The hot summer months are upon us. With increased heat and humidity workers become more susceptible to heat-related illnesses. Workers who are not accustomed to working in the heat can quickly become ill and experience heat stroke, which can lead to serious illness and even death. Since your forklift operators will frequently work outside and on equipment that utilizes internal combustion engine, part of your forklift operator training, should be awareness of heat illness.
There are a few things to keep in mind about heat-related illness and what you can do to help prevent it in your workers.
- Train your employees about the dangers of heat-related illnesses. OSHA has excellent training information and materials to help you relate this information to all of your employees who work in the heat. Part of that training should be to recognize the symptoms of heat-related illnesses and to act upon them immediately. Never brush it off and continue working. The symptoms exist for a reason!
- Understand that all employees are not equally able to resist the heat. Employees should be able to assess their own conditioning and how well they handle heat. Employees who are taking certain prescription medications or have certain chronic illnesses, such as diabetes, need to pay special attention to how they feel while working. Employees who are new to outdoor jobs are often most susceptible to heat-related illnesses. Try to ease them into the normal workload gradually, until you’re confident they are acclimated.
- Provide additional water stations during the hotter months, at more convenient locations, and encourage employees to drink water every 15 minutes or so, based on temperature. Never wait until you are thirsty to start re-hydrating.
- Provide for more frequent breaks. In the long run employees will be more productive in the heat if they are getting proper rest to allow their bodies to cool down while also keeping themselves better hydrated during these breaks.
- Proper ventilation and air movement inside your warehouse or material handling facility is very important in keeping the temperature at safe levels and your workers cool. Ceiling fans, screen doors for warehouse dock doors, and roof vents are great ways to keep your facility comfortable and more productive.
OSHA has provided a wealth of information to help you provide a safe atmosphere to deal with the summer heat. While OSHA does not have a standard pertaining to preventing heat illnesses, it is up to us to be sure we have done everything that we can to help our employees stay safe and avoid heat-related illnesses.
- See OSHA’s Heat Safety Campaign and related information.
- Download OSHA’s Heat Safety App for iPhone and Android.
- NOAA’s “Beat the Heat” Campaign Webpage
Well-trained and equipped employees are more productive employees. Keeping them safe from the heat during the summer months ensures better productivity for tomorrow and years beyond. But it is ultimately up to us as the employers to be sure our employees are prepared to understand and act accordingly to ensure their own safety.
The Industrial Truck Association has announced it’s second annual Forklift Safety Day, to be held Tuesday, June 13.
While most of you won’t be able to attend, there are things you can do to take advantage of this day to help create awareness about the dangers that forklifts present and how to minimize the potential for accidents that can result in injury or death, damage to your facility, equipment and financial losses.
We’ve compiled a short list of things you can do on June 13th to improve safety on and around your forklifts.
- Make sure all your forklift operators have been trained and that their refresher training is up to date, if applicable or necessary.
- Download our “Forklift Operator Questionnaire” to help you vet new operators about their actual experience and history with forklifts.
- Take time to teach your forklift operators the importance of daily inspections of their forklifts. Daily inspections reduce the risk of equipment failure and catch small problems before they blossom into giant ones. You can find daily forklift inspection sheets on our Training Page for both IC and electric units.
- Download and post our free forklift safety posters that you can find on our Training Page.
- Take some time to gather any staff that operates around forklifts, but not on them, to refresh them about the dangers of this equipment and how to be sure to use safe procedures when they are in an area of your facility where forklifts are being operated.
- Make sure all your forklift’s maintenance is up to date. If you have a Planned Maintenance Agreement, this would be a good time to review it with your service provider to ensure all standard checkpoints as well as unique equipment attachments are being inspected and maintained properly.
- Review any unique “site specific” features your facility may have and be sure your operators are aware of proper handling of equipment while on or around these features (ramps, areas where floors can be slick, floor substrates that vary etc…)
- Make sure that training is part of your company’s orientation for anyone that will or MIGHT operate a forklift. Remember, employees that have not been properly trained aren’t even allowed to sit on and start a forklift, much less move it out of the way of anything.
- Make sure you forklifts have proper safety equipment and that it’s operating properly. Lights, horns, back-up alarms, seat belts, fire extinguishers etc… Check out our Blue Safety Light for pedestrian safety enhancement.
- Make sure you have lock-out kits to ensure that forklifts that do not pass an inspection are locked out immediately until repairs are made.
- Review all your forklifts for possible replacement. Old forklifts, or those that are getting “up there” in hours, might be potential threats. Review safety records and maintenance logs for your equipment. You might find this could be a good time to replace some or even all of your forklifts.-
Our goal is to help you operate safe, efficient and productive forklift equipment. To discuss forklift safety, operator training –or to get a quote on new equipment, please Contact Us or give us a call at 888-375-0829..
Every October, the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration releases a preliminary list of the 10 most frequently cited safety and health violations for the fiscal year, compiled from nearly 32,000 inspections of workplaces by federal OSHA staff.
One remarkable thing about the list is that it rarely changes. Year after year, OSHA inspectors see thousands of the same on-the-job hazards, any one of which could result in a fatality or severe injury.
More than 4,500 workers are killed on the job every year, and approximately 3 million are injured, despite the fact that by law, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their workers. If all employers simply corrected the top 10 hazards, we are confident the number of deaths, amputations and hospitalizations would drastically decline.
Consider this list a starting point for workplace safety:
- Fall protection
- Hazard communication
- Respiratory protection
- Powered industrial trucks
- Machine guarding
- Electrical wiring
- Electrical, general requirements
It’s no coincidence that falls are among the leading causes of worker deaths, particularly in construction, and OSHA’s top 10 list features lack of fall protection as well as ladder and scaffold safety issues. We know how to protect workers from falls, and have an ongoing campaign to inform employers and workers about these measures.
OSHA says far too many workers are killed or gruesomely injured when machinery starts up suddenly while being repaired, or hands and fingers are exposed to moving parts. Lockout/tagout and machine guarding (including lift trucks) violations are often the culprit here. Proper lockout/tagout procedures ensure that machines are powered off and can’t be turned on while someone is working on them. And installing guards to keep hands, feet and other appendages away from moving machinery prevents amputations and worse.
The high number of fatalities associated with forklifts, and high number of violations for powered industrial truck safety, tell us that many workers are not being properly trained to safely drive these kinds of potentially hazardous equipment.
Rounding out the top 10 list are violations related to electrical safety, an area where the dangers are well-known.
Their list of top violations is far from comprehensive. OSHA regulations cover a wide range of hazards, all of which imperil worker health and safety. They urge employers to go beyond the minimal requirements to create a culture of safety at work, which has been shown to reduce costs, raise productivity and improve morale. To help them, OSHA has released new recommendations for creating a safety and health program at their workplaces.
OSHA has many additional resources, including a wealth of information on their website and their free and confidential On-site Consultation Program. But tackling the most common hazards is a good place to start saving workers’ lives and limbs.
The day is here and companies all around the country are taking time today to bring awareness to the dangers presented by forklifts. We’ve been promoting what you can do to celebrate Forklift Safety Day, and today, our flagship line, CLARK Material Handling is having a celebration at their Lexington, KY headquarters. Below is a summary of the festivities.
Lexington, KY (June 3, 2016) – CLARK Material Handling Company, underscoring its commitment to the safe use of forklifts and importance of operator training, is hosting a community-wide forklift safety awareness event at its Lexington campus on Tuesday, June 14, 2016, in support of the third annual National Forklift Safety Day. The program will run from 11:30AM to 1:30PM and is open to the public. CLARK is located at 700 Enterprise Drive in Lexington, KY at the intersection of New Circle Road and Old Frankfort Pike.
A full schedule of events planned to endorse and promote National Forklift Safety Day include:
- An open house including plant tours at 11:30AM and 12:30PM
- Special Flag Raising Ceremony at 12:00 noon, in honor of Flag Day
- “Lift Truck Rodeo” competition and safety demonstrations
- A display of aftermarket safety products
- The premiere of the new CLARK video, “Forklift Safety: Pre-Shift Inspection”
- Local media coverage including a live radio remote by 98.1 FM ‘The Bull’, WBUL
- Free lunch – prepared by Smokin’ Jax Grill
- Door prizes
In addition to the activities in Lexington, CLARK executives will participate in the Industrial Truck Association (ITA) National Forklift Safety Day events taking place June 14 in Washington, D.C.
“It is vitally important to emphasize the safe use of forklifts and proper operator training,” stated Dennis Lawrence, President and CEO of CLARK. “Forklift safety is not just a one day per year focus. At CLARK, forklift safety is our top priority every day. We are proud to join with the ITA and our fellow forklift manufacturers to raise awareness about the safe use of forklifts and the continual need for operator training.”
In further support of forklift safety, CLARK is offering customer discounts on select safety products purchased during June, 2016. Additionally, CLARK is conducting a lift truck operator instructor training certification course for a number of area companies.
National Forklift Safety Day, sponsored by the Industrial Truck Association, serves as a focal point for manufacturers to highlight the safe use of forklifts and the importance of operator training. This day provides an opportunity for the industry to educate customers, policymakers and the administration on forklift operating safety practices.
Valley Industrial Trucks is your source for quality new forklifts, forklift service, parts, rentals and Forklift operator training. Contact us 888-375-0829 to inquire about any of our products or services.
On November 3rd it was announced that OSHA would increase penalties for the first time since 1990. The new provision is entitled the “Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act of 2015.”
This law compensates for the “freeze” on financial penalty increases that had been in place for the last 25 years. The Agreement allows OSHA to make a one-time “catch-up” increase to compensate for the more than two decades of no increases. The catch-up increase can’t exceed the inflation rate from 1990 through 2015 as measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI), which will be about 82%.
Assuming OSHA applies the maximum catch-up increase allowed, the current maximum $70,000 fine for a Repeat and Willful violation would grow to as much as $125,000 each. The new act does include a potential exception to the increases. OSHA is allowed to forego following the guidelines if “increasing the civil monetary penalty by the otherwise required amount will have a negative economic impact [on America]” or “the social costs of increasing the civil monetary penalty by the otherwise required amount outweigh the benefits.” This language gives OSHA considerable latitude to apply these fines as they see fit. After this one-time catch-up increase, OSHA will use inflation rate as a guide for future increases.
Employers may have several months to anticipate these higher penalties, but action on safety should begin immediately. Ensuring your forklift fleet is being properly maintained by service professionals and that all your forklift operators have current training on the equipment they operate, in the facility they operate them in, will keep you protected from these fines.
As we have discussed in previous articles forklift operator training and forklift maintenance have benefits that go beyond avoiding expensive penalties. Workplace safety protects workers, improves morale and can actually help the bottom line profits for all workplaces. Rather than just treating safety as an expense, management should work to develop a business plan to achieve safety goals, avoid fines, and reduce insurance expense and lost time.
Visit our Forklift Operator Training page and learn more about our Planned Maintenance Program to ensure your fleet, and operators are safe and productive. Then contact us at 888-375-0829 for a quote to proving ongoing training and maintenance to ensure they both stay within safe operating parameters.
OSHA requires that you perform a forklift inspection before the forklift is placed in service. Forklift trucks must 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. When industrial trucks are used around the clock, they shall be examined after each shift. When defects are found, employees need to report such conditions to their supervisor immediately. Defects must be corrected prior to returning the forklift into service.
Safe Operating Practices
- Do not operate a forklift unless you have received thorough forklift operator training.
- Use seatbelts if they are available. If not installed, retrofit old sit-down type forklifts with an operator restraint system if possible.
- Report to your supervisor any damage or problems that occur to a forklift during your shift.
- Do not jump from an overturning, sit-down type forklift. Stay with the truck, holding on firmly and leaning in the opposite direction of the overturn.
- Exit from a stand-up type forklift with rear-entry access by stepping backward if a lateral tipover occurs.
- Operators should avoid turning, if possible, and should use extreme caution on grades, ramps, or inclines. Normally the operator should travel straight up and down Do not attempt to turn around on grades or ramps. Keep loads elevated and upslope, not pointed downslope.
- On grades, tilt the load back and raise it only as far as needed to clear the road surface.
- Do not raise or lower the forks while the forklift is moving.
- Do not handle loads that are heavier than the weight capacity of the forklift
- Operate the forklift at a speed that will permit it to be stopped safely.
- Slow down and sound the horn at cross aisles and other locations where vision is obstructed. Make every effort to alert workers when a forklift is nearby. Use horns, audible backup alarms, and flashing lights to warn workers and other forklift operators in the area. Flashing lights are especially important in areas where the ambient noise level is high.
- Look toward the travel path and keep a clear view of it.
- Do not allow passengers to ride on forklift trucks unless a seat is provided.
- When dismounting from a forklift, set the parking brake, lower the forks or lifting carriage, and neutralize the controls.
- Do not use a forklift to elevate workers who are standing on the forks.
- Elevate a worker on a platform only when the vehicle is directly below the work area
- Whenever a truck is used to elevate personnel, ensure that operators use only an approved lifting cage and adhere to general safety practices for elevating personnel with a forklift. Also, secure the platform to the lifting carriage or forks.
- Use a restraining means such as rails, chains, or a body belt with a lanyard or deceleration device for the worker(s) on the platform.
- Provide means for personnel on the platform to shut off power to the truck whenever the truck is equipped with vertical only or vertical and horizontal controls for lifting personnel.
- Do not drive to another location with the work platform elevated.
- Brakes, steering mechanisms, control mechanisms, warning devices, lights, governors, lift overload devices, guards and safety devices, lift and tilt mechanisms, articulating axle stops, and frame members shall be carefully and regularly inspected and maintained in a safe condition.
Additional Safety Practices
- When work is being performed from an elevated platform, a restraining means such as rails, chains, etc., shall be in place, or a body belt with lanyard or deceleration device shall be worn by the person(s) on the platform.
- Operators should follow operator’s manuals, which are supplied by all equipment manufacturers and describe the safe operation and maintenance of forklifts.
- Operators should be trained to handle asymmetrical loads when their work includes this activity.
- Separate forklift traffic and other workers where possible.
- Limit some aisles to workers on foot only or forklifts only.
- Restrict the use of forklifts near time clocks, break rooms, cafeterias, and main exits, particularly when the flow of workers on foot is at a peak (such as at the end of a shift or during breaks).
- Install physical barriers where practical to ensure that workstations are isolated from aisles traveled by forklifts. Do not store bins, racks, or other materials at corners, intersections, or other locations that obstruct the view of forklift operators.
- Evaluate intersections and other blind corners to determine whether overhead dome mirrors could improve the visibility of forklift operators or workers on foot. The person who conducts the inspections should have the authority to implement prompt corrective measures.
- Enforce safe driving practices such as obeying speed limits, stopping at stop signs, and slowing down and blowing the horn at intersections.
- Repair and maintain cracks, crumbling edges, and other defects on loading docks, aisles, and other operating surfaces.
Forklifts can be very dangerous if not treated with the respect they deserve and if proper training is not provided. Making sure your forklift fleet is being safely operated and pedestrians are trained ensures improved safety for all, and improved productivity and profits for your company!
Each day, your forklift bears the brunt of your material handling operation. It works hard for you day after day, rarelycomplaining about the workload or its surroundings. Occasionally it tells you something is wrong, by breaking down. But waiting for a breakdown is expensive. Repairs are more costly once a breakdown occurs and breakdowns can create dangerous situations at your facility. Have you ever wondered what a forklift might tell you, if it could talk? We did, and came up with the following:
- “I’m not getting inspected frequently enough.” Although OSHA requires pre-shift inspections, few companies require them. Pre-shift inspections ensure that if I get sick, you catch it quickly, before it becomes a dangerous and costly situation. You can find forms to help my operators inspect me on Valley Industrial Trucks’s forklift safety page.
- “I think my operators need more training.” They jerk me from forward to reverse, to forward again, putting a strain on my transmission. They don’t slow down at intersections or use my safety features as frequently as they should. My horn is rarely used, I don’t have any strobe lights and I’m afraid I might end up in an accident. I don’t want to get hurt and I sure don’t want to hurt anyone else. I think we need some additional operator training.
- “My co-workers need more attention.” You put all of us on the same service cycles. The other guys work harder, lift more weight, more frequently and need to be seen by your forklift service pros more often. Give them a call.
- “My feet hurt.” These tires are old, they have chunks missing, they’re worn and at the end of the day, I can’t wait to stop and give them a break. Worn and damaged tires use more fuel, make my operator more fatigued and create a dangerous work environment. When’s the last time you inspected my tires carefully?
- “I’m shocked at how my electric friends are being treated.” I run on gas, but my electric friends are always complaining about their batteries, that the water levels aren’t inspected enough and they get hot all too often. They also complain about how they get charged at weird times and it doesn’t feel good. Maybe you should talk to their operators about how they use their electric forklifts. I’m told batteries are really expensive and making them last as long as possible is best for everyone.
Have you ever wondered what else your forklifts might tell you, if they could talk? Our team of service professionals can share their experience with you to determine the best plan to keep all your forklifts operating at peak efficiency and productivity. Happy and healthy forklifts are more productive and safer for those on them, and around them. Contact Us to speak to a service professional today. Next time you talk to your forklift, you’ll get nothing but “thank you’s” and compliments!