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.
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.
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:
- Fall Protection in Construction (1926.501)
- Hazard Communication (1910.1200)
- Scaffolding in Construction (1926.451)
- Respiratory Protection (1910.134)
- Lockout/Tagout (1910.147)
- Powered Industrial Trucks (1910.178)
- Electrical – Wiring Methods (1910.305)
- Ladders in Construction (1926.1053)
- Machine Guarding (1910.212)
- Electrical – General Requirements (1910.303)
The data is preliminary. S+H will publish the finalized data.
Although OSHA requires a pre-shift operational inspection of each piece of forklift equipment, we have found that many companies do not perform them. This practice exposes companies to fines should an OSHA inspection take place. It also puts your company at risk of liability should an accident take place due to a faulty piece of equipment. These two reasons alone should cause most to re-think their pre-shift inspection policy. We suggest a third, very important reason to conduct pre-shift inspections. Catching small maintenance issues is far more cost effective than letting them blossom into giant repair headaches.
Now, don’t get us wrong. We won’t turn down big shop jobs that cost thousands of dollars and were more than ready to perform them for anyone that contacts us. The facts are we have heard many times form clients who conduct regular inspections about damaged hydraulic hoses, tires about to come apart, loose fan belts…and other things that are not reported until a failure occurs. As it often can be when these major failures occur we end up picking your truck up and bringing it back to your shop instead of making the smaller repair at your facility that led to a much more expensive failure.
Like any preventative measures, inspections take a little time, but can pay off big in the long run. For more information on pre-shift inspections please visit the OSHA Powered Industrial Truck website. If you need a pre-shift inspection form you can get it free. Click here for Electric Truck Pre-Shift Inspection Form and here for IC Truck Pre-Shift Inspection Form. And remember, if you find anything not operating properly follow OSHA’s requirement by locking the truck out of service and reporting it to maintenance or call us for service at 866-393-9733.
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.
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.
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.
|History has taught us that quality, safety and productivity result from the setting of and adherence to high standards. Although OSHA has at times, been a much-maligned agency, the results on workplace safety speak for themselves. Their setting of high standards for workplace safety has resulted in a dramatic drop in worker injury and death. Their agency has also made a tremendous effort to not only create and enforce high standards of safety, but also to provide education and information to actually help companies in their efforts to create a safe and productive workplace. Below are the results.
Much of the ground that has been made in workplace safety is a result of creation and enforcement of strict workplace safety. These standards are enforced through a consistent measure of inspections. Many standards called for requirements of employers to provide a wide variety of PPE’s (Personal Protective Equipment) not previously required by employers.
While there have been times that OSHA and it’s many regulations have seemed like a burden, and indeed they can be. No one can discredit the results. One of the most important tasks we take on as employers is the duty to bring all of our employees back safely to work, tomorrow.
- Fall protection, construction (29 CFR 1926.501)
- Hazard communication standard, general industry (29 CFR 1910.1200)
- Scaffolding, general requirements, construction (29 CFR 1926.451)
- Respiratory protection, general industry (29 CFR 1910.134)
- Control of hazardous energy (lockout/tagout), general industry (29 CFR 1910.147)
- Powered industrial trucks, general industry (29 CFR 1910.178)
- Electrical, wiring methods, components and equipment, general industry (29 CFR 1910.305)
- Ladders, construction (29 CFR 1926.1053)
- Machines, general requirements, general industry (29 CFR 1910.212)
- Electrical systems design, general requirements, general industry (29 CFR 1910.303)
As you can see, powered industrial trucks received frequent citations from OSHA. Be sure your fleet is safely maintained and your operators are trained. Learn more about our Service and Training Capabilities, then give us a call. We would appreciate the opportunity to work with you to make your operation safer, more productive and more profitable.
When you’re working in the heat, safety comes first. With the OSHA Heat Safety Tool, you have vital safety information available whenever and wherever you need it – right on your mobile phone.
The App allows workers and supervisors to calculate the heat index for their worksite, and, based on the heat index, displays a risk level to outdoor workers. Then, with a simple “click,” you can get reminders about the protective measures that should be taken at that risk level to protect workers from heat-related illness-reminders about drinking enough fluids, scheduling rest breaks, planning for and knowing what to do in an emergency, adjusting work operations, gradually building up the workload for new workers, training on heat illness signs and symptoms, and monitoring each other for signs and symptoms of heat-related illness. Visit OSHA to learn more and download the app for your Android, iPhone or iPad.