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Are Your Forklift Operators Certified?

Hilti Inc. is facing $164,802 in penalties after OSHA discovered numerous safety violations following a forklift accident. Investigators discovered the company exposed workers to struck-by hazards after an employee was injured while operating a forklift at a distribution center in Atlanta.  OSHA inspectors determined that Hilti failed to provide forklift operator training and instructions to employees operating the vehicles, and ensure that employees performed daily forklift inspections. Follow the link below to read the full story.

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. 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. So who should receive training when it comes to operating forklifts? Any person who will be operating the equipment no matter how long or simple a task may seem. The penalty for negligence in the event of an accident can be severe, as mentioned in a previous blog.

Forklift Operators Certified - get training from Trivent Safety Consulting   Here are five accident statistics that should cause you to exercise extreme caution when operating a forklift:

  1. Forklifts account for around 85 deaths every year.
  2. Forklift accidents that result in serious injury total 34,900 annually.
  3. Non-serious injuries related to forklift accidents reach 61,800 each year.
  4. A forklift overturning is the most common incident, accounting for 24% of all forklift accidents.

If companies implemented more stringent training policies, the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) estimates that about 70% of forklift accidents in the US could be prevented.                                                                                                                                                         

(OSHA) estimates that about 70% of forklift accidents in the US could be prevented.       

With that in mind here are a few items that should be addressed with a certified training program:

  • Understanding of operating instructions
  • Use of controls and instrumentation
  • Steering and maneuvering
  • Visibility
  • Vehicle Stability
  • Vehicle Capacity
  • Thorough understanding and ability to reference load charts
  • Fork attachments
  • Maintenance
  • Refueling safety

Trivent Safety Consulting certified forklift training consists of the following three parts:

1. Formal instruction can be given using lectures, discussions, interactive computer learning, videos, or written material.

2. Practical, hands-on training covers demonstrations performed by the trainer and practical exercises performed by the trainee.

  1. An evaluation of the operator’s ability to handle the truck safely in the workplace must be conducted by the trainer. Specific training topics to be covered are listed in the standards. All of the topics must be covered unless the employer can show that certain topics are not needed.Employers must certify that the training and evaluation has been done. Each operator’s performance must be evaluated every three years. Usually, the person doing the evaluation would first observe the operator to determine if he or she is performing safely, and then ask questions to ensure that the operator has the knowledge or experience needed.Refresher training is required whenever one of the following occurs:
  • the operator is involved in an accident or near-miss incident;
  • the operator has been observed operating the vehicle in an unsafe manner;
  • the operator has been determined in an evaluation to need more training;
  • there are changes in the workplace that could affect safe operation (such as a different type of paving, reconfigured storage racks, or new layouts with narrower aisles or restricted visibility); or
  • the operator is assigned to a different type of truck.

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Are you, or your staff in need of training? If so, contact us today 1-800-819-6092 and we can get one of our industry leading trainers out to your location as soon as possible! Remember luck is never considered a strategy, but proper training and policy development is. Let us help you achieve your goals!

Author: Scott Seppers

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