OSHA requirements under 1910.178 mandates forklift operator training for all employees who operate a powered industrial truck or a forklift. One of the topics required to be discussed in your training is workplace-related conditions. OSHA’s 1910.178(ii)(a)–“Surface Conditions Where the Vehicle Will Be Operated”—will be discussed.
This could include a number of things, such as narrow aisles, pedestrian traffic, hazardous locations (such as flammable gasses in the air), congested aisle ways, uneven floors or dirty, greasy floors. Good housekeeping in your facility goes a long way to reducing injuries and, in turn, this can save a company money.
Aisles should be well marked for pedestrian traffic.
You should train the pedestrians in your workplace so they are clear as to where they are required to walk while in the facility and where all exits are located.
Exits and fire equipment shall not be blocked for any reason, and all exit lights above exit doors must be working.
Another recognizable hazard is dirty or greasy floors. If an accident occurs because of someone slipping on an oily spot in your facility, this could result in a fine, lost work time for the employee, higher Workers’ Compensation costs and/or possible lawsuits. Keeping your floors clean of oil or grease can go a long way to preventing slips or falls.
Thompson & Johnson offers Tennant cleaning equipment to help accomplish this task, from small walk-behind floor scrubbers/sweepers to full size ride-on machines. These cleaning machines work in small to large manufacturing facilities, hospitals, shopping centers, parking garages or massive distribution centers. Keeping clean floors should be a top priority in these facilities. Not only would you be cleaning your floors, you significantly improve light reflection in the work area, making it a brighter place to work in.
When we do demonstrations with our cleaning equipment, the top comment we hear is how much brighter the work area is. The cost of cleaning equipment is small compared to what your higher cost would be in compensation insurance or lawsuits.
Enforce all company policies. Also encourage your employees to report any problem areas in your facility so these situations can be corrected right away. Remember, the employer is responsible to provide a safe working environment for his or her employees, free from any recognizable hazards.
It is far better to be proactive than reactive. For more complete recommendations for your facility, please contact your insurance carrier for a risk assessment
If you have a question on this or any topic related to safety with your forklift, give our resident expert, Dave Bennet, a call or fill out the request form.