Celebrating Forklift Safety Day 2016

Forklift Safety Day Logo - mdThe Industrial Truck Association has announced it’s second annual Forklift Safety Day, to be held Tuesday, June 14.

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 14th to improve safety on and around your forklifts.

  1. Make sure all your forklift operators have been trained and that their refresher training is up to date, if applicable or necessary.
  2. Download our “Forklift Operator Questionnaire” to help you vet new operators about their actual experience and history with forklifts.
  3. 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.
  4. Download and post our free forklift safety posters that you can find on our Training Page.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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…)
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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..


OSHA to Increase Fines

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.


To Do a BIG Job, You Need a BIG Forklift

When one of our great customers, Mercer Forge needed a BIG, reliable forklift to handle the 10 ton plus steel pipes and bars; then turned to us for a piece of equipment that would do the job, reliably and within their budget. We recommended the Doosan D140S-7. The Doosan D140S-7 heavy-duty forklift is powered by Doosan’s 5.9 liter diesel engine featuring intercooled turbocharging that generates over 158hp.

Doosan Forklift

The cab and seat are heated to provide comfort when working outdoors during our region’s coldest winter months. It also features a stereo with bluetooth connectivity. To retrieve and deposit these big loads, it has 96″ forks, 144″ two-stage mast and sideshifting fork positioners.

When it comes to forklifts that will handle the largest loads, all day, every day, you can count on Doosan and Valley Industrial Trucks to get you the right forklift for the job you need done, and keep it operating at maximum productivity with our planned maintenance programs.

Check out our Doosan Forklift Showroom. When the time comes for a durable and reliable forklift and forklift service company, Contact Us, or give your local Valley Industrial Trucks branch a call. We serve northeastern Ohio and Western Pennsylvania from our convenient Youngstown and Akron facilities.


Five Things Your Forklift Might Tell You, if They Could Talk

Talking ForkliftEach 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:

  1. “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.
  2. “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.
  3. “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.
  4. “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?
  5. “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!


3 Tips to Forklift Fleet Maintenance Optimization

In recent forklift fleet maintenance and management articles, we have discussed the benefits of properly maintaining your equipment. There is no doubt that companies that engage in robust and comprehensive equipment maintenance save money in the long run and improve the efficiency of their forklift fleets.

Establishing a program that proactively maintains your equipment to maximize productivity takes just a bit of work. But with the right partner by your side, the process can be much easier to set up and manage. Following are three tips we suggest in order to establish programs that maximize productivity and reduce your overall costs.

Fleet Analysis

We observe, most of the time, that all equipment in your facility are not utilized the same way or under the same conditions. Some equipment might sit idle for a few hours each day and lift/transport far less overall weight. We suggest not only analyzing the hours each piece of equipment is used, but also how it is used. A piece of equipment used outdoors will required more attention than the same piece of equipment used indoors in a warehouse setting. Using both quantitative and qualitative information will help you develop a service plan that treats each piece of equipment uniquely and provides for the proper level of maintenance.

Quantitative Information – This would include the number of hours used each year, the average weight of each load hauled, service history, equipment age and any other quantitative information available through any type of fleet management software you may use.

Qualitative Information – This information is usually observation-oriented and includes the type of conditions under which each forklift operates, and the training or experience level of the operator. This observation would also include the types of loads each piece of equipment hauls. Hauling seafood off the dock versus processing retail-ready seafood, for example, will result in two very different wear-and-tear scenarios.

Daily Inspections

Although they are required by OSHA, we have found that most companies do not perform pre-shift inspections.  And we can’t tell you how many times we’ve gotten a call from a customer who has had to lock out a unit as a result of a pre-shift inspection because the unit is not fit for operation.

Pre-shift inspections will results in catching small maintenance issues before they blossom into giant repair headaches and dangerous scenarios.  Performing inspections also reduces your liability should an accident occur during a shift. Being able to provide a recent and thorough inspection prior to operating the equipment will help your cause dramatically, should litigation occur.

You can find pre-shift inspection forms on our website HERE.

Partner Selection

Having a service partner who has the experience, skills and trained repair staff to work with you is a major key to a successful program. Not all service providers are created equal; selecting one based on price could result in spending more without reaping the benefits. Instead, select a partner that has demonstrated to you that they understand your equipment, your operation and have the trained staff to execute your service plan. Doing so will give you the desired outcome for your operation. To help ascertain the ability of your potential service partner, inquire about the following:

  • Training that the service technicians receive (formal and informal)
  • Experience level of service staff (including technicians)
  • Level of experience in servicing your type of equipment
  • References from other clients that utilized similar equipment under similar operating conditions
  • Visit their facility to see how it operates. You can pick up pretty quickly whether the facility is organized and professionally represented.

Taking the time to establish a comprehensive service program takes a bit more work up-front, but in the long run it pays for itself many times over. To discuss your service program with our trained staff of service professionals, please contact us, or call us at 888-375-0829.


5 Major Benefits of Forklift Planned Preventive Maintenance

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 888-375-0829 for a tailored plan for your equipment and operation.


A Good Reason to Conduct Inspections Other than…”It’s the Law”

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 888-375-0829.