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    Forklift Operators–Move Cautiously When Vision Obstructed

    Forklift operators Move cautiously when vision obstructed. A forklift operator was killed in a tragic accident where poor visibility played a major part in the incident. The fatal accident involved two forklift operators. One operator had just dropped off a load of empty pallets with his forklift. He turned his forklift to pick up another load. He then drove his machine forward through a set of plastic curtains that separated the warehouse work areas. The raised forks and the plastic curtain restricted his vision. Meanwhile, another forklift operator was working on the other side of the curtain, standing on a forklift with his back to the curtain. As the first operator drove his machine through the curtain, one of the raised forks struck the other operator in the back, fatally injuring him. Safe work practices: • Ensure that workers are adequately directed and instructed in how to per-form their duties safely. • Travel with forks down when moving without a load. • Ensure that plastic curtains (or similar barriers) are maintained and kept in good working order. • Provide a system of traffic control or other type of warning system when a forklift operator’s vision may be obstructed This is an article ordinally published by WorkSafe BC as a pdf file. We have republished it here for a more convenient reference for our customers.


    Forklift Accident Statistics

    Unfortunately Forklift accidents do occur that can result in injury and life’s lost. Lets take a look at some of the statistics. Roughly there are 85 fatalities each year. 34,900 serious injuries occur each year. 42% of fatalities are by operator’s being crushed by rollover’s and tipping. Common factors that contribute to forklift accidents. Travelling with the load/forks elevated Travelling at excessive speed. Turning at excessive speed. Reverse traveling without  shoulder checking/being aware of your surroundings. Not watching fork placement. Not warning others that the forklift is nearby. Overloading and load off center. Parking and turning on grades. Letting co-workers ride on forklift. Not inspecting trailer decks prior to loading. Inadequate inspection and servicing of forklift. Driving with limited vision Horse play. Not being aware of surroundings and changing work environment at all times. Improper mount/dismount of Forklift. Daily pre-use inspections are mandatory and is part of the regulations that operators must follow. Failure to conduct the inspection can put the operator and others lives at risk. Here are some mechanical conditions that can cause risk of forklift accidents. Leaks in the hydraulic systems. Malfunction of mast assembly. Brake malfunction Steering malfunction Safety device malfunction Transmission malfunction Flat, under inflated pneumatic tires Worn out, cracked and separated solid/cushion tires. Broken/faulty seatbelt. Cracked/broken Forks.      



    Awareness is the ability to directly know and perceive, to feel, or to be cognizant of events, more broadly, it is the state of being conscious. Workplace awareness is a focus on the workplace influence and mediation of awareness information, particularly the location, activity and changes of elements in the workplace. When I teach a Forklift Operator Training class, you will hear me say the term ” aware of your surroundings” many times. In life it is important to be aware of your surroundings, it is also very essential, and a key aspect to operating a Forklift safely. You have to always be aware of what is going on around you at all times and be aware of what you are doing with the machine. Every workplace is different day in day out, you need to be aware of the changing elements at all times, if your not then accidents can and will happen. Lets look at a few examples of what you should be aware of with certain tasks when operating a Forklift. Picking up and pulling out a Load: Aware of fork placement, height and side restrictions, workplace hazards, is the rear of your machine clear of people, other equipment etc. Driving around work yard: Aware of people and other equipment, Fork height, workplace hazards and forklift speed. Accident’s and injury do happen when operators are not paying attention to awareness. A man in North Philadelphia had to have his leg amputated after being run over by a Forklift twice in a workplace accident in July of 2015. The operator of the forklift stated that he was not looking where he was going while driving the forklift, he was instead counting stacks of material while driving in reverse. The operator admitted during the investigation that he violated all basic rules of Forklift safety, and as a result, he was not aware of his co-worker and ran him over.    


    Three Point Contact

      When you go through our Forklift Operator Training program you will learn about what is called ” Three Point Contact.” As a new  Forklift Operator or Experienced Operator, you may not think or be aware that mounting and dismounting a Forklift can cause an injury, but in fact it is actually a leading cause of injuries for Forklift Operators. A practice of always having three secure points of contact when mounting or dismounting a Forklift or any other machine/vehicle is called three point contact. To ensure operator safety and to avoid the risk off falls and slips, it is important that every Forklift Operator knows and uses the three point contact procedure whenever they mount or dismount a Forklift. The three point contact is an easy procedure to learn and to follow, you want to use two hands and one foot to position the body for safe entry or exit from the Forklift. Your two hands grip the machine while one foot is safely supporting your body weight. The three point contact should only be broken after reaching the Forklift cab or when both feet are securely on the ground when dismounting. When you use the three point contact procedure your movements should be slow and steady to avoid injury from slips and falls. There are a few other factors you should keep in mind also when you enter or exit the forklift to avoid slips and injuries. Visually inspect the work area, look for anything that you could step on or slip on, are your hands and boots free of materials that could cause a slip, and make sure you have already taken your seat belt off before dismounting, sounds like a no brainer but I have seen Forklift Operators do this many times. If you need Forklift Operator Training for your employees or as an individual, call our manager Karen to inquire.  Forklift Operator Training can be done onsite/site specific at your place of business or at our Training facility in Maple Ridge. We also provide operator training for Scissor Lifts , Aerial Boom Lifts and Skid-Steers […]

    Scissor Lift

    Scissor Lifts And Arial Boom Lifts

    When working at heights in maintenance and construction, you need ways to work at various heights with ease. Scissor lifts and Aerial boom lifts are essential pieces of equipment for working at heights. First lets talk about scissor lifts, these machines are known as an AWP, Aerial Work Platform. They are a work platform mounted on folding arms that elongate as the platform is raised. These movable work platforms are used for elevating personal and any tools or equipment they may need for the job at hand, but are limited to just up and down movement of the work platform. Scissor lifts come in a variety of different sizes and types. These lifts can be used for situations that require work at various heights, and in most cases are safer than ladders and scaffolding. Next lets talk about the Aerial Boom Lifts, like Scissor Lifts they are designed to take workers to elevated heights, but these machines are more versatile and can take workers to greater heights with more maneuverability. You will often see them used on various construction sites. There are different types of Aerial boom lifts and what they are used for. Articulating Boom Lifts…are referred to as a knuckle boom lift. These machines are designed to articulate for reaching up and over obstacles and have great features. They are drive-able at full elevation, have a 360 degree rotation ability and there width is narrow, allowing them to get in narrow spaces. Telescopic Boom Lifts are known as straight or stick type of boom lifts. If you are required to reach high places, this is what you want to use. Unlike the articulating boom lift, it is not designed to for reaching over obstacles. they can rotate 360 degrees and maneuver in any direction. Just like Forklifts, operators of Arial Boom Lifts and Scissor Lifts are required to attend and pass a operator training program. We offer this training  onsite/site specific all across the lower mainland for individuals and groups.  


    Forklift OverHead Guards

    A falling object protective structure (FOPS) most commonly called an OverHead Guard, is designed to deflect or absorb the impact of falling objects or debris. They are a very important safety device and are required on all high lift trucks. It must be clearly understood that the guards capacity is limited, they are not rated to the trucks capacity, a 5000lb capacity truck overhead guard cannot stop 5000lb and protect the operator. As part of the daily inspection of a forklift, check the overhead guard for broken welds, missing bolts or other damage. While we are on the subject of overhead guards, lets talk about a couple other important safety rules regarding them. Living in the lower mainland we are subject to long months of rain and operators are always putting something over top of the guards to protect them from getting wet. I have seen everything from cardboard to saran wrap. This is not allowed as you are obstructing your view and line of site when conducting high lifts. The only thing allowed is plexiglass as it is clear, but keep in mind that you must keep it clean at all times. Over head guards and rollovers…yes these machines can rollover if not driven safely and properly. Operators have been injured and even killed by the guard in rollover accidents, human instinct in this situation is to jump/get out of the machine, but you are jumping out the same way its rolling and have the potential for the guard itself to hit or crush you. In a rollover situation..STAY IN THE MACHINE! Hopefully you have your seatbelt on, even if you don’t, position your hands on top of the steering wheel, head down, and brace yourself the opposite way of the roll. You may walk away with a head or shoulder injury but you are walking away.     


    Traveling on Ramps and Grades

    Many work places in the Vancouver area use ramps as a tool for loading and unloading trucks and trailers. Lets take a look at the safe and proper way that forklifts must travel on ramps and grades. Potential Hazards: There is a danger of tipover when traveling on ramps and grades. Requirements and Recommended Practices: Always look in the direction of travel. Never turn on a ramp or incline. Turn prior to the ramp or incline to place forks in proper direction. Keep a safe distance from the edge of a ramp. Do not travel on ramps with slopes or other conditions that exceed the manufacturer’s recommendation. Figure 2. Traveling down ramp without load. Traveling With a Load (Forks Upgrade) Forklift operators should be aware of procedures to follow when traveling on ramps and other inclines with a load. Potential Hazards: Danger of tipover. Danger of losing load. Figure 3. Traveling with a load. Note that ramps should have railings or bull rails. Figure 4. Traveling up ramp with load. Figure 5. Traveling down ramp with a load. Requirements and Recommended Practices: When traveling with a load, the load should point up the incline, regardless of direction of travel. Going up the incline: Drive forward. Forks pointed upgrade. Use a spotter if load blocks the driver’s view. Going down the incline: Drive in reverse. Turn head and face downgrade. Forks pointed up the grade. NOTE: When walking with a pallet truck with or without a load, the forks should be pointed downgrade, regardless of direction of travel. Traveling Empty (Forks Downgrade) Forklift operators should follow certain procedures when traveling on ramps and grades without a load. Potential Hazards: Danger of tipover. Figure 6. Traveling without a load. Note that ramps should have railings or bull rails. Figure 7. Traveling down ramp without load. Requirements and Recommended Practices: When traveling without a load, the forks should point downgrade, regardless of direction of travel. Going up the incline: Drive in reverse. Turn head and face upgrade. Forks pointed downgrade. Going down the incline: Drive forward. Forks pointed downgrade.

    scissor lift chassis diagram that demonstrates a hazard

    Potential hazards for Scissor Lifts

    Scissor Lifts can be a serious hazard when are not maintained properly In 2004, a scissor lift being operated on a new concrete floor of a tilt-up building under construction fell over without warning when the operator lowered the lift slightly to clear a steel joist and proceeded to drive backwards. The scissor lift hit an adjacent steel column on its way down, with enough force to bend the guardrails on the platform. The worker managed to jump out of the lift before it hit the ground, and suffered only minor injuries. The scissor lift was a Marklift J25 EP unit with a capacity of 800 pounds and a maximum extension of 25 feet. It fell over because the left front steering arm, to which the left front wheel was mounted, had separated from the scissor lift chassis. The steering arm and steering-arm spindle are welded together, forming a complete unit. The steering-arm spindle had broken into two pieces, and the steering arm and wheel had fallen away from the chassis. As a result of the sudden loss of support at one corner of the chassis, the scissor lift toppled over.


    9 Different Types Of Forklifts You Need To Know

    How Can You Tell Apart Different Types Of Forklifts? Counterbalance Forklifts Counterbalance forklifts are probably the most common forklift trucks used in indoor warehouses and stores. Their operation is straightforward. They have dual forks at the front of the truck and a weight in the back to offset the weight of the load in the front. They are available in electric, propane, or diesel.