In this edition, we'll be covering the following topics:
- Are you at risk for complacency creep?
- Skid Steer Loader Operator Crushed.
- Scissor lift failure highlights harness issue.
- Ask Bob: Our tech guru addresses a question on IVES trainer credentials.
- City's $100,000 fine to fund prosthetic arm for injured worker.
- How to Inspect Your PPE.
- 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...
Are you at risk of complacency creep?
When you have to repeat the same task over and over again, it’s easy to fall into the bad habit of presuming that everything will go just as well as it did the time before. But when this relaxed attitude starts to alter a person’s perception of risk, that’s when accidents can become more likely.
For those whose jobs require them to operate powerful, dangerous equipment, the potential consequences of complacency are severe, not just for themselves, but for the colleagues working around them. It’s referred to as ‘complacency creep’ - that gradual decline in standards of safe operation - and it’s exacerbated by insufficient supervision.
It’s a common occurrence, due to the often repetitive nature of tasks carried out by forklift operators. And even the best-trained and most safety-conscious teams are at risk if managers and supervisors aren't equipped to proactively encourage best practice.
When managers don’t recognize or take action to rectify bad practice, it doesn't take long for these bad habits to become the norm. Allowing these bad habits to take hold comes at a high cost in many ways: from potentially life-changing injuries to damage to stock, racking, equipment and your business’s reputation as a whole. So it’s crucial that managers and supervisors are equipped to step in before they become the norm.
While every member of staff plays a contributory role, the responsibility for site safety ultimately lies with managers and supervisors – something that is emphasized in the latest edition of the (United Kingdom) HSE's L117 Approved Code of Practice for rider-operated lift trucks. In this vital role, managers and supervisors must know how to carry out an effective observation, recognize unsafe practices and behavior, communicate effectively with operators and line managers, and actively maintain and promote health and safety standards.
While supervisors and managers don’t need to know how to operate a forklift, they do need to understand forklift operations and the associated hazards. Some providers offer training specially designed for managers of forklift operations to provide them with an understanding of safe practice, enabling them to recognize and correct unsafe behavior among operators and their colleagues working alongside them.
It is to every company’s advantage to ensure that their managers and supervisors are equipped to establish and maintain a safe working environment. After all, catching complacency creep fast doesn't just help keep your team safe; there are numerous practical and financial benefits, too. Accidents and disruption can be extremely costly; by reducing the risk and developing a safe, efficient workforce, you can see a real improvement to your bottom line, so it’s in everybody’s best interests.
Skid Steer Loader Operator Crushed.
A 54-year-old skid steer loader operator died when he was pinned between the lift arms' cross bar and the frame. The victim had 25 years’ experience operating many types of equipment, including skid steer loaders. His employer was a site preparation subcontractor responsible for digging trenches for water pipes. He had been working at the job site for two weeks. On the day of the incident, the site foreman sent the victim and another worker to get a skid steer loader to backfill trenches. The other worker gave the victim the key to the loader and told him the “dead-man” (safety interlock) switch for the lap bar was not working properly. This switch prevents the machine from starting unless the bar is in the “down” position. As the other worker was walking away, he heard the machine start. He turned around and saw the victim pinned between the lift arms' cross bar and the loader’s frame. The worker ran to the loader and tried to move the arms off the victim, but the controls did not respond. He called his supervisor and then 911. Several workers rushed to the scene and after multiple tries were able to extract the unconscious victim. He did not regain consciousness and died four days later. Investigators were unable to determine why the lift arms lowered on the victim. The lap bar safety interlock was found to be not working. The victim was able to start the machine with the lap bar in the “up” position, instead of the normal “down” position. He started the loader while standing on the ground outside of it. When he reached in to start the machine he may have unintentionally activated the boom arm’s control, causing the arms to lower. Workers had reported that they needed to warm up this loader for a few minutes because of cold temperatures. The loader had been rented by another subcontractor from an equipment supplier. It did not have an operator’s manual.
Equipment whether or not owned by, or under control of the employer. (1) It is the employer’s responsibility to ensure that any defective equipment or tools are not used. (2) When any tool or piece of equipment fails to meet the requirements of any safety standard or recognized safe practice, you must not use the tool or equipment. See WAC 296-155-009
FACE investigators concluded that, to help prevent similar occurrences, employers and workers should:
- Follow the manufacturer’s operator manual procedures for safe operation of equipment.
- Start loader only when seated in the operator’s seat.
- Maintain equipment in good working condition and inspect prior to each use. Never operate equipment that is not fully operational. If maintenance is required or equipment malfunctions, inform the appropriate person or contact the equipment supplier.
- Be sure all safety interlocks are functional. Do not override or defeat interlocks.
- Park skid steer loaders with the arms lowered and the bucket flat on the ground.
- When renting equipment, ask the rental company to supply an operator’s manual and maintenance records.
Hazards Associated with Operating Skid-Steer Loaders with Bypassed and/or Improperly Maintained Safety Devices. OSHA. www.osha.gov/dts/shib/shib011209.html
For a slideshow version, click here.
Scissor lift failure highlights harness issue.
A number of people have sent us photographs of an incident that occurred on a job site in the USA last week (January 29, 2018).
We have now been able to confirm that it did in fact occur around 9:00 on Thursday morning and is now a subject of investigation involving the contractor, the rental company - Sunbelt Rentals and the manufacturer - Genie, and will update this more fully when we learn more.
We understand that the 32ft GS-3232 narrow aisle scissor lift was being used by a steel erector to secure the steel beams as they were placed by a crane, when the machine's fixed end pivot points parted company with the platform, causing it to tip and dump the operator. Amazingly he was wearing a harness with attached lanyard - possibly too long - but it may well have saved his life?
As to the cause, it is important not to jump to conclusions at this stage. Incidents such as this are very rare, and when they do occur it is usually down to gross overload on a long deck extension that over stresses the pins and structure at the other end of the platform. In this case the apparent failure was the other way around. A crane had just placed a steel beam and was still attached - it is possible that before this happened it caught up on the platform, and if so applied stresses that the machine is not designed to take - especially in that direction? It could also have been previous overloads or incidents where a heavy load or force had been applied to the opposite end of the platform when fully raised and had a significant cantilever?
Ordinarily we would have held off publishing this one until we learnt a bit more, however the photos are being distributed and already looking as though they might go viral without any background information.
It also highlights a very interesting dilemma regarding the use of harnesses in scissor lifts. Our view has always been against their use, on the basis that the most common - although still rare - incident with scissor lists is overturning, when the last thing you want is to be attached to the falling machine.
However, in this type of incident a harness could play a critical life saving role as it appears to have done in this case. One of the reasons this man might have been wearing a harness is that he is a steel worker and on most sites I have visited they tend to climb out of the platform onto the steelwork, or at the very least stand on the guardrails to reach bolt holes etc.... In which case a harness and longish lanyard are helpful/important.
I would still advocate against the use of harnesses in scissor lifts, but perhaps there are some applications where it does make sense. Steel erection with such small scissors might be one of those examples but given that the application seems to produce more incidents than other scissor lift applications, perhaps a boom lift would be a better bet?
NOTE: The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily shared by IVES.
Q. We have just hired an individual at our company to operate our forklift. He has proof that his previous employer has trained him. What are we required to do to make sure we are complying with the regulations?
A. First of all, make sure that the documentation verifies that his previous training is appropriate for the work being done at your site. This person may have been trained to operate a forklift, but it may have been a different type of forklift and/or a different application. If this is the case, he will need to be brought up to speed (trained) on the ins and outs of your worksite and possibly your equipment as well.
Finally, you will need to evaluate this person on your site using the same type of equipment that he will be operating. All of this training (if needed) and evaluating must be done by someone with the knowledge, training, and experience to train operators and evaluate their competence.
City's $100,000 fine to fund prosthetic arm for injured worker.
A provincial court judge has ordered the bulk of a $100,000 fine against the City of Edmonton go towards a proper prosthetic for a woman who lost her arm when it was crushed on the job.
Garbage truck driver Vickie Galet lost her left arm when it was caught between her truck and a front-end loader in a city waste management facility on June 6, 2015.
Judge D’Arcy DePoe finalized the unusual order Tuesday after hearing earlier about the physical, mental and emotional suffering Galet experienced following her workplace injury, made all the more challenging because of court delays, lack of communication from the city and limits on assistance from the Workers’ Compensation Board.
“This was the one opportunity that she is going to have, and I’m not going to let it go by,” DePoe said Monday when he asked the lawyers in the case to alter their joint sentencing submission so that the money could be used to purchase a prosthetic arm for the woman.
On Monday, the city admitted to one count of failing to ensure vehicle traffic was controlled on a work site to protect employees. Court heard there was no effective communications system in the facility, and that changes implemented the day before hadn't been assessed for any change in risk.
Originally, the city and the loader’s operator faced multiple Occupational Health and Safety code charges. Those charges were withdrawn after the guilty plea was accepted.
In a victim impact statement read in court, the previously active and energetic 56-year-old mother and grandmother said she’s lost her purpose in life: she can’t garden anymore, or take part in sports or activities with her family. She said used to be an avid cook, baker and homemaker. She can no longer pick up her grandchild.
Despite physical therapy and attempts to get workplace accommodations, her doctors declared her permanently unfit to work.
“It just feels like my life has come to sitting on the sidelines and watching,” Galet said.
She wears no prosthetic because the Workers’ Compensation Board was only willing to cover a model that uses cables strapped across the torso and operates by movements in the opposing shoulder.
She struggled to learn how to use it for a year before giving up.
“I’m not just an employee, but a woman devastated mind and body by their carelessness toward my safety,” she said.
The charges weren't laid until May 25, 2017, and all of that time she was left doubting herself, wondering if she’d done something wrong, she said outside the courtroom Tuesday.
On Monday, court heard the original joint sentencing submission was a $100,000 fine and a $15,000 victim surcharge. Normally, the money would go to the province’s general revenues.
“The level of suffering that this victim has described seems to cry out for some sort of assistance for her,” DePoe said.
He ordered that $114,000 be held in trust to be used to purchase a more appropriate prosthetic, as well as any associated costs.
“This poor woman has waited 33 months for some form of justice to be done,” DePoe said, noting that as time passed, the degeneration in Galet’s shoulder may have progressed to the point that a prosthetic may not work anymore.
DePoe also criticized what he called “systematic” delays in the Crown prosecutors’ office when it comes to laying charges in these types of investigations, and remarked that the Workers’ Compensation Board could have done more for Galet.
He also said the city is generally a conscientious employer, but “was lacking” in following up with Galet after her injury.
How to Inspect Your PPE.
Personal protective equipment (PPE) is the last line of defense against injury on the jobsite. But if your PPE is worn out or damaged, it’s like a safety net with a tear in the middle. That’s why it’s important to inspect your PPE before each use.
PPE isn’t meant to last forever; each piece has a certain life expectancy. And you won’t know if it’s nearing the end of it if you don’t inspect it.
Inspections take a matter of seconds. Here are some things to look for.
Hard hat: Look for cracked, torn, frayed, or otherwise deteriorated suspension systems, brims or shells. Replace your hard hat if has been damaged or become brittle, or if it’s past its expiration date. Many hardhat manufacturers suggest that hardhats be replaced at least every five years on average and that the suspension be replaced every year. Check the manufacturer’s replacement instructions.
RELATED: How to Inspect a Hardhat and When to Replace It
Safety glasses: Examine the lenses for chips, scratches and scrapes. These can not only impair your vision but weaken the lenses. Make sure the headband has not become frayed and has not lost its elasticity.
Harness: Check for missing straps and examine the fabric for torn or frayed fibers and kinks or knots. Grasp the harness webbing and bend it to make damaged fibers or cuts easier to see. Also look for stretched or thin areas; stretched-out webbing can indicate the harness was involved in a fall. Check for pulled or missing stitches at tack points and look for any hard or shiny spots, which can indicate heat damage. Check D rings and/or other hardware for rust, corrosion and distortion. Look at the date of manufacture on the tag and remove the harness from service if it’s past the adopted service life policy. Also remove from service any harness that’s been involved in a fall.
Gloves: Inspect your gloves before every use for cracks, cuts, punctures, thin areas or discoloration. Chemical-resistant gloves may get stiff or discolored after excessive use.
Work boots: Inspect your boots for cracks, cuts, holes, worn tread and signs of separation. If your boots have been damaged in an accident or a close call, they may need to be replaced. You can sometimes tell if a steel-toed boot has sustained an impact because the cap won’t “bounce back” fully. But boots with composite toes may not show their damage.
Keep it clean, and play it safe
Clean your PPE regularly according to the manufacturer's recommendations. This can help it last longer and will also make any damage easier to spot.
Remove any worn or potentially damaged PPE from service until a competent person or a manufacturer's representative can certify the equipment for use.
Store all PPE indoors and away from sunlight, moisture and chemicals. The back of your truck isn’t the place to keep it.
What's Wrong With This? Photo
Can you tell what's going wrong in this photo?
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Answer to Last Month's WWWT? Photo
Here's what Vertikal Net had to say about it:
Scotland's Fraserburgh Football Club of the lowly Highland League will play what is probably the biggest game in its 108 year history this weekend, when it hosts Scottish Premiership club Glasgow Rangers in the fourth round tie of the Scottish Cup.
In order to get its modest Bellslea stadium into shape for the big match, volunteers joined the small grounds staff team to help out. The crew even had a boom lift for the jobs that required working at height. Sadly while working on a sign on the outside of the stadium, some bright spark looking to save time unloading, decided to operate the boom lift from the back of the delivery truck.
Thankfully it did not fall off the side while working, it is a shame that whomever loaned the machine did not donate an hour or two of expertise in order to show the volunteers how to use it safely!
To be fair it looks as though the machine was well tied down and its was not working at a great height or radius, but all the same it is still one for our Death Wish series.
Have a photo you'd like to share? Send it to us!
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