This Fall 2001 IVES Update Newsletter edition features an article about technology and how it affects forklift operators and trainers, as well as a question regarding training on higher capacity forklifts, a question on loaders, our customer service department and accident reports.
The “Techno” Takeover
It started innocently enough with things like a buzzer to tell you that your seat belt was not engaged or a switch that prevented your engine from tarting if the vehicle was in gear. It has grown to include complicated control systems that monitor everything from position of the seat in your car to the angle of deflection of the space shuttle upon re-entry. Technology is growing at an astonishing rate and it is slowly taking over the control position historically held by living, breathing human beings. The “Techno” Takeover is in full swing.
So, your reaction might be, “What’s the big deal? If the technology is there and can make life easier for us and even save a few lives along the way, then bring it on.” In fact, it would appear that the manufacturers of industrial mobile equipment have indeed brought it on and indications are that they will continue to do so.
Technological automation has been firmly implanted into the assembly process by equipment manufacturers the world over but now we are seeing more and more automatic control devices being employed within the operational systems of this equipment. This race toward automation is being fueled in part by the manufacturers’ desire to keep pace with their competitors and to satisfy the demands of their customers to produce a better, safer machine.
Is there a down side to all of this technology? Well, if you look hard enough you can find a down side to anything. There is always a danger when the duty of the operator of a machine is reduced to monitoring an operational control system. The human part of the process must be challenged or else it will become inattentive and/or complacent which can lead to disaster. This has certainly been a hard-learned lesson within other industries, in which human beings have been relegated to act as a monitor for automated systems.
In the industrial mobile equipment industry, things like back-up beepers, tilt alarms, limit switches and engine governors have been employed with varying degrees of success. More recently, automatic stability enhancing systems have shown up on forklifts: devices that will prevent the mast from being tilted forward from vertical when a certain load is sensed at a certain height, systems that can cause the suspension configuration to switch to a four point base while cornering, and even steering controls that govern the speed at which the steering wheel can be rotated in relation to the vehicle’s speed.
Industrial mobile equipment manufacturers and the end users of the equipment would do well to be wary of employing automatic control systems that displace the need for an operator. Unless the system can completely replace the operator, we must use equipment that will keep the operator actively involved in its operation. The technology should be designed to monitor the operator instead of the operator monitoring the technology.
Finally, in light of all of this amazing technology that will no doubt continue to grow, we must always keep in mind that the greatest single factor in determining how safely and productively a given piece of equipment is operated, is a well trained operator.
I have trained all of the operators where I work on a 5300lb capacity forklift but my company just got a new 7500lb capacity forklift. Also, the old one is a Hyster and the new one is a Caterpillar. Do I have to re-train everybody on the Cat, now?
Jess, Ft Worth, TX
OSHA specifies that refresher training be conducted when the operator is assigned to operate a different type of truck. In your case, the operator(s) may be assigned to operate a different brand of truck with a different capacity rating. You need to concentrate on the differences between the two trucks like attachments, controls and instrumentation, manufacturer’s operating instructions and any other significant differences that would affect how the truck is operated. The difference in capacity should be pointed out to the operators for their own information, however all of the concepts of stability and capacity will be the same regardless of the capacity. So, you may want to spend a bit of time with the operators pointing out significant differences between the two trucks (if any) but you do not need to put everybody through the entire course again.
We have a loader operator that is hearing impaired. He was able to pass the operator training class with the aid of sign language but should this person be allowed to operate powered mobile equipment?
Wayne, Baltimore, MD.
This is a very touchy area as we begin to possibly infringe upon territory covered under the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) as well as flirting with accusations of discrimination. OSHA generally addresses these types of issues individually under the General Duty Clause (Sec. 5(a) of the OSH Act). This clause basically states that the employer must protect the workers from recognized hazards that cause or are likely to cause death or serious injury to employees. If an incident occurred with this operator, OSHA would consider things such as: The accident history of the employer and industry, the manufacturer’s recommendations (if any), any specific medical requirements and/or restrictions, any industry standards (like ANSI) and of course, the accident history of the employee. So, to answer your question, the hearing impaired employee may operate the loader as long as he does not pose a threat to the health and safety of other employees.
I am a forklift operator and instructor and I have a question about driving with an elevated load. When we are running cedar we have to take two loads at a time. The problem is that with two loads of cedar on, you can’t see a thing, so we have to drive with the load elevated. I know that this isn’t right but we can’t drive backwards because we can’t see to the rear either and the company isn’t going to give us spotters. What can we do? Are we breaking regulations. Please help.
Campbell River, BC
As to whether or not you are breaking regulations by driving with the load elevated, well,I would have to say, yes you are. Allow me to explain.
You’ve got three issues to be concerned about. They are:
The stability of your lift truck. They are not the most stable vehicles around when the mast is down and things only get worse when the mast is up, remember the stability pyramid!
The stability of the load. The same forces of motion that are acting on the truck are also acting on the load. Any sudden stopping or turning is going to send the load sailing, and that’s without even considering grade or terrain.
Regulations. First of all, WCB regulation 16.46 says that you have to restrain a load against shifting if it could cause the truck and/or load to become unstable. With the mast/load elevated, a shift in the load could pull the whole truck over or at least, cause the load to dump. Next, WCB 16.7(d) mandates compliance with ANSI/ASME B56.1 (5.3.10), which says that you must travel with the load low and elevate only when stacking. Lastly, WCB regulation 16.42 describes procedures to follow when the operator cannot clearly see in the direction of travel, which would be the issue if you lowered your load while traveling.
There may be an attachment out there that will solve the problem of your load shifting but the best advice I can give to you here is to call your area WCB prevention officer and ask for an opinion. If WCB comes in and decides that you are operating within reasonably safe parameters (due diligence and all that) they may give you their blessing… or not.
Most of the operators that I train think that the class is a big joke and don’t take it seriously. they show up as if it’s going to be a holiday and sometimes even fall asleep during the class. What can I do to change things?
Prince George, BC
The first thing to do is not to take it personally and know that you are not alone if your frustration.
Here are some of the things that I have done (and still do) in order to set the tone and keep it interesting.
First of all, set the tone. Most of the people want to know they have to take the training. Try to stay away from the “it’s the law” talk (although that is a good reason) and lean toward the benefits of avoiding injury. I have found that the hazard and fatality posters and statistics that you can get from the WCB’s Publications and Videos Section to be very helpful here.
Another effective method for setting the tone of a class and developing interest is a pre-test. Put together a few questions involving center of gravity, load center or the stability pyramid. Most people won’t have a clue about any of these things and they will realize that they had better stay awake and listen otherwise there is no way they will pass. And remember; If you want people to be interested in what you are saying, then YOU have to e interested in what you are saying.
Last but not least, get them up off their butts as soon as possible and out to the machine. I like to do a walk around training session using the greatest training aid of all… the actual machine that they will be using. Pop questions to everybody while training, ask them for their opinion, when they have a comment have them explain what they mean and ask others if they agree. In other words, GET THEM INVOLVED!!!
Try it out!
Notes From The Field
If and when we see an operator do something operationally wrong during the practical (hands-on) stage of the class, what should we do? Most of us would probably stop the operator when it is appropriate to talk about it and hopefully identify the problem and what to do about it.
Now, what is the most effective way to ensure that your operator understood you? Anybody? You just finished giving your operator some training and what do the regulations say must accompany training? You got it… demonstration.
In the classroom, the trainee demonstrates understanding with verbal feedback/discussion and written theory tests. Out in the field, the trainee demonstrates understanding with feedback/discussion, again, and then by showing that he or she can actually do it.
So, when someone makes an operational mistake while training, by all means discuss it with them and determine what went wrong and how to fix it. After that, make sure that you have them repeat the task. Remember that the demonstration is the best measure of understanding.
Ives Customer Service Department
Over the past 20 years, we a Ives have become well recognized for the quality of our products and services. Not content to sit on our laurels, we have completed a reorganization of our customer support functions and formed a dedicated Customer Service Department. The goal of the department is to simplify and improve the way we interact with you, our clients, and thereby improve the level of service that we are able to provide.
We have assigned Customer Service Representatives (CRS) that are responsible for specific geographic regions and they provide a single point of contact for their clients within that region. Whether the client needs a training quotation, training materials, directions to a training location, or technical information, it is all handled by their dedicated CSR. Since each CSR is familiar with their geographic region, they are better able to factor in conditions and issues specific to that area that might affect the training needs of their clients. This means that the CSR is knowledgeable of the specific needs of each of their clients and is in a good position to help them develop appropriate training solutions.
So, the next time you call us with any type of request, we will ask you where you are calling from so that we can route your call to the person that is best able to assist you.
We are confident that this new level of personalized service will greatly contribute to our ability to assist you to maintain a safe workplace in full regulatory compliance with minimal disruption to your core business.
August 2001 – A forklift loaded with crates of food product struck and killed an agricultural laborer. The victim had told the operator to stop operating the lift until refueling was finished. While the victim was walking to get the fuel, the operator engaged the truck and accidentally struck and crushed him. The operator, sitting to the left, did not see the man, as his view was obstructed by the crates. Cal-OSHA is investigating the accident. (Los Angeles Times)
July 2001 – A landscape business owner received a large laceration on his neck after a metal platform attached to a forklift struck him. The forks were jammed in the down position and he was trying to free the forks when they kicked up. Consequently, the platform hit him in the heck, creating a 9 to 11 inch laceration. He was taken to hospital and treated for injuries. (Star-Banner)
August, 2001 – A worker experienced 13,800 volts of electricity through his body when a crane struck a power line at an electrical substation. The construction crew was preparing to move large pipes and the man was holding the crane’s tag line, when the accident occurred. The man was pronounced dead after being transported to a local hospital. (Columbia Daily Tribune)
You Won’t Believe This
It is hard to understand why some people spend more time and energy trying to avoid the regulations than it takes to simply comply with them.
Consider the following.
A very large company (who shall remain nameless) was building a case against the use of seat belts by their (sit down counterbalanced) lift truck operators. They were in the process of compiling data, presumably to present to OSHA with hopes of being granted some kind of exclusion from OSHA’s enforcement of the use of seat belts under section 5(a) of the OSHA Act (commonly known as the General Duty Clause).
The data consisted of the usual things that you hear from people or companies that do not want to comply with the seat belt rule. Things like, “We do not need to wear the seat belt because: we are on and off the machine a hundred times a day, we have no grades at our site, our trucks are not driven fast enough to tip over in a corner, our operators are very well trained and know what they are doing…” and on it goes.
Finally, the in-house lift truck instructor for this company was experimenting with one of the trucks by driving it around in a tight circle at high speed in order to get more data. Of course, he was not wearing the seatbelt. Well, the truck got going too fast, the center of gravity did it’s thing, and what do you know, the truck tipped over. The instructor was thrown from the truck but unfortunately, he was not thrown far enough and it landed on him – severing both of his legs.
The lift truck is fine, the company dropped the issue, and the instructor has no legs… case closed.
Just wear the belt… please!
What’s Your Instructor IQ?
The operator of a counterbalanced lift truck picks up a load from the top of a high stack that is a bit too heavy. The operator tilts the load back, checks the rear clearance and slowly begins to back straight up. When the load is clear of the stack, the operator stops the truck and begins to lower the mast. As the mast comes down, the operator notices the truck seems to be getting less stable. As the mast continues down, the truck begins to teeter on its drive axle. The operator stops lowering the load and carefully returns it to its original position.
Q – Why did the truck remain reasonably stable with the load elevated and become unstable as the load was lowered?
An Aerial work platform operator checks all of the functions of the lower controls during a pre-shift inspection. Satisfied, the operator them climbs on the deck to check the upper controls only to find they do not work. Returning to the lower controls, the operator re-checks them and is perplexed to discover that they are working just fine.
Q – If there is nothing operationally wrong with the aerial lift, why did the lower controls function properly while the upper ones did not?
Soon after beginning an operator evaluation, the instructor notices that the evaluation form indicates that the operator has failed. The instructor waits for the operator to finish the current task and then signals the operator to stop. The instructor approaches the operator and issues instructions that allow the evaluation to continue.
Q – Why did the instructor allow the evaluation to continue even though it was clear that the operator had failed?
Answers in the next Ives Update!
Spanish language Operator Compliance Packages
Spanish language Operator compliance packages (workbooks, theory tests, evaluation forms, record sheets and certificates) for all lift trucks and aerial lifts will soon be added to our inventory!
Currently we offer Spanish operator material for the counterbalanced and rough terrain lift trucks as well as the aerial lifts. shortly, we will be adding the narrow aisle and powered pallet truck operator packages as well. Look for an announcement in the next Ives Update.
Ives Lift Truck Instructor Home study Correspondence Program
The Ives Home Study Correspondence Program is for those instructor-candidates who are not able to attend the classroom and hands-on components of Ives training programs. The package includes an Instructor’s Manual, a safety video, Operator Compliance packages, overhead transparencies and a certificate of completion. Contact Ives Training Group for more information.
New Certified Master Instructor Programs
In an effort to address the training needs of our valued customers, Ives is pleased to announce the addition of three new Certified Master Instructor Programs. In concert with our long time agent and partner, Safety Center Inc located in Sacramento, California; we will be offering Certified Master Instructor Programs on the following equipment:
- Aerial lifts – addresses Aerial Boomlifts and Aerial Work Platforms (scissor lifts).
- Rough Terrain Lift Truck – Addresses the Variable Reach Rough Terrain Lift Truck.
- Loader – Addresses the Front-end Loader, Loader Backhoe and Skid Steer Loader.
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