June 2013 IVES Update Newsletter

We'll be covering: Medical fitness requirements. What’s Wrong With This? answer and new photo. Upcoming Washington State Forklift Rodeo details. An Ask Bob question language barriers. Links to other interesting articles. Company fined $75,000 fine in a forklift-related death.

Summer is finally here and we’re beyond excited, but not just for the weather… Over the next couple of months, we’ll be introducing some new products that will knock your flip-flops off! Details to come. In this June 2013 IVES Update Newsletter edition we’ll talk about:

  • Medical fitness requirements.
  • What’s Wrong With This? answer and new photo.
  • Upcoming Washington State Forklift Rodeo details.
  • An Ask Bob question language barriers.
  • Links to other interesting articles.
  • Company fined $75,000 fine in a forklift-related death.
  • Upcoming trade show schedule.

Medical Fitness: Not Something You Can (or Should) Evaluate

North America there are several regulatory jurisdictions whose requirements include minimum medical fitness requirements for forklift operators. Typically, these requirements focus on:

  • Minimum eyesight requirements with a provision that states operator wear corrective lenses (glasses or contact lenses) as required/applicable while operating.
  • As in the case of eyesight, if the operator requires a hearing aid to hear warning signals, etc., it must be worn while operating.
  • The ability to distinguish color, if it is required on the job.
  • The ability to move all body parts freely with the strength, agility and endurance to meet the demands of the job.

I will not go into detail on the politics that requirements such as these can involve but I will discuss how they affect us as trainers. In a nutshell, a trainee’s medical fitness is not something that can be competently evaluated by a trainer. Assessing the physical, non-operational capabilities of trainees is a highly specialized task requiring knowledge and skills associated more with medical training than anything the average forklift trainer could count among his or her qualifications.

So, where does that leave us trainers when we have a trainee with an obvious physical impediment? In my opinion, it leaves us exactly where we have always been – in charge of assessing a trainee’s operational competencies as per our qualifications. If an operator trainee comes to me with an eye-patch and a limp it is of no concern to me unless any of these conditions cause an observable impediment that affects their ability to operate the equipment safely. In other words, if a trainee comes to me with an arthritic neck I am going to proceed with him or her just like I would with any other trainee. In fact, I have to. I cannot arbitrarily reject anyone for training and/or evaluation because of a perceived or observed disability, it is discriminatory and illegal. However, it is highly unlikely that a trainee with an arthritic neck will successfully complete the program and become qualified, because they would be unable to turn their head to check rear clearance before reversing, which is something I absolutely must see consistently before qualifying a trainee as an operator.

A trainee’s medical fitness is none of my business and beyond my capabilities to assess. When a trainee shows up to my training program I assume that their employer has done their due diligence and ensured they are physically fit with respect to the job. From that point on, any conclusions I draw are based solely on performance based evaluations. If the person with the eye patch and the limp can show me what I need to see then they become qualified. It’s as simple as that.

Rob Vetter
Director of Training
IVES Training Group

What’s Wrong With This?

Look up. Way, way up! Can you see what’s wrong with this picture?

Answer to Last Month’s WWWT?

Last month we asked you what was wrong with the photo. The pallets stacked two levels high were placed on a grade which were causing them to lean, which could potentially cause a tip over. We would like to see those loads to be placed on even, level ground. What a shame it would be if all of those cases of wine were to come crashing down!

Washington State Forklift Rodeo

IVES is a Gold Sponsor of the 16th Annual Washington State Regional and Final Forklift Rodeos. These competitions combine drivers’ skills, knowledge, safe operation, efficiency and accuracy together on a challenging precision driving and task course. The Regional competitions are limited to 30 drivers at each location. The top 7 individual competitors plus up to three teams from each Regional event will proceed to the State Final, the season’s championship event held in Spokane this September.

For you non-operators, there’s great music, prize draws, giveaways and delicious food at the Regional Finals. The State Final is showcased within the 61st Annual Washington Governor’s Industrial Safety and Health Conference. Come on down to watch and cheer on the competitors!

  • Eastern Regional Competition – July 20
  • Western Regional Competition – August 17
  • State Championship – September 25

View more details or register for the rodeo here.

Ask Bob

Q: I have an operator whose license is about to expire. He’s a very experienced operator and drives safely. The problem is, English isn’t his first language. He has trouble reading, but can speak and understand English well. How should I go about his recertification?

A: Language barriers can be difficult to deal with, however it’s definitely not impossible to work around. You can read through the Study Guide and Recertification Theory Test with your operator and have him verbally answer the questions, which you will record on the test. Following that, you would continue on with the practical evaluation process as normal. You’re in the clear as long as you can produce documentation showing that this operator’s knowledge and skills were tested and found adequate.

Interesting News Articles

  • OSHA investigates two deaths at construction site… more
  • Forklift rolls and kills two workers in Texas… more
  • WorkSafeBC – alternate means of escape from mobile equipment… more
  • Safe operation of industrial trucks is OSHA’s focus in Idaho… more
  • Aerial boomlift tip over kills operator (photo below)… more


An Ottawa-based steel company was fined $75,000 in connection with a worker’s 2012 death involving a diesel-powered forklift.

The structural steel fabricator pleaded guilty to failing to protect a worker while materials were lifted, carried or moved. The company was charged with violating the province’s Occupational Health and Safety Act.

On 4 June 2012, two workers were loading steel beams onto a truck at the facility. When the truck was loaded, one of the workers climbed up onto the load of beams to ensure that they were stable and to help strap them down.

While standing on the load, that worker instructed the other to use a forklift to move a beam closer to the middle of the truck. The worker standing on the load remained there while the other used the forklift to move the beam.

The beam slipped off the forks and knocked the worker off the truck. The worker fell 9.5 ft. to the ground and sustained fatal injuries, according to an agreed statement of facts as presented in court.

In addition to the fine, the court imposed a 25% victim fine surcharge as required under the Provincial Offences Act. The surcharge is credited to a special provincial government fund to assist victims of crime.

[Source: forkliftaction.com]

Upcoming Events

We will be exhibiting at the following trade shows and conferences:

  • June 24-27. ASSE 2013 Annual Conference & Exposition
  • July 20. Eastern WA Regional Forklift Rodeo
  • August 17. Western WA Regional Forklift Rodeo
  • August 26-29. 29th Annual National VPPPA Conference
  • September 10-13. Georgia Safety Conference
  • September 25. WA State Forklift Rodeo Championship
  • September 29-October 4. NSC 2013 Congress & Expo

Did you enjoy this newsletter? Sign up for our newsletter to receive more like this!