Lift Equipment Safety – Safety Blog

When associates are required to use mobile aerial work platforms, forklifts, or pallet jacks, it is essential to ensure they are operating them as safely as possible. This article will address the primary forms of lift equipment used by our associates, and serves to remind us all of the importance of being aware of our surroundings to ensure that everyone remains safe and accident-free.

Lifts

Lifts are designed to elevate personnel on a platform supported by scissors, masts or booms. Work platforms are essential when technicians must perform work for extended periods at elevations where a guarded, fixed work surface is not available.

They offer flexible, versatile access to elevated locations and tend to be safer than ladders and other access equipment when working at higher elevations. But for these essential pieces of equipment to be as safe and efficient as possible, users must operate and maintain them according to regulations and manufacturer requirements.

Common safety violations leading to citations or accidents include:

• lack of fall protection

• tip-overs

• working near live power

• crushing and pinch-points

• objects falling from platforms

• unstable surfaces.

The main causes of these problems include a lack of training, misuse of equipment, and not following manufacturer guidelines. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor’s fatality statistics, 75 percent of scissor lifts that tipped over resulted in fall deaths.

In the remaining accidents, workers died from being struck by the falling scissor lift. About 40 percent of the tip-overs occurred when an operator extended the scissor lift higher than 15 feet, mostly while driving the unit.

In 20 percent of the falls, the worker was ejected from the scissor lift, generally when the lift hit another object.

Other fall deaths occurred after operators removed chains or guardrails or while users stood on or leaned over railings. (U.S. Bureau of Labor, 2015)

Forklift Safety

Approximately 100 workers are killed each year as a result of forklift accidents. About 1/4 of these fatalities are caused by forklifts overturning. Other common causes are workers being struck by materials, workers being struck by the forklift, and workers falling from the forklift.

Forklift Safety Rules

1. Only allow certified employees to operate forklifts

2. Maintain a safe following distance from other forklifts – about three vehicle lengths.

3. Follow speed limit and other regulations

4. Drive with load low – six or eight inches off the ground – and tilted slightly back

5. Exercise extra caution when driving over duckboards and bridge plates and make sure the load is within the forklift’s capacity as well

6. Raise and lower the load only when stopped

7. Stop and sound the horn at intersections

8. Avoid sharp turns.

9. Keep arms and legs inside the vehicle

10. Be sure to wear a hard hat and other protective equipment when necessary

11. Be sure load is stable and secure

12. When leaving the forklift, lower the forks, neutralize the controls, shut it off and set the brakes (NCSU, 2015)

Pallet Jack Safety

Often times employers do not require certification for non-motorized pallet jacks because initially this equipment is not seen as a hazard, but they still have the capability to cause damage to employees and bystanders.

Pallet jacks are used to make easy work out of what would usually be a multiple person job lifting a load from point A to B eliminating the strain and energy whilst also saving time. When operating a pallet jack (even for a short time span) workers should wear the correct safety equipment including steel capped boots, gloves and safety eyewear (when transporting dangerous chemicals).

There are also a number of safety precautions workers need to keep in mind when operating a pallet jack which include:

  • Never place feet under a machine
  • Never exceed the advised capacity
  • Use proper lifting techniques when loading/unloading and operating the pallet jack
  • Move the load slowly to ensure safety in case surroundings change
  • Always push the load (never pull the load)
  • When going down on an incline, go in reverse
  • Be wary of pinch points to avoid hand injuries
  • Ensure the pallet jack is in good condition before use
  • Use it in the correct manner to ensure employee’s safety and the safety of the people in the surrounding area.

(U.S. Bureau of Labor, 2015)

Secure Work Areas

Lift operators must be aware of activities taking place near their lift work areas. It is important to keep the public, employees, and other building occupants away from these areas. They also should be careful when using lifts in public-traffic areas, especially where doorways might swing into the equipment or nearby elevators might open.

Isolating the immediate work area is essential to prevent anything from bumping into the lift, and to minimize worries about objects falling from the lift and hitting someone. As the lift is elevating, the operator and employees on the ground should make sure appropriate clearance exists so overhangs or other protrusions do not cross the path of the moving platform. This precaution will prevent injuries to workers and damage to building components.

(OSHA, 2015) 

In Conclusion….

Being mindful of the above information, ensuring that all associates receive the proper lift equipment training and re-training, and constantly reminding everyone to work safely, will help to reduce workplace incidents, control Workers’ Compensation costs, and ensure that our associates are as safe as possible.

Why You Should Customize Your Interview Questions

When you’re interviewing potential candidates for a job, you need to see that they’re the right fit for that exact position. Usually, employers will use an interview as a way to gauge whether or not that particular employee is the right fit for the job. If you can, you should refrain from using boilerplate interview questions and here’s why:

You’ll Get Better Responses.

It should go without saying that if you customize your interview questions, you’ll get better, more customized responses, which means that it will be easier to make comparisons between eligible candidates.

You’ll Be Able to See How They Respond in That Position.

You can customize your interview questions so that your interviewees have to provide answers to real-life problems and solutions they would encounter if they were in that particular position. This is helpful because it allows you gain a clearer picture of real skills and responses before making the financial commitment to hiring them.

They Will Be Able to Gauge Their Duties. 

When you customize the questions, the interviewee will be able to gauge their duties based off of what you’re asking them. This will make the interview process more of a double-selection because they will be inherently aware of what you’re asking them to do as part of their job duties.

By customizing your interview questions, you truly will be able to find the candidate that is best suited for your company. If you have written applicable interview questions for that particular position but need help finding candidates, contact Award Staffing. We will be able to help you find the best candidate for you based on your unique needs.

Social Media Blunders That Could Cost You Your Job

Social media is a necessary evil that has transcended into all areas of both professional and personal life. When used in the right way, social media is a great tool that can help you connect with significant people in your life. However, there are social media blunders that could cost you your job:

Posting Inappropriate Pictures.

You’ve gone out for a night with your friends, and somehow inappropriate pictures have surfaced on your social media profiles. While this does happen from time to time, you need to make an effort to monitor your social media profiles to make sure nothing inappropriate happens without your permission. If you are posting a picture of underage drinking, this could cause you to lose your job because it’s illegal.

Commenting with Inappropriate Language.

If you post inappropriate language frequently on social media, this could put your job at risk. The reason is that employers don’t want a bad reflection on their company. Many times, if you’re publicly associated with the company, this can be the sole reason you’re fired or let go in conjunction with using inappropriate language.

Posting Negative Comments About Your Job.

Some people take to social media to complain about their job. This is a bad practice, because not only can other people see it, but your employers can also see it. Why would your employers want to keep a negative employee around, especially if they know they hate their job? If you do need to complain about your job, do it in a private atmosphere with trusted friends or family instead.

If you are mindful of the way you use social media, you shouldn’t have a problem finding a job that wants to continue employing you on a regular basis. If you are in need of a job to apply for, contact Award Staffing. We have a whole list of jobs for which you would be a good fit for through taking your experiences and skills into account.

 

5 Ways to Stand Out to Your Boss

It can never hurt to stand out to your boss. Not only will you be seen as a valuable employee who can’t be let go; but you also will be more likely to be considered for promotions and other benefits that are associated with hard-working employees. Here are the five ways you can stand out to your boss:

Be Early and Stay Late.

Face time is extremely important when you’re trying to stand out to your boss. The best way to do this is to be early and stay late. Even if you show up ten minutes before your boss and leave ten minutes after, s/he will have the expectation that you’re extremely dedicated to your work and will notice that.

Ask If S/he Needs Help Before You Leave.

It’s one thing to arrive early and stay late, but you could step up your game by asking if s/he needs help before you leave. Even if your boss doesn’t need help, s/he will appreciate the extra effort and will remember you when they’re thinking about promotions in the future.

Ask Follow-Up Questions.

By asking follow-up questions, you’re showing that you’re interested in your job in a level that transcends the basic duties. You’re also showing your boss that you’re willing to go above and beyond regarding understanding how you can most effectively help your company.

Express Your Interest in Your Duties.

Take an interest in what you’re doing. Whether that means you go to networking events to meet other people who can help you or you take a college-level course to further your understanding, you should always be learning. Your boss will notice if you pick up any new skills as a result of your interest in your job and self-growth.

Teach Others New Skills.  

If you want to stand out, teach your fellow employees new skills. The way in which you can truly gauge whether or not you understand something is by assessing whether or not you can teach it to others. Plus, your boss will like that your colleagues have new skills as a result of your efforts.