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.
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.
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.
- 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.
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:
- Fishing – 127.3 per 100,000 workers
- Logging – 104 per 100,000 workers
- Aircraft Pilots and Engineers – 56.1 per 100,000 workers
- Refuse and Recycle Material Collectors – 36.4 per 100,000 workers
- Job Roofers – 34.1 per 100,000 workers
- Structural Iron and Steel Workers – 30.3 per 100,000 workers
- Job Helpers, Construction – 26.8 per 100,000 workers
- Farmers and Ranchers – 26.1 per 100,000 workers
- Truck Drivers – 25.9 per 100,000 workers
- 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.
OSHA has an excellent eTool for powered industrial trucks. One of the most useful components is their outline for a successful forklift operator training program. Below are the major components.
- Types, Features and Physics
- Inspecting the Vehicle
- Driving the Truck
- Load Handling
- LPG Lift Trucks
- Battery and Charging
- Safety Concerns
- Specific Truck and Workplace Training (Hands-On)
- Certification of Completion of the Course