Lift Truck Incidents in Idaho Spark OSHA Emphasis

Worksite inspections started this month in an effort to reduce injuries and fatalities.

The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration is launching a local emphasis program in Idaho aimed at reducing injuries and fatalities associated with the operation of powered industrial trucks, including forklifts and lift trucks.

OSHA compliance offices began conducting inspections in early June to identify and evaluate hazards of operating powered industrial trucks, or PITs, such as being struck by and caught between PITs, which could lead to serious employee injuries or death. Inspections will be conducted in selected agricultural and general industry operations in targeted industries, such as sawmills, food processing and distribution facilities, warehouse operations, and garden and home supply retailers. The establishments will be randomly selected for inspection. In addition, OSHA will respond to complaints, referrals and fatalities related to construction activities and other operations where powered industrial trucks are used.

Between 2006 and 2010, OSHA's Boise Area Office conducted five fatality investigations where employees were crushed by or struck by forklifts. The office cited 142 violations of the Powered Industrial Truck standard during that same time frame; 93 of those violations were considered serious.

Common violations include:

  • Not providing appropriate operator training, or certification of training.
  • Failure to conduct regular inspections prior to operation.
  • Defective equipment not taken out of service until repaired.
  • Elevating workers in an unsafe manner.
  • Failure to provide or ensure use of seat belts.
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