This Summer 2001 IVES Update Newsletter edition covers the value of training, questions on a trainer’s responsibility for previously trained operators, information on rough terrain forklifts, accident reports, a “You won’t believe this” story, details on the B.C. Championship Lift Truck Rally and much more.
The Value of Training
When the topic of training arises in the arena of business and industry, it seems to invoke feelings of hesitation, skepticism, and occasionally down right hostility. Employers and employees alike want to know (and rightfully so), “What’s in it for me?” or “Why do I have to take (or provide) this training?”
Some may answer, “Compliance is what’s in it for you and you may have to take or provide this training because it’s the law.” And there you have it. It is not a particularly bad answer but from the perspective of the end users and or recipients of the training, it is not a particularly good one either.
Generally speaking, people do not usually react well to threats and many employers and employees see disciplinary action resulting from regulatory non-compliance issues as just that, a threat. This often has the negative effect of causing hostility to develop and tempers to flare, which is certainly not the right way to start a training program. It is always more advantageous for the providers of training to get people to ‘buy in’ by shining a positive light on the benefits of training than on the negative aspects of non compliance. Like we said though, everybody wants to know what he or she will get out of the deal.
For the employee, it’s easy. Safety and health is what’s in it for them; indeed, their very life may be. Every employee should be made to appreciate the benefits of having all of their parts and being able to use them. Take care of yourself, operate safely so that you can continue to enjoy things like playing the piano or throwing a ball around with your child. Why would you consider avoiding training that could possibly force your family to go on without you? Also, when the company decides to invest in you by providing you with training, that’s a good thing. Take it. Education can only help you and the company is paying for it. What have you got to lose.
For employers, the list of benefits is long, and significant when you consider that employers generally want to know what the training will do to the bottom line. And why not? Let’s face it, in the world of business and industry, profit makes the world go around. Many companies do not keep records of the cost associated with the accidents that occur as a result of poor or no training. Managers and the like are usually astounded when figures are put before them that outline such things as:
Injury claims. There are literally billions of dollars paid out by business and industry in workers’ compensation claims each year. This causes insurance rates to climb and leads to down time.
Down time. When an employee goes down with a compensable injury somebody has to pick up the slack. Manpower must be shifted and another employee may need to be hired.
Equipment damage. When equipment gets damaged it has to be fixed and repairs don’t come cheap! In addition, when equipment is taken out of service it must be replaced. The company must buy, rent or lease other equipment while they may still be paying for the damaged equipment. The costs can be staggering.
Product damage. This alone can amount to outrageous profit loss and justify the expense of proper training. In the case of a building materials manufacturer that had gone into receivership (or bankruptcy), the receivers discovered that although the company had factored in a three percent ‘down fall’ rate into their production figures they had never accurately monitored it. If they had, they would have discovered an actual rate of thirty percent. Ten times the projected rate!
Fines/Assessments. Regulatory agencies can hit hard. And they usually hit you right where it hurts the most, in the profits.
Litigation. Legal woes can dog you for years and the cost associated with them can drive a company under. Remember, hell hath no fury like a LAWYER scorned!
You may be wondering why everything listed above seems to be more negative re-enforcement when that is exactly what we are trying to get away from. Well, it’s all in the presentation. We don’t want to threaten employers with the costs associated with accidents if they don’t train their people. We want to motivate them with the cost savings associated with not having accidents if they do. This is a subtle difference but if presented properly, it can have a profoundly positive effect on the employer that is trying to justify the expense of training. Most employers look upon training as a liability (expense) when in reality it is an investment, an investment that can pay back some serious dividends to one’s bank account and to one’s self.
I have been an instructor for three years and have trained 42 operators. What I want to know is, what is my responsibility for these operators on a day to day basis after I have certified them? I say this because every time there’s a problem with an operator’s driving where I work,the boss comes after me like I’m supposed to do something about it. But what can I do? I don’t have the authority to discipline anybody and I don’t think I want to anyway. Whose responsibility is it to make sure that the things that I train them to do actually get done?
Excellent question! Enforcement of regulation, policy, safety standards, codes and rules are all the sole responsibility of the employer. As an instructor, you have no responsibility in maintaining training standards around your workplace unless you are also the supervisor of the people that you train. However, it is everybody’s responsibility to report unsafe conditions and/or hazards. This would include an equipment operator who is observed operating their equipment in an unsafe manner. But, even then, although the observer is required to report the situation, it is the supervisor that is obliged to take action based on the reported hazard. So, unless your employer has designated you as a supervisor of the people that you train, there is not a whole lot you can do when they do not operate properly except to report the condition and perhaps provide some refresher training if the management (supervisor) requests it.
Notes From the Field
For those of you that have or will perform training on a vertical mast rough terrain lift truck (ITA class 7), here are a couple of things to keep in mind.
Although this type of machine looks like a large class 5 (counterbalanced, engine powered, pneumatic tires, rider) lift truck, its capacity is usually rated differently. If you look closely at the capacity/data plate on many lift trucks of this type you will notice that the capacity of each stage is individually rated. Operators must be made to realize that the machine may be rated to lift 15,00 lbs. (for example) through the vertical travel of the first stage of the mast however the capacity rating may be significantly reduced when the mast continues into the second and possibly third stages. It is not uncommon to see machines of this type equipped with separate levers in the cab for activated each stage of the mast individually.
Goodbye to an Old Friend
It is never easy to say goodbye to someone that you do not want to say goodbye to. But, as of June 30,2001, we at Ives all had to do just that and say goodbye to an old friend and outstanding instructor, Wally Adams.
Colin Ives, the founder of Ives group of companies, had the good fortune of meeting Wally in Seattle, WA in the mid 1990’s. By 1997, Wally was a fully indentured Ives Master Instructor Trainer. The glowing testimonials that we received over the years from instructors that he has trained are a tribute to his vast knowledge, skill, and ability.
Within the training arena, Wally displayed a level of integrity that was humbling to anybody that was around him. his knowledge of machinery reflected a lifetime of experience and his familiarity with regulation and the like was simply mind-boggling. In addition, his unique style of expressing himself and witty sense of humor made him a pleasure to be around.
During his tenure with Ives, Wally made significant contributions to the general knowledge pool of the company as well as to the operator and instructor course materials. Wally’s dedication to getting it dun right was obvious to anybody that he was in contact with, particular those that he trained. If you were lucky enough to be around while he was in action, you could see that this was a man that truly loved what he was doing. In fact, we are sure that all of the people that had the pleasure of being trained by him will agree that when it comes to industrial equipment training, it doesn’t get any better than Wally Adams.
We are proud to have been associated with Wally and would like to wish him health and happiness in his retirement years. Be careful when paragliding off of those cliffs in your spare time Wally!
June, 2001 – An employee died after the forklift he was operating tipped over. The company he was working for was fined $64,500. This accident followed five repeat violations.
May, 2001 – OSHA has cited a Florida firm following a fatal accident. OSHA found evidence that the fatality occurred when an employee checking oil in a lift truck started the engine while standing outside the vehicle. The vehicle then rolled over him, crushing his lower torso. The penalties totaled over $92,000.
June, 2001 – A New Jersey based company was fined a total of $360,000 for willful, repeated and serious violations of the Occupational Safety and Health Act. The incident was a fatal accident in which a crane slid off a barge in Maine’s Kennebec River. One worker was rescued, the second worker has not been found and is presumed dead.
August, 2000 – A company was fined $100,000 for the actions of one untrained supervisor. The supervisor in question did not check a worker’s credentials to verify that the worker has received the mandatory lift truck training. In fact he had no background, knowledge or training in material handling. During operation this unqualified operator was in an incident in which both of his legs were fractured.
December 2000 – Under the direction of his supervisor, a 16 year old not trained on how to operate a forklift was asked to do so. He was asked to use the forklift while painting some equipment for safety purposes.
Trying to move the lift truck out of the way, he put it in reverse. As the forklift began moving towards another machine he rand behind the lift to hop in. He didn’t notice the pool of hydraulic fluid on the floor and slipped. The lift truck then proceeded to crush his kidney and break his back.
After 2 years of intense rehab, he is now able to walk and will graduate with his class on time.
While employers have a responsibility to provide proper training in workplace procedures and safety, and to maintain a safe work environment, the young man believes workers also need to protect themselves with education and awareness.
You Won’t Believe This
I remember walking up to the plant’s rail car loading dock one day to check and see if a particular order was going to make it to an especially demanding customer. I arrived at the dock to find Gino, one of our most experienced forklift operators dismounted from his machine in the process of stretch wrapping the very order I had come to check on. Although I was happy to see that the order was going to make it, I was dismayed by the fact that Gino had left the forks of his machine raised about five feet off the ground while he was dismounted. I was particularly concerned about this as I was the instructor that had trained Gino and certified him as an operator less than two months earlier.
I thanked Gino for ensuring that the order I was concerned about would make it on to the rail car and before I left I said, “Remember to lower your forks when you get off the truck Gino, that could hurt someone, ” as I pointed at the raised forks.
Well, you would have thought that I had threatened to kill his family by the way he reacted. He flew into a rage. His arm flayed about, his face turned beet red as the veins stood up on his forehead and through the chorus of cuss words and threats that he spat at me I remained calm until he had finished his tirade.
When I was sure that he was done, I quietly remarked, “Anyway, I would still like to see those forks on the ground when you’re not on the truck.” At that, he turned to storm away and walked straight into the raised forks of his machine.
The fork blade opened up a small cut on his forehead that started to bleed quite a bit, as face and head cuts will tend to do. Gino swore even more vehemently than he had to me just moments before. I calmed him down as best I could and walked him to the first-aid shack. I didn’t say a word to him all the way there and neither did he. We never spoke of the event again. The point had clearly been made.
The Canadian Material Handling Distributors Society (CMHDS) held it’s B.C. Championship Lift Truck Rally on May 7, 2001 in Surrey, BC. Ives Chief Instructor Grant Mackenzie and Managing Director Rob Vetter were on hand as volunteer judges for the competition.
the operating skills of competitors from around B.C. were tested through tight courses designed for the three main types of warehouse lift trucks; sit-down counterbalanced, stand-up narrow aisle and, powered pallet truck.
Event coordinator Darrell Deugau said that he was very happy with the turn out for the event.
“There’s more people entering this competition every year and we’re starting to see more corporate sponsorship as well,” remarked Deugau.
The first, second, and third place finishers in each event category were awarded a medal and prizes for their performances including a $50.00 gift certificate to The Keg donated by Ives Training for each first place finisher.
Ives Training would like to thank Darrell Deugau for inviting us to the rally and for all of his hard work in making it a success. We were happy to be a part of it and proud to support any event that promotes the safe operation of industrial lift trucks.
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