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Stand Up For Workplace Safety With Forklift And Aerial Training

osha safety training

Your new material handling equipment operators have watched a video on how to safely operate forklifts and aerial equipment. Someone in your organization has asked them questions to make sure they thoroughly understood the material. Now you are ready to hand them the keys and let them get to work, right?

Not so fast! This may have been acceptable many years ago, but it isn’t anymore. For one thing, it’s illegal and could have you facing some hefty fines. More importantly, it puts forklift and aerial equipment operators, other employees and visitors at risk. It’s not worth it!

OSHA mandates strict guidelines for how many different businesses can operate more safely - and that includes any business concern that utilizes industrial trucks (forklifts), aerial equipment and more. Why has OSHA become involved in mandating how you train your forklift operators? It’s an unfortunate fact that the large majority of industrial accidents and fatalities in material handling and distribution center concerns involve forklifts. According to the OSHA website, forklift accidents and fatalities in 2019 include:

  • Employee is killed when struck by pipe
  • Employee is killed when forklift tips over
  • Employee is electrocuted when mast touches power lines
  • Employee is killed when caught between forklift and steel
  • Forklift parked with raised forks kills employee
  • Employee is injured by telehandler
  • Employee is killed while loading pipe
  • Employee is killed when run over by forklift
  • Forklift operator’s injuries to fingers necessitate amputation

And this sad list goes on. 

As a material handling or distribution center owner or decision maker, safety should - and must - be your first priority. Not only for the human aspect and the desire to make sure everyone goes home safely after their shift, but because it just makes good business sense. Employees who can see that they are valued are more productive. Something that employees can see and touch in that regard is just how strictly you regulate the working conditions in regards to their safety. Poor safety records - and especially when an employee is seriously hurt - make news. Your customers are also concerned about your safety practices. A company with a poor safety record tells customers that it doesn’t prioritize where it should - and that can affect how you do business. And last, injuries in the workplace cause workmen’s comp claims - an expensive and mostly avoidable scenario.

With proper, OSHA-compliant forklift and aerial equipment training, companies are taking the first and best steps to avoid accidents in the workplace. We say the first steps because even though an operator has successfully completed training, the next step includes having constant eyes on forklift and aerial equipment operators. Employees should be rewarded and should feel confident they can bring concerns to management when they see someone operating material handling equipment in an unsafe manner.

OSHA-compliant training should not be considered as a time drain for your productivity, uptime and efficiency. For one thing, OSHA-compliant training, although comprehensive, is a mandate that provides excellent ROI and doesn’t take an unreasonable amount of time. Most OSHA-compliant forklift and aerial training can be completed in one or two days and utilize classroom hours, as well hands-on training. If you are a large business that requires a constant stream of training, you have the option of putting an employee through a train-the-trainer course which allows that employee to conduct OSHA-compliant training in-house.

If you need OSHA-compliant forklift or aerial training and/or need to send someone to a train-the-trainer course, contact Liftmasters to find out more about what we offer.

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