December 2017 IVES Update Newsletter

We'll be covering:  Check out our feature article Mythbusting in the Forklift World, excavator incident report, boomlift crash, a question on refresher training, forklift incident and fines, interesting articles, and much more!


In this edition, we'll be covering the following topics:

  • Mythbusting in the Forklift World.
  • New Zealand Contractor Fined $90,000 after Excavator Hits Live Power.
  • Bus Strikes Boomlift Platform.
  • Ask Bob: Our tech guru addresses a question on refresher training.
  • VIDEO: Netherlands Tractor Carrying Excavator Crashes Into Bridge.
  • Ontario Company Fined $135,000 After Worker Fatally Injured By Forklift.
  • Last chance to register!
  • What's Wrong With This? Photo and answer.
  • A selection of interesting articles.
  • New testimonials from our wonderful clients.

But first, check out all the places we delivered training this month...

Mythbusting in the Forklift World.

Despite the amount of reference information available regarding the safe use of forklifts in the US and Canada, or perhaps because of it, there is still a lot of misconception over what is required and what is not. Sifting through the myriad regulations, standards, manufacturer’s instructions, best practices, interpretations, directives, guidelines, policies and so on can most certainly confuse even the most stalwart among us, including your humble author. Nevertheless I’d like to take this opportunity to do my best to dispel some of the more common misconceptions that in my experience are consistently bandied about wherever forklifts are used. Do a little mythbusting if you will.

  • Myth – Forklift operators must be certified.

This is a bit tricky to get your head around for a couple of reasons. First, there are numerous dictionary definitions of the word ‘certify’ which causes confusion right off the bat as one must choose which definition is appropriate under the circumstances. Second, many factions of industry and government toss it around so freely (including the company of your author) that one could be excused for mistaking certification, under its most legally binding definition, as a requirement.

The fact of the matter is that although OSHA, the federal administrator of occupational safety and health regulations within the US, actually uses the term certify within its powered industrial truck (PIT) operator training standard, it doesn’t actually direct the term at operators but at employers.

Regulation 1910.178(l)(6) of the aforementioned PIT standard states: The employer shall certify that each operator has been trained and evaluated as required by this paragraph (l).

Notice that it’s the employer named as the entity doing the certifying or, making certain that the operator is competent to do the job. It does not say that the employer shall ensure that each operator is certified.

Compare that language to OSHA’s crane operator qualification language; The employer must ensure that…the operator is…certified to operate the equipment.

The difference is subtle but significant. OSHA expects crane operators to be certified by an accredited crane operator testing organization or an audited in-house program meeting the same requirements. However with forklifts, OSHA leaves it to the employer to certify, or make certain, that operators have been trained and evaluated by a qualified person acting in accordance with the mandated PIT operator training standard.

Crane operators need to carry around an operator’s certificate of competence issued by an officially recognized certifying entity and produce it to prove their qualifications but it is the employer of a forklift operator who must provide proof of the competence of forklift operators.

In Canada, where CSA standards prevail, the term ­certify is not used at all in reference to forklift operators.

  • Myth – Forklift operator trainers must be certified.

Nope. Trainers must be qualified by way of possessing the knowledge, training and experience to train operators and evaluate their competence but no formal certification is required. However, formal training sure helps if and when regulatory or legal authorities have any reason to come a knocking.

  • Myth – Forklift operators must carry an operator’s license/certificate on them while using a forklift.

Mostly false, with the exception of the Canadian province of Manitoba, neither an operator’s certificate nor an automobile driver’s license is required to operate a forklift. Issuing a certificate is a good idea and something I personally encourage if for no other reason than it’s a quick, easy way for a supervisor to confirm an operator has been formally qualified. Company and/or worksite policies may exceed regulation and require operators to carry a certificate, and using a forklift on a public road requires operators to be licensed (and insured) but other than that they are not required.

  • Myth – Forklift operators must be recertified/retrained every three years.

Again, a great idea and good safety practice but to be clear, regulations and the standards they reference call for the operators’ knowledge and skill to be re-evaluated at least every three years, less in some jurisdictions. Training only needs to be done if the results of such evaluations show it is needed. In other words, operators need to be tested every three years and if they flunk the tests they need refresher training and then retesting. Keep in mind that training and evaluation may need to be done before the specified time interval if performance issues become apparent or there are changes/modification to the forklift or type of forklift used as well as any changes in the operators’ tasks and/or working environment that could affect their safety.

  • Myth – Once qualified, operators can operate anywhere.

No way. An operator’s qualifications are specific to the workplace in which they were issued and are not portable. Every regulatory jurisdiction within Canada and the US expects operator training to be tailored to the site and equipment-specifics of the worksite. In fact, the OSHA PIT standard explicitly states that an “evaluation of the operator’s performance in the workplace” be conducted and only acknowledges previous training when the employer can show that: a) it met the requirements of the PIT standard, b) addressed the site and equipment specifics found in the workplace and, c) the operator was able to demonstrate competent hands-on operation of the forklift they were assigned to use.

Canadian CSA standards call for “upgrade” training to occur whenever anything changes with the equipment used, the environment or the types of tasks performed.

In any case, it is highly unlikely that new hires or transferees are going to arrive at a new work site with the specific operator qualifications needed to simply carry on without any additional training and even if they did, the new employer would still need to evaluate them on the machine(s).

I could go on but as I said earlier, these are a few of the misconceptions I come across regularly. I hope that this has helped and not added to any of the confusion.

Rob Vetter
Director of Training
IVES Training Group

New Zealand Contractor Fined $90,000 after Excavator Hits Live Power.

WorkSafe (New Zealand) says a near miss incident involving earth movers and electrical wires is a reminder to businesses to confirm that lines are not electrically live before beginning work, and to never make the assumption that they are not live.

The message comes after Dimac Contractors Limited was sentenced today following an appearance 10 days ago in the Hutt Valley District Court.

Dimac faced one charge after a near miss incident in April last year. Workers were clearing top soil from a development site in Upper Hutt when a digger struck a 240kv power line. The impact caused a power pole to snap and fall to the ground. The power line became entangled on the digger and was later cut off by a different worker.
Dimac had been told by the property developer that they thought the lines were dead, but they were not sure, so to treat them as live.

The power lines, assumed by the contractor to be off, were in fact live and risked the lives of two workers involved in the incident.

WorkSafe’s Chief Inspector Investigations Keith Stewart said both workers were lucky to escape the incident unscathed.

“The hazards associated with electricity are well known and with four power poles in clear view on the site, the hazard should have been noted and testing completed to assess the state of the power lines.

“The fact that neither worker was hurt is not relevant in this instance. The risk posed was great and the contractor was negligent in ensuring the health and safety of their workers. Those working with and near to power lines should assume they are alive, until they have been informed otherwise”.

-The fine imposed by the judge was $90,000.
-Dimac Contractors Limited was sentenced for one charge under sections 36(1)(a), 48(1) and (2)(c) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015.
1. Failed to ensure, so far as was reasonbly practicable, the health and safety of workers who worked for the PCBU, while the workers were at work in the business or undertaking, namely carrying out earthworks, and that failure exposed the workers to a risk of death or serious injury, arising from exposure to live electricity.
- The maximum penalty was a fine not exceeding $1,500,000.

WorkSafe’s investigation found that Dimac failed to:
    • develop an adequate process to identify and manage electrical hazards;
    • ensure the power lines were not live before work commenced;
    • ensure work was done in accordance with the safe distances in the New Zealand Electrical.

Code of Practice for Electrical Safe Distances:
    • instruct workers not to approach the power line after the pole had fallen;
    • restrict access by workers to the fallen line;
    • wait for professional advice as to the status of the fallen power line before allowing work
      to continue.


Bus Strikes Boomlift Platform.

A man was badly injured in the UK on Friday, when a double decker bus struck the platform of the van mounted lift he was working from, breaking the platform away from the boom.

The incident occurred in Axminster, Devon, while the man was working on a light at a height of between five and six metres. It looks as though the platform had been properly cordoned off and out of the open road lane, but we can only assume that the operator had slewed the platform over the open traffic lane and the bus driver did not see it. The impact was sufficient to rip the fibreglass bucket off the boom, sending it to the ground below. Miraculously the man escaped with just a badly fractured arm. The bus was hardly damaged, and no one on board was hurt.
A statement from the local police said: "A worker has fallen from a cherry picker in West Street, Axminster outside the Post Office. A bus has collided with a cherry picker, causing the man to fall out and down to the floor. Ambulance and fire are on scene, and the Health and Safety Executive has been informed."

A spokesperson for bus operator First Group added: “We immediately activated our standard incident procedures and dispatched a team to support the emergency services with their enquiries and start our own full investigation to understand how this could have happened. We hope the injured party makes a swift and full recovery.”

Vertikal Comment

Once again an incident demonstrates the risks of working alongside an open traffic lane. Thankfully this particular incident was not fatal, as it so easily could have been.


Ask Bob

Q. 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?

A. 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) have been assigned to operate a different brand of truck with a different capacity rating. You need to concentrate on teaching operators about 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.

Netherlands Tractor Carrying Excavator Crashes Into Bridge.

Check out this video!

A Dutch tractor driver is lucky to have escaped injury when the digger he was towing smashed into a bridge in Holland.

The tractor had been pulling an excavator when he hit the concrete railway bridge in the town of Heerhugowaard in the Netherlands as he tried to go under it.

The accident was caught on dashcam and has been widely viewed and shared since it first appeared online.

It's believed the tractor hit the overpass at 50kmh before scraping the under-side of it, crashing and ending up on its side.

Sparks flew as the top of the excavator was dragged along the underside of the bridge.

Emergency work had to be carried out on the road and overhead bridge after the accident, which stopped traffic from using the road and trains from using the bridge.

After two hours of closures, the road was re-opened.


Ontario Company fined $135,000 After Worker Fatally Injured By Forklift.

Convicted: Bodycote Thermal Processing Canada Inc., 630 Newpark Boulevard, Newmarket, Ontario

Location of Workplace: Bodycote Thermal Processing Canada Inc. thermal processing factory (same address as above)

Description of Offence: A temporary worker was critically injured and later died after being struck by a forklift.

Date of Offence: October 22, 2015

Date of Conviction: October 13, 2017 in Provincial Offences Court/Ontario Court of Justice, 465 Davis Drive, Newmarket, by Justice of the Peace Karen Walker; Crown Counsel Catherine Glaister and Shantanu Roy.

Penalty Imposed

  • Bodycote Thermal Processing Canada Inc. was fined $135,000 after pleading guilty to the offence of failing as an employer to take every precaution reasonable in the circumstances for the protection of a worker, contrary to section 25(2)(h) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act.
  • The company failed to take any or all of the following reasonable precautions:
    • ensuring a worker was not endangered by the operation of a forklift
    • ensuring that a pedestrian was adequately separated from forklift traffic in a "high forklift travel" route
    • ensuring the storage of materials did not endanger the safety of a worker by limiting sightlines of a forklift operator and/or pedestrian worker
  • The court also imposed a 25-per-cent victim fine surcharge as required by the Provincial Offences Act. The surcharge is credited to a special provincial government fund to assist victims of crime.


  • A temporary agency worker was working as a belt line operator's assistant. This job required frequent movement along and between conveyor belt lines and among moving forklifts. There were three belt lines in operation at the time of the incident and an out-of-service line known as the surface line.
  • The worker was walking along the side of the surface line and walked past a stack of bins and across a yellow line painted on the floor, then entered a pathway that was shared by both forklifts and pedestrians, between the surface line and a fourth belt line. The worker was struck by a forklift driven by the belt line operator.
  • The worker suffered a severe injury and was hospitalized, passing away several months later.
  • The Ministry of Labour's investigation found that the walkway was a shared pedestrian and forklift aisle frequently used as a traffic corridor in both directions. There were no pedestrian crossways, stop signs, mirrors, walkways or barriers separating pedestrians from forklift traffic, and there were no identified crossing points along the aisle to make pedestrian movement more predictable and easier to anticipate.
  • A Ministry of Labour ergonomist conducted a line-of-sight assessment and concluded that there had been insufficient distance for the forklift operator to safely bring the forklift to a stop before the impact with the worker. Also, there was a 'blind spot' area, and the forklift operator had not been speeding.
  • Empty bins were stored two high adjacent to the yellow lines on the floor in the surface line area. The line-of-sight assessment indicated that the storage of empty bins adjacent to the yellow lines on the floor in the surface line area was a contributing factor to the incident. The location and height of the bins limited the sight lines available to the forklift operator by effectively blocking part of the view.


What's Wrong With This? Photo

This photo was submittted by IVES Certified Trainer, Erik Hortsch from IKEA
Bloomington, MN. Erik noticed this dangerous act while shopping at a retailer and decided to snap a photo. As a trainer for this type of equipment, it made Erik cringe, especially because it was near the entrance of the store during operating hours with customers (like him) all around.

Can you tell what's going wrong in this photo?

Have a photo you'd like to share? Send it to us!

Answer to Last Month's WWWT? Photo 

  • First and most obvious the use of additional counterweight, particularly live, human counterweight is strictly prohibited!
  • The fact that additional counterweight is needed at all indicates the unit is overloaded.
  • The fact that this unit is overloaded indicates that the wrong type of equipment was selected for the task.
  • The operator does not appear to using a seatbelt though it’s difficult to say with certainty.
  • The operator is leaning outside of the protective structure (FOPS) when all of his body parts should be within the running lines of the truck.
  • The load is not properly engaged by the forks and as such must be pushed and dragged along the floor, which could be hazardous. Again, this indicates that the wrong type of equipment or at least the wrong lifting attachment is being used for the task.

Have a photo you'd like to share? Send it to us!

Interesting Articles

Australian company fined $90,000 after forklift tipping incident...more.
VIDEO: Excavator hits gas line causing an explosion...more.
OSHA extends crane operator certification deadline to 2018...more.
Singapore logistics firm fined SGD80,000 (US$58,595) for forklift accident...more.
VIDEO: Texas man steals a rough terrain telehandler and starts a snail's pace chase...more.
Man dies in backhoe incident...more.
Top tips for safe forklift mounting and dismounting...more.
Ram raiders use JCB forklift to rip cash machine from co-op store...more.
VIDEO: Enterprising warehouse staff block thieves getaway, using forklifts...more.
A Sydney business, director fined $360,000 after man crushed by excavator...more.
Trapped forklift driver rescued after racking collapse...more.

Client Testimonials

"I think the program was very effective and definitely made me a better operator/trainer." Alex, CVSP/CDCR.

"IVES runs an outstanding program." Mark, Safety Center.

"Came into class with 10+ years of forklift driving experience and having done some training. Learned stuff about forklifts that had not been taught before and learned a lot about training techniques." Chris, P&G.

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