces of equipment for the operator and anyone working around the forklift. Forklift Operator Training and Pedestrian Training is not only the law, it is our obligation to those that operate forklifts. While manufacturers work hard to innovate and make them safer, nothing can replace a well trained and cautious operator.

We have posted the Executive Summary of the report on our website and feel it is certainly worth a read. The full report can be found HERE.


Tri-Lift NC Inc. Awarded New Territory by Linde Material Handling

Greensboro, NC, January 9, 2015– Tri-Lift NC Inc. has been just been announced the authorized full line dealership for Linde Material Handling Products in all of North Carolina and 23 counties in South Carolina.

We are very pleased with the announcement and proud to represent such a quality, world-class brand of products in our entire market. We appreciate the confidence that Linde has placed in all of our associates to represent the Linde brand and look forward to a great deal of success for both of our companies. Bob Bond, President, Tri-Lift NC Inc.

Tri-Lift NC Inc. has been representing Linde Material Handling products as the authorized dealership in a portion of North Carolina for over two years. Due to the professional commitment and customer focus demonstrated by the dealership and all of its associates, Linde has expanded Tri-Lift NC’s territory as the authorized full line Linde Material Handling dealer. These additional responsibilities for Linde fit well with Tri-Lift NC’s plans for future growth.

Linde Material Handling, part of the Kion Group, U.S. Headquarters is located at their Summerville, South Carolina manufacturing facility. Linde produces a full line of quality forklifts and material handling equipment.

Tri-Lift NC Inc., based in Greensboro, North Carolina is a full service material handling company with branches in Greensboro, Raleigh, Charlotte, North Carolina and Roanoke, Virginia.

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If you would like more information about this topic, please contact Robert Bond at 336-691-1511 or email at rbond@tri-liftnc.com.


Is Your New Employee Ready to Operate Your Forklifts Under Your Operating Conditions?

So you’re looking for forklift operators, order pickers or materials handling pros. Your new hire checks off on the application “5 years experience operating a forklift.” Is that sufficient for your operation? If so, you’re wading into dangerous waters unless you have a training plan to ensure that this new employee is has sufficient experience and is trained to operate YOUR type of equipment under YOUR set of operational circumstances.

Section 1910.178 of the OSHA forklift standards regarding refresher training requires that any time new equipment or new a new condition is presented in the workplace, that each forklift operator be trained to operate the new equipment and/or operate with the new condition that been presented. Ensuring that your new hire is familiar with your equipment, your attachments and your operating environment is a very important part of maintaining a high level of safety within your facility. It only takes one under-trained operator to create an unsafe environment for everyone in your facility.

With this in mind, we have developed this Tri-Lift Forklift Operator Questionnaire to assist you in assessing your new hire’s exposure to lift equipment and the conditions that lift equipment was operated under. If you have very unique conditions in your facility or operate very unique equipment with attachments that require training, we encourage you to develop additions to this form to ensure you’re fully assessing your new hire’s ability to maintain facility safety.

Our goal is to help you maintain the highest level of safety, productivity and efficiency. Well-trained forklift operators have proven time and time again to be the answer to improved operations.

If you need assistance with forklift operator training, visit our Training Page, then Contact Us or give us a call at 866-393-9833.


When is Forklift Operator Refresher Training Required, and Recommended

By now we all know that anyone that operates lift trucks in your facility MUST be trained to do so. This training needs to be done on YOUR type of equipment, operated in YOUR facility. But when does and operator need to be “refreshed” on forklift operator training, and why? OSHA States:

1910.178(l)(4)(i) – Refresher training, including an evaluation of the effectiveness of that training, shall be conducted as required by paragraph (l)(4)(ii) to ensure that the operator has the knowledge and skills needed to operate the powered industrial truck safely.
1910.178(l)(4)(ii) – Refresher training in relevant topics shall be provided to the operator when:
1910.178(l)(4)(ii)(A) – The operator has been observed to operate the vehicle in an unsafe manner;
1910.178(l)(4)(ii)(B) – The operator has been involved in an accident or near-miss incident;
1910.178(l)(4)(ii)(C) – The operator has received an evaluation that reveals that the operator is not operating the truck safely;
1910.178(l)(4)(ii)(D) – The operator is assigned to drive a different type of truck; or
1910.178(l)(4)(ii)(E) – A condition in the workplace changes in a manner that could affect safe operation of the truck.
1910.178(l)(4)(iii) – An evaluation of each powered industrial truck operator’s performance shall be conducted at least once every three years.

This means that when you hire a new forklift operator, or someone that might operate a forklift for any reason in your facility, you need to find out what type of equipment they have been trained to operate, how and under what conditions. If your new employee previously operated electric order pickers in a distribution setting and your operation utilizes IC forklifts used outdoors, your new employee will need refresher training using your type of equipment under your conditions. This condition would apply under sections D and E as outlined above.

This could also be said for a current employee transferring from another facility that uses different types of attachments or moves different kinds of products. You would need to provide hands-on training and evaluation for your equipment, how to use it, what it does to capacity rating and how to safety maneuver your goods around your facility.

A new employee may have had training at a previous job, using similar equipment under similar conditions. If however, you as a supervisor determine that the new employee is not exhibiting sufficient knowledge of forklift safety, complete training may be an order. OSHA doesn’t address every situation and condition in it’s standard 1910.178, but it is up to us to carefully evaluate our operators on a regular basis and determine if we think refresher training is needed, or if an employee needs to undergo complete training.

Our goal is to help you achieve the safest and most productive workplace in North Carolina. if you feel you could use a partner in Forklift Operator Training, please Contact Us, or give us a call at 866-393-9833.


OSHA Announces 2014 Most Cited Standards

Patrick Kapust, deputy director of OSHA’s Directorate of Enforcement Programs, and Kyle W. Morrison, S+H’s senior associate editor, announced OSHA’s Top 10 list in front of a crowd gathered on the Expo Floor.

For the fourth year in a row, OSHA’s Fall Protection Standard (1926.501) is the agency’s most frequently cited violation.

The entire list is as follows:

  1. Fall Protection in Construction (1926.501)
  2. Hazard Communication (1910.1200)
  3. Scaffolding in Construction (1926.451)
  4. Respiratory Protection (1910.134)
  5. Lockout/Tagout (1910.147)
  6. Powered Industrial Trucks (1910.178)
  7. Electrical – Wiring Methods (1910.305)
  8. Ladders in Construction (1926.1053)
  9. Machine Guarding (1910.212)
  10. Electrical – General Requirements (1910.303)

The data is preliminary. S+H will publish the finalized data.


Long-Term Forklift Rentals Getting More Attention

Conventional wisdom dictated that when you needed a forklift, you look for the best model to fit your operational needs, then arranged financing or purchased the forklift outright. That paradigm seems to be shifting. The reasons aren’t clear to us completely. But it seems that more companies are looking for flexibility and ways to keep cash readily available for use in their growing businesses, instead of tying it up in depreciating equipment that could be obsolete tomorrow.

Long-term renting, unlike leasing puts the owness of maintenance of us, the company renting the forklift. The forklift remains in ownership by the dealer unless there are options otherwise. This flexibility by the equipment owner (us) allows you the renter to budget easily and free yourself of unexpected repairs and service calls. What you’re responsible for can be flexible as well, depending upon your situation and requirements. We can even tailor upgrades for your forklifts should you anticipate business changes that would require alternate equipment.

If you’re looking at forklift equipment acquisition, ask about a long-term rental program for your equipment, then discuss it with your financial adviser to ensure it’s best for your business. Then contact us or give us a call at 866-393-9833 to discuss a plan that fits your operation and budget.


Why Daily Forklift Inspections Improve Your Bottom Line

We’ve addressed proper inspection techniques in this Feature Article some time ago. We even have Inspection Form free to download HERE, copy and use/distribute as needed, to help you perform complete inspections. We even have a VIDEO to help you train your drivers visual how to inspect a forklift before each shift. Beyond the obvious employee safety aspects of having operators thoroughly, what other benefits does your business gain?

Fewer accidents means less down time. Down time equals reduced productivity, which reduces your effectiveness, increases your costs and impacts your bottom line.

Less damage to product, equipment and facility. Forklifts and lift equipment are kept in better working order, less product has to be returned, repaired or tossed out, and your facility needs fewer repairs. All of this equals a healthier bottom line.

Lower worker’s comp and general insurance costs. A business with fewer accidents will generally pay less insurance costs, and certainly lower worker’s comp. insurance.

Improved productivity. Operators that understand how the equipment works, doesn’t work and knows your facilities strengths and weaknesses are more productive employees. Improved productivity equals an improved bottom line.

Increased useful life of your lift equipment. This is a great benefit often overlooked. Just like your car or anything else you own, if you take better care of it, it will last longer and have greater value when you trade it in. Daily inspections and catching small items before they blossom into giant repair headaches increases the useful life and value of your forklifts.

But this is all predicated on an effective and ongoing training program. Having a partner that’s dedicated to training and has experience training forklift operators is the key to an effective program. Visit our Forklift Safety Training Webpage. Contact Us for more information or to speak with someone, just give us a call at 888-393-9833.


4 Good Reasons to Have a Robust Planned Maintenance Program

In any given market, there are many sources to obtain forklift and lift equipment service. Some are “as needed” while others, like Tri-Lift put together a comprehensive plan to perform periodic or “planned” maintenance on forklift fleets all over North Carolina. Forklifts generally do a lot of work, produce a tremendous amount of pressure and heat and internal working parts take a lot of wear on a daily basis. When we talk about planned maintenance to customers, there are many reasons to engage a reliable source, and have a robust program. But it boils down to four main reasons:

  1. Safety – First and foremost, forklifts that are operating within manufacturers normal parameters are safe to operate. Worn chains, forks, tires, brakes or other critical parts can create dire safety hazards and accidents can turn horrible in a moment. In addition, when operators know they are using safely maintained equipment, they are more comfortable, more productive and have a better sense of “having their backs” as company management seeks to provide them with safe equipment to operate.
  2. Lower Costs – Like the old Fram Filter commercial…you can pay me now, or pay me later… usually a LOT more, later. Catching small maintenance issues before they blossom into giant repair headaches reduces your overall costs.
  3. Improved Productivity – Forklifts that are in good working order break down far less than those that are not. Forklifts that don’t break down, spend more time in productive capacity. It also reduces rental forklift needs down time and other hidden costs of break downs.
  4. Increased Equipment Useful Life – If maintained properly a forklift will last longer allowing you to get more “bang for your purchase dollar.”

Of course, none of these will apply unless you’re trusting your maintenance to a provider with a history of professional service, well trained technicians that can show you exactly what is performed on a routine Planned Maintenance visit. A professional company will work with you to set up service intervals that make sense for your operation since no two are exactly alike.

Visit our Planned Maintenance Webpage to learn more about our approach. Then Contact Us or give us a call for a quote tailored to your program.


Would Your Forklift Operator Training Hold Up in Court?

We know that forklift operator training is required by OSHA. While your training may meet OSHA’s requirements, you need to look further to determine if your training is adequate for your operation and would your training hold up in court under the scrutiny of a civil court case.

This article, written by an attorney for Lift and Access Magazine, highlights what trial attorneys will target and the kinds of questions he and his clients have faced in a civil trial. While this article focuses mainly on Aerial Work Platforms, our clients with forklifts face the same exposure if their training doesn’t do more than meet OSHA standards. This article addresses a few particular questions faced in a civil trail where damages are being sought:

  • How long did your training take, and what materials were used?
  • What was the content of the practical exam and could anyone fail?
  • What equipment was used?

With the myriad of different types of forklift equipment our customer use, we must also ask?

  • Are all of your operators trained to use ALL of the different equipment types in your facility?
  • Did you provide facility-specific training for your operators to address all the potential dangers in your facility?
  • Do you have a system to identify when refresher training is needed and is it being followed?
  • Is your program ongoing, or was training a one-time occurrence, and certificates issued?
  • Who performed your training and was the source experienced and credible?

The goal of your training should be not to meet OSHA standards, but to ensure that each of your employees that operates lift equipment, can do so safely and the effort is placed on bringing everyone back to work tomorrow safely.


America’s 10 Most Dangerous Jobs

Training goes a long way in keeping your forklift operators, and pedestrians safe in your facilities. But there are inherent risks in certain vocations that can not be dismissed. According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, following are the 10 most dangerous jobs in America, based on number of deaths per 100,000 employees:

  1. Fishing – 127.3 per 100,000 workers
  2. Logging – 104 per 100,000 workers
  3. Aircraft Pilots and Engineers – 56.1 per 100,000 workers
  4. Refuse and Recycle Material Collectors – 36.4 per 100,000 workers
  5. Job Roofers – 34.1 per 100,000 workers
  6. Structural Iron and Steel Workers – 30.3 per 100,000 workers
  7. Job Helpers, Construction – 26.8 per 100,000 workers
  8. Farmers and Ranchers – 26.1 per 100,000 workers
  9. Truck Drivers – 25.9 per 100,000 workers
  10. Natural Resources and Mining – 22.1 per 100,000 workers

While forklift operator did not make the list, and we’re thankful, training goes a long way to ensure your employee safety and reduce product damage and loss.

Visit our Forklift Operator Safety Training Webapge, then contact us to discuss a training program for your operators at 800-929-0561.