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.

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The Costs of Failing to Protect Workers on the Job

Cost of Workplace InjuriesA new report generated by OSHA highlights the real costs associated with on the job injuries, who pays them and how this impacts the employee and taxpayers.

Whether an employee is working on a high-rise building or driving a forklift, employers have the responsibility, and what we feel is an obligation to protect their employees from injury. By investing in training and safety, employers get fewer injuries, lower costs, more productivity and an improved satisfaction which often leads to less turn over. But all companies do not feel that way. Many are finding ways to avoid responsibility for providing safe working conditions for their most dangerous jobs.

The report highlights what some companies do to avoid responsibility and what this does to not only the employee, but his/her family and taxpayers when an accident with injury occurs. Shifting the financial burden however does not make it go away. It shifts it to over-burdened worker’s compensation and government systems. In addition, a worker who is injured can expect to make an average of 15% less income after the injury. And while the creating of OSHA in 1970 by President Nixon has greatly reduced on the job accidents, injuries and deaths dramatically, we still have approximately 4,500 deaths every year due to workplace accidents.

As a full-service forklift dealership, safety is one of our most important topics. Forklifts are dangerous pieces of equipment for the operator and anyone working around the forklift. Forklift Operator Training and Pedestrian Training is not only the law, it is our obligation to those that operate forklifts. While manufacturers work hard to innovate and make them safer, nothing can replace a well trained and cautious operator.

We have posted the Executive Summary of the report on our website and feel it is certainly worth a read. The full report can be found HERE.

Three Essentials to Effective and Thorough Training

Training is one of the most important functions of any manager. From top to the bottom levels of an organization, employees that are well-trained to do their jobs perform better, are more efficient and make greater contributions to the bottom line of the organization. When we discuss forklift operator training with our clients there are three essentials they must commit to in order to take full advantage of the training we provide. This of course transcends forklift operator training and could apply to training in almost any other function within your organization.

Planning – Setting out on any quest, whether it’s comprehensive training or how your department will function, doing so without a plan, even a simple one, will leave you wandering in the wilderness, drifting from one program to another, not sure if what you’re doing adds or detracts from your quest.

Put together a plan including what you want to accomplish, the steps it will take to get there and what you will do to maintain the levels of training you provide as well as what you will do to take it to each “next level” once you have attained your planned levels of training.

Time – Nothing happens overnight,: there is no magic elixir for time and practice committed to your plan. You can expand or contract the time it takes based on the level and amount of training provided to do the job. Time can be your commitment personally or the time commitment of external or outsourced training. Either way, it takes time with the trainer, then time practicing the skills by the employee to hone them to an efficient and effective state. We have addressed how people learn in our Feature Article “Training vs. Teaching; Knowing the Differences.”

Resources – Time is one of the most valuable resources in any organization and we have addressed the need for that above. But you must also provide the resources for effective training. This can include time with a skilled trainer, a location to provide and practice the skills, equipment on which to learn and practice as well as materials needed to support the training efforts.

Providing comprehensive, ongoing training is an investment in your employees, your organization and your bottom line performance. The results are usually commensurate with the levels of each of the three essentials we’ve listed and it is rare that results oppose the efforts. Invest in your bottom line with complete and professional training and watch the results, over time, compound for your company.

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When is Forklift Operator Safety Training Required, and Recommended

By now we all know that anyone that operates lift trucks in your facility MUST be trained to do so. This training needs to be done on YOUR type of equipment, operated in YOUR facility. But when does and operator need to be “refreshed” on forklift operator training, and why? OSHA States:

1910.178(l)(4)(i) – Refresher training, including an evaluation of the effectiveness of that training, shall be conducted as required by paragraph (l)(4)(ii) to ensure that the operator has the knowledge and skills needed to operate the powered industrial truck safely.
1910.178(l)(4)(ii) – Refresher training in relevant topics shall be provided to the operator when:
1910.178(l)(4)(ii)(A) – The operator has been observed to operate the vehicle in an unsafe manner;
1910.178(l)(4)(ii)(B) – The operator has been involved in an accident or near-miss incident;
1910.178(l)(4)(ii)(C) – The operator has received an evaluation that reveals that the operator is not operating the truck safely;
1910.178(l)(4)(ii)(D) – The operator is assigned to drive a different type of truck; or
1910.178(l)(4)(ii)(E) – A condition in the workplace changes in a manner that could affect safe operation of the truck.
1910.178(l)(4)(iii) – An evaluation of each powered industrial truck operator’s performance shall be conducted at least once every three years.

This means that when you hire a new forklift operator, or someone that might operate a forklift for any reason in your facility, you need to find out what type of equipment they have been trained to operate, how and under what conditions. If your new employee previously operated electric order pickers in a distribution setting and your operation utilizes IC forklifts used outdoors, your new employee will need refresher training using your type of equipment under your conditions. This condition would apply under sections D and E as outlined above.

This could also be said for a current employee transferring from another facility that uses different types of attachments or moves different kinds of products. You would need to provide hands-on training and evaluation for your equipment, how to use it, what it does to capacity rating and how to safety maneuver your goods around your facility.

A new employee may have had training at a previous job, using similar equipment under similar conditions. If however, you as a supervisor determine that the new employee is not exhibiting sufficient knowledge of forklift safety, complete training may be an order. OSHA doesn’t address every situation and condition in it’s standard 1910.178, but it is up to us to carefully evaluate our operators on a regular basis and determine if we think refresher training is needed, or if an employee needs to undergo complete training.

Our goal is to help you achieve the safest and most productive workplace in Northeast Ohio. if you feel you could use a partner in Forklift Operator Training, please Contact Us, or give us a call at 877-303-LIFT.