5 elements of forklift safety – Part 1
Train for safety
OSHA estimates that 35,000 serious injuries and 62,000 non-serious injuries involving forklifts occur annually. Further, data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that 96 U.S. workers were killed in incidents involving forklifts in 2015.
A safety guide published by the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries states that workers without proper training and knowledge of forklift operation, as well as operators who maneuver forklifts carelessly, have an increased risk of injury or death.
A commitment to safety begins with proper training. The guide further states that “an untrained forklift operator can be as dangerous as an unlicensed driver of a motor vehicle.” OSHA’s Powered Industrial Trucks Standard – 29 CFR 1910.178 – establishes that “the employer shall 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” outlined in the standard.
OSHA requires training programs to combine formal instruction, such as lectures and written material, with practical training and a workplace performance evaluation. Washington L&I Safety and Health Technical Specialist Drew Kertzman said that a prevalence of qualified experts and resources has allowed for improved training in recent years. Still, operators should be mindful of the differences between various types and models of forklifts and lift trucks.
“The gap that I’ve seen in the past is just presuming that once you’re trained on one forklift, you automatically know how to maneuver all forklifts,” Kertzman said. “As you get larger and larger (forklifts), they operate differently, and as you go from model to model, they are a little bit different.”
Stay tuned for next weeks Part – 2 “Perform Checkups”
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