Five Things You Can do to Prevent Workplace Violence

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.


Welcome to Our New Full-Service Facility in Charlotte North Carolina

Charlotte Branch - smSince 1968, Tri-Lift NC, has served the Carolinas and now we are proud to announce that our full-service material handling facility in Charlotte is now open and ready for business!

Our 18,000 square-foot, state-of-the-art facility is located close to Douglas International Airport, with easy access to I-77 and I-85. This strategic location is significant in that it gives us a permanent presence in Charlotte and allows us to service our South Carolina clients and sourthern North Carolina customers from this facility.

In additions to representing Linde Material Handling forklifts, CLARK forklifts and UniCarriers forklifts from this facility, it also boasts a full-stocked parts department staffed by trained, experienced forklift parts personnel.

Our new facility’s forklift service department touts factory trained and certified forklift technicians as well as fully equipped service vans for full-service mobile forklift service and repair.

To meet your forklift and material handling rental needs, we have a large forklift rental fleet ready to go, including access to our entire company’s rental fleet with numerous long-term rental and short-term rental programs to meet your needs.

You can find us at 2421 Executive Street, Charlotte, NC 28208. Give our highly-trained, customer-focused branch personnel a call at 800-929-0561.


Three Essentials of Effective Training

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.


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.


5 Major Benefits of Planned Preventive Maintenance on Your Materials Handling Equipment

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.

Increased Productivity
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.


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.


ITA Announces First Annual Forklift Safety Day

Industrial Truck Association's First Annual Event

                             Industrial Truck Association’s First Annual Event

National Forklift Safety Day, sponsored by the Industrial Truck Association, will serve as a focal point for manufacturers to highlight the safe use of forklifts and importance of operator training. This day provides an opportunity for the industry to educate customers, policymakers and the administration on forklift operating safety practices.

This day, designated by the ITA as the first of its kind is a great opportunity to not only review safe forklift operation with your drivers, but to anyone that comes to your facility, including customers, vendors, friends and/or family. We sometimes forget that forklift safety extends far beyond safe operation of a lift truck and that anyone that might be in the vicinity of one at your facility, or anywhere in the world, needs to know how dangerous a forklift can be, and to be aware at all times.

OSHA enforces regulations regarding the manufacture and operation of industrial trucks. The Industrial Truck Standards Development Foundation (ITSDF), which is accredited by ANSI, and UL (Underwriters Laboratories Inc.) develop the safety standards for designing and manufacturing industrial trucks. National Forklift Safety Day will provide greater awareness of safe practices and in turn encourage safer behavior. Click Here to learn more about the event. Learn more about our forklift operator safety training programs.


Four Reasons to Consider Electric Forklifts

Slowly but surely, electric forklifts are carrying more of the daily material handling load. Some of the reasons are obvious, but it is clear to most that eventually we must do more than continue to burn fossil fuels in the transportation of our products. We still have a ways to go before electric forklifts can perform all the tasks as well as their LP forklift counterparts. However, most forklift manufacturers are improving performance and outdoor durability with each passing year. It is only a matter of time before they catch up.  There a good reasons for this transfer of power, a few major reasons are:

  1. Reduced maintenance costs – Electric forklifts have fewer moving parts than their internal combustion counterparts. Fewer parts, means reduced maintenance, which results in a considerable reduction in maintenance.
  2. Greatly reduced environmental impact – Electric forklifts not only greatly, if not eliminate emissions, there are other environmental benefits including, no engine coolant to dispose of or purchase, no engine oil or transmission fluid to do the same.
  3. Improved ergonomics and working environment – Electric forklifts are quieter with nearly no vibrations to deal with. This provides a more comfortable operating atmosphere for your forklift operators as well as the rest of the personnel that work around your lift trucks.
  4. Supply chain trends to go green – Every year, more and more companies are encouraging if not outright requiring their suppliers to improve their impact on the environment and electric forklifts are one of the major steps that companies are taking to do so.

While we have some work to do, it’s pretty clear that electric forklifts are making great strides to become a mainstay in materials handling equipment. Check out our line-up of Linde 80 Volt Electric Forklifts, and our Clark 80 Volt GEX Electric Forklifts.Call us for more information or a quote today and start improving your environmental impact and your bottom line!