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June 12, 2013
OSHA launches forklift emphasis program

Every year, more than 100 people lose their lives in forklift accidents, and thousands more are injured.

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OSHA has launched a new emphasis program in Idaho in the wake of a high number of forklift-related incidents. The agency is conducting random inspections this month at sawmills, food-processing and distribution facilities, warehouses, and garden/home supply retailers.

While the emphasis program is in Idaho, employers in other states must remain vigilant as well. Forklift overturns are the leading cause of fatalities involving forklifts, representing about 25% of all forklift-related deaths, according to OSHA.

Common forklift problems include:

  • Not providing appropriate operator training or certification of training;
  • Failure to conduct regular inspections before operation;
  • Defective equipment that is not taken out of service;
  • Elevating workers in an unsafe manner; and
  • Failure to provide or ensure use of seat belts.

Raising awareness and insisting on safeguards can help ensure that your workplace does not experience a forklift fatality. Here are a few reminders to help your workers stay safe and keep OSHA out:

  • Inspect forklifts before each shift.
  • Never load a truck beyond its rated capacity.
  • Drivers should always wear seat belts.
  • Drivers should slow down and sound the horn when they reach an intersection or other location where vision is obstructed.

With young summer employees now in place at many workplaces, you also need to remember that forklift drivers must, in most cases, be 18 or over.

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