National Forklift Safety Day – June

National Forklift Safety Day Logo June 13, 2017

Why a Forklift Safety Day you ask?  Here is some disturbing information regarding forklifts.  According to the Department of Labor Powered Industrial Trucks (PIT or forklift) were #6 of the top 10 most cited OSHA standard in fiscal year 2016.  This list rarely changes from year-to-year and is the result of almost 32,000 OSHA inspections.  According to the National Safety Council’s magazine, Safety & Health, the citations related to forklifts totaled 2,855, with average fines of $7,000 for minor violations and $70,000 for willful or repeat violations.

The underlying issue with the forklift citations is improper training.  Not only does this put the operators at risk, it also puts pedestrians in your facility at risk.  Below are some statistics from www.toolboxtopix.com relating to forklift accidents:

Fatal Accident Type with Percentages; Where fatalities occur with percentages

Vehicle tip overs occur more than we may think.  On May 9, 2017, a young worker was killed in a forklift tip over accident at the Menard’s store in Burnsville, MN.  Witnesses say the worker was trying to move two-by-fours when the forklift started to flip over.  The worker tried to jump off the equipment and that’s when it landed on top of him.  The worker died of blunt force chest injuries.

OSHA’s standard for powered industrial trucks, 29 CFR 1910.178, contains requirements for powered industrial truck design and construction, operator training, truck operations, and maintenance.  Some of the basic requirements are listed below:

  1. Employees must be 18 years old.
  2. Employees must be authorized through classroom and hands on training.
  3. Authorized employees must be re-evaluated at prescribed intervals to maintain certification.
  4. Forklifts must be inspected daily at the beginning of each shift.
  5. Forklift modifications made affecting the capacity and/or safe operation may not be made without the express written permission of the manufacturer.

There are a few other rules which employers need to be made aware of.  Anytime an authorized employee is involved in an accident or a near miss, or is observed operating in an unsafe manner, that employee must receive training to address the deficiency.  They must also receive additional training if assigned to operate a different type of forklift.

As an employer you have the responsibility of ensuring your workplace is free from known hazards.  Don’t take chances with your employees’ safety; after all, a forklift is nothing more than a truck with two skewers on the front.  Fox Valley Safety & Training, Inc. has the expertise to properly train your employees in the safe operation of forklifts.  Fill out our contact form or call today at (920) 830-2882 to schedule the training your employees deserve and/or for a consultation to ensure your forklift safety program provides the necessary protection.