Four Traits of Safety Minded Companies

Apex Safety FirstAs managers and owners, we want a safe work environment for all of our employees. Unfortunately, all too often it escapes us. Time passes quickly, and initiatives that were once important standards become guidelines or even merely suggestions. How can we ensure that when we put safety measures in place, they will stay in place as employees come and go in a business climate that is constantly in flux?

While we lack the space to answer this question in full detail here, there are a few major approaches to providing a safe work environment that transcend industries, equipment and facilities. We outline these “hows and whys” of workplace safety below.

Since 1970, OSHA has worked to create a safer workplace for all employees, and their mission has been very successful. However, accidents still happen, and not only at companies willfully violating OSHA standards. Sometimes safety goes beyond meeting standards due to unique circumstances in certain operations.

The following are a few approaches to safety that have helped both large and small companies to achieve better workplace safety, fewer incidents and accidents, lower costs, more productivity and better workplace attitudes.

Safety is integrated with company mission 

Safe companies put as much emphasis on doing things safely as on doing them productively. From day one, every employee knows they are working for a company that would rather they do their job safely than quickly. These employees will lockout a piece of equipment when something goes wrong, will replace light bulbs that need it instead of ignoring them and will report unsafe behavior or unsafe conditions.

Training never ends

Employees are involved in ongoing training – how to lift more safely, , how to operate a certain piece of equipment and so on. Your business is fluid: things change; equipment changes; and equipment, building space and employees are added. As your conditions change, your training must address these changes. Training for the safest work environments is never a one-time event or a two- or three-day training initiation. It is an ongoing pursuit of the safest possible work facility. It should be a goal of all employees to see that their coworkers go home safe every night.

Involvement at all levels

While involvement in a safe work environment must start from the corner office, the mission and strategy it is also important to ensure that every employee knows that they are involved and responsible. It is a good idea to create safety teams for every facet of your business, to revolve people in and out of those teams, and to have them conduct frequent facility or department reviews to identify potential threats. The most successful companies have reward systems for reporting anything that could be a potential threat, even if it is as minor as a sharp corner on a coat rack. This keeps all employees engaged in creating a safe work environment.

Accountability

Once you have established your safety mission and mapped out your strategy, everyone involved must be held accountable. No one can shirk their safety responsibilities. If a sharp corner on a coat rack is missed and someone gets cut, find out why no one noticed. Are they doing regular inspections? If safety standards are not being met, it is the leadership’s job to find out why and fix it. Everyone must know that if an accident happens on their watch, it must be accounted for and a plan must be designed to ensure that it will not happen again.

A truly safe, productive and profitable workplace is attained through ongoing efforts, and these are just a few of the major strategies that play out in successful organizations. We encourage you to seek the assistance of OSHA, NIOSH or other private safety consultants to help you organize and strategize your safety plans.

If there is anything we can help you with in regard to your equipment and its operators, please contact us. We would be happy to assist you!

Advertisements

Heat Safety Tips for Your Material Handling and Warehousing Operation

Summer Heat

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. 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.

Educate
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!

Makes Allowances
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.

Improve Access to Hydration
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.

Be More Shady
For employees working outdoors provide areas to escape the sun for their breaks. Some install series of smaller pop-up style protection, others will rent large more permanent tent-style protection for workers to get a short respite from the sun. Exposure to the sun increases body heat, heart rate, perspiration and likelyhood of heat exhaustion.

Give ’em a Break
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.
Air it Out
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.

​Under OSHA law, employers are responsible for providing workplaces free of known safety hazards. This includes protecting workers from extreme heat. An employer with workers exposed to high temperatures should establish a complete heat illness prevention program.

  • Provide workers with water, rest and shade.
  • Allow new or returning workers to gradually increase workloads and take more frequent breaks as they acclimatize, or build a tolerance for working in the heat.
  • Plan for emergencies and train workers on prevention.
  • Monitor workers for signs of illness.

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.

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.

OSHA’s Free Safety Consultation Program

OSHA Free ConsultationSafety is one of the primary pillars of a productive and profitable material handling operation. Unfortunately, most small to mid-size companies to not have the resources for a safety and compliance manager, much less a safety department. OSHA has tools available to these companies, like yours, to help you not only gain compliance, but how to look at your operation with a “safety eye” and help you identify potential hazards before they become health, safety or legal issues.

OSHA’s Compliance Assistance QuickStart will help you identify the guidelines that apply to your operation, teach you how to survey your operation for potential hazards and violations, and assist you in developing a safety program to ensure compliance and a healthy, safe operation based on your individual needs.

Once you have established needs, OSHA’s tools help you learn how to train your employees to perform their functions safely and be on the lookout for potential safety hazards that might pop up unannounced. Finally, they help you keep records and learn how to report hazards and incidents when they occur to ensure you are maintaining compliance.

Need assistance in getting started? OSHA has you covered. The OSHA Free Consultation program provides you with access to an OSHA consultant who will schedule an appointment with you for a walk-through of your facility. During this consultation, you will receive a pre-inspection conference, a walk-through and a post-inspection conference. Following, the OSHA consultant will provide you with a written report of findings and agreed upon time frame for agreed upon abatement periods. Findings of this consultation will only be reported to OSHA if you fail to correct any serious hazards or situations that present an imminent danger. To learn more about how we can assist you with forklift operator training and compliance, please visit our training page.

The goal is to treat every potential hazard as if someone you love, were doing the job. Getting each of your employees and visitors home safely at night is the key to having them return tomorrow, ready to work, and work productively!

Download the OSHA Consultations Fact Sheet for more information. Or to get started, visit the OSHA Consultation Directory to find consultants nearest you.

OSHA Announces Top Ten Citations for 2016

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:

  1. Fall protection
  2. Hazard communication
  3. Scaffolds
  4. Respiratory protection
  5. Lockout/tagout
  6. Powered industrial trucks
  7. Ladders
  8. Machine guarding
  9. Electrical wiring
  10. 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.

CLARK Material Handling Safety Day Celebration

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.

All Lift Service Company is your source for quality new forklifts, forklift service, parts, rentals and Forklift operator training. Contact us 877-303-LIFT to inquire about any of our products or services.

Celebrating Forklift Safety Day 2017

The Industrial Truck Association has announced it’s second annual Forklift Safety Day, to be held Tuesday, June 13 2017.

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 9th 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 877-303-LIFT.

Forklift Training Operator Training Outline Guide from OSHA

OSHA has an excellent eTool for powered industrial trucks. One of the most useful components is their outline for a successful forklift operator training program. Below are the major components.

  1. Introduction
  2. Types, Features and Physics
  3. Inspecting the Vehicle
  4. Driving the Truck
  5. Load Handling
  6. LPG Lift Trucks
  7. Battery and Charging
  8. Safety Concerns
  9. Specific Truck and Workplace Training (Hands-On)
  10. Certification of Completion of the Course

See the details of each section HERE. Visit our Operator Safety Training Page then contact us with any questions at 877-303-LIFT.