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Personal Protection - Storage, Maintenance and Care (Sep/Oct-12)
Machine Safeguarding (Jul/Aug-12)
Is Your Lockout & Tagout Program Working? (May/Jun-12)
Getting Familiar with OSHA (Mar/Apr-12)
Is Your Piping Systems Properly Marked? (Jan/Feb-12)
Accident Prevention, Does Your Company Have An Effective Program? (Nov/Dec-11)
Defining FR – Flame Resistant Fabrics (Jul/Aug-11)
OSHA's Flammable & Combustible Liquids (May/Jun-11)
Safety & Health Program Check-up (Jan/Feb-11)
OSHA Is My Friend (Nov/Dec-10)
OSHA Standard for Control of Hazardous Energy Sources? (Sep/Oct-10)
Lockout/Tagout Program (Jul/Aug-10)
Safe Handling of Compressed Gas Cylinders (May/Jun-10)
What You Should Know about OSHA and Plastic Working Machinery (Mar/Apr-10)
Fasten Those Forklift Seat Belts (Jan/Feb-10)
My Back Hurts (Nov/Dec-09)
Fall Protection Program (Sep/Oct-09)
Accident Prevention & Investigation (Jul/Aug-09)
OSHA & Machine Safeguarding (May/Jun-09)
Carbon Monoxide Hazards (Mar/Apr-09)
OSHA Electrical Safety and Training (Jan/Feb-09)
Free Forklift ANSI Standards (Nov/Dec-08)
Worksite Fire Emergencies (Sep/Oct-08)
Machine Safety (Jul/Aug-08)
Ladder Safety (May/Jun-08)
Is Your Company on OSHA's Hit List?
OSHA Notifies Workplaces with High Injury and Illness Rates (Mar/Apr-08)
Safety Means . . . Never Having to Say You're Sorry (Jan/Feb-08)
Flammables and Combustible Liquids (Nov/Dec-07)
Designing-In Safety NOT Retrofitting Safety (Sep/Oct-07)
Back Safety and Lifting (Jul/Aug-07)
Machine Guarding (May/Jun-07)
Your Hearing Keep it for a Lifetime (Mar/Apr-07)
Light Up the Holidays the Safe Way (Nov/Dec-06)
Would You Risk Your Employee's Life? (Sep/Oct-06)
How to Control Workers' Compensation Costs (Jul/Aug-06)
Compliance with 70E Electrical Standards (May/Jun-06)
OSHA Is on the Move (Mar/Apr-06)
Workplace Violence (Jan/Feb-06)
The Aging Workforce (Nov/Dec-05)
The Safety Paradox (Sep/Oct-05)
Machine Guarding (Jul/Aug-05)
Effective Risk Management (May/Jun-05)
Safety Is Everyone's Business (Mar/Apr-05)
New Year's Resolution Safety (Jan/Feb-05)
Safe Driving (Nov/Dec-04)
Terror In The Skies Revisited (Sep/Oct-04)
How They Got Hurt (Jul/Aug-04)
In-Plant Air Monitoring & Analysis (May/Jun-04)
Safety on the Job and Complying with the Americans With Disabilities Act (Mar/Apr-04)
Link to Article Archive (Jan/Feb-04)
A Supervisor's Duty (Nov/Dec-03)
Machine Safety – Are Your Machines Safe to Operate? (Sep/Oct-03)
Summer is Here (Jul/Aug-03)
Working Safely On Powered Industrial Trucks (Forklifts) (May/Jun-03)
Does Your Safety and Health Workplace Program Contain All of These Elements? (Mar/Apr-03)
Methylene Chloride (Jan/Feb-03)
Safety Signs & Labels - Does Your Facility Comply? (Nov/Dec-02)
Indoor Air Quality (Sep/Oct-02)
When OSHA Arrives (Jul/Aug-02)
Facts About the Occupation Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) (May/Jun-02)
Workplace Fire Safety (Mar/Apr-02)
OSHA 300 Form (Jan/Feb-02)
Preparing for Disaster (Nov/Dec-01)
How Much is a Life Worth? (Sep/Oct-01)
Material Handling Programs (Jul/Aug-01)
It's Up To You To Protect Your Skin (May/Jun-01)
When You’ve Been Handed the Responsibility for Safety (Mar/Apr-01)
A Fresh Look at Machine Safeguarding (Jan/Feb-01)
Safe Work Habits (Nov/Dec-00)
The Importance of Material Safety Data Sheets (Sep/Oct-00)
Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response (Jul/Aug-00)
Lockout/Tagout Program (May/Jun-00)
OSHA Violations, Citations and Penalties for 1998 (Mar/Apr-00)
Erogonomics and Machinery Safeguarding (Jan/Feb-00)
General Machine Principles (Nov/Dec-99)
SAFETY SOLUTIONS
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SAFETY SOLUTIONS: Working Safely On Powered Industrial Trucks (Forklifts)

Recently I have been contacted by several attorneys who were interested in retaining me to be an expert witness on their industrial powered trucks accident cases. Two cases involved other employees being injured by operators on these types of vehicles.

With this in mind, I thought that I would re-visit this issue. It’s hard to imagine what warehouses were like in the days before forklifts. Forklifts have made it possible to handle and transport heavy loads quickly and hopefully safely to a designated location. As many of you are aware, forklifts can also be dangerous to people and property if operated incorrectly.

The American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) defines a powered industrial truck as a mobile, power-propelled truck used to carry, push, pull, lift, stack or tier materials. Powered industrial trucks are also commonly known as forklifts, pallet trucks, rider trucks, fork-trucks or lift-trucks.

Each year, tens of thousands of forklift-related injuries occur in U.S. workplaces. Injuries usually involve employees being struck by lift trucks or falling while standing or working from elevated pallets and tines. Many employees are injured when lift trucks are inadvertently driven off loading docks or when the lift falls between a dock and an un-chocked trailer. Most incidents also involve property damage, including damage to overhead sprinklers, racking, pipes, walls, machinery and other equipment. Unfortunately, a majority of employee injuries and property damage can be attributed to lack of procedures, insufficient or inadequate training and/or lack of safety-rule enforcement.

Most forklift accidents result from operator error, or a term I prefer to use, a program management failure. It is crucial that management be resolute that no employees operate powered industrial trucks unless they have received specific training on the type of forklift they will be operating. Another critical element in the reduction in industrial truck accidents and incidents is the operatorsí manual training; each employer must enforce this process for each employee required to utilize a powered industrial truck.

OSHA has updated their standards and developed new requirements for operator training and operations. This newer revision of the OSHA standard can be found in 29 CFR 1910. 178, or you can access it from the web by going to www.osha.gov and then click on the general industry standard part 1278. There you will find all of the safety requirements. This standard requires that the employer ensure that each powered industrial truck operator is competent to operate a powered industrial truck safely, as demonstrated by the successful completion of the training and evaluation specified in OSHA’s standard.

This training consists of a combination of formal instruction (e.g., lecture, discussion, interactive computer learning, video tape and written material), practical training (demonstrations performed by the trainer and practical exercises performed by the trainee) and evaluation of the operator’s performance in the workplace. Persons who have the knowledge, training and experience to train powered industrial truck operators and evaluate their competence conduct all operator training and evaluation.

Daily inspections are mandatory and if you change operators they should be required to perform a visual inspection of the machine. OSHA states: “Industrial trucks shall be examined before being placed in service, and shall not be placed in service if the examination shows any condition adversely affecting the safety of the vehicle. Such examination shall be made at least daily. Where industrial trucks are used on a round-the-clock basis, they shall be examined after each shift. Defects when found shall be immediately reported and corrected.”

Industrial trucks shall be kept in a clean condition, free of lint, excess oil, and grease. Noncombustible agents should be used for cleaning trucks. Low flash point (below 100°F) solvents shall not be used. High flash point (at or above 100°F) solvents may be used. Precautions regarding toxicity, ventilation, and fire hazard shall be consonant with the agent or solvent used.

These are only a few suggestions to work toward powered industrial truck accident reduction. Should you need training or you are seeking further information, please feel free to contact me. The best Safety and Health Programs involve every level of the organization, instilling a safety culture that reduces accidents for workers and improves the bottom line for managers. When Safety and Health are part of the organization and a way of life, everyone wins.

Separately, my new book entitled “I Am A Teacher, Motivational Quotes For Teachers” is now available. It has received rave review from our customers. Contact me through my e-mail address and I will forward ordering information.

For more information, click on the Author Biography link at the top of this page.

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