The Kentucky worker safety organization, OSHA, has recently reported that there have been a considerable number of injuries and casualties involving forklifts are probably related to the instability of these trucks. They certainly do not handle like cars do, and that is a fatal mistake that many workers have made. The main difference is that forklifts, although they have four wheels, balance on three points. This is because the rear axel is actually a pivot. Cars stabilize on all four wheels.
On an annual basis, an average of 20,000 people are injured nationwide due to forklift accidents, according to the Department of Labor. One hundred of these workers, on average, actually die from these accidents. While this is tragic, the truly unfortunate news is that many of these accidents could have been prevented, some of them by simple precautions. Here is one example of an avoidable accident.
One Friday in July, a worker safety organization took a call reporting a forklift accident. It involved a local car dealership worker.
The car dealership employee was helping a neighboring business with a large load from a tractor-trailer. Merchandise needed to be taken from the truck and loaded into a pickup truck. When this dealership worker had finished placing a load into the pick-up truck and proceeded to switch the gears to reverse. He quickly backed up and turned the steering wheel sharply.
Since forklifts are not as stable as cars, it fell over. The worker did not have a seatbelt on, and he was thrown out of the vehicle. Unfortunately, he was crushed under the overhead protection cage of the forklift. These injuries ultimately lead to his loss of life.
The first mistake was that he was not trained to operate the forklift, and therefore should not have been operating it. Secondly, he made a sharp turn, which a car would be more likely to handle. Further investigation also showed that the forks were raised. Proper procedure for riding a forklift in reverse is to have the forks lowered to help stabilize the ride.
Please follow procedures, and make sure those around you follow them too. It can save a life.
It’s a recreational vehicle. But the number of job-related ATV deaths and injuries is going up. Workplace ATV accidents may even exceed recreation-related mishaps in the near future.
More and more All-Terrain Vehicles are being used in farming, construction, facilities management, and law enforcement, among other jobs.
Kentucky OSHA alerts says that increase in use, combined with the trickier aspects of operating the devices, and is leading to the hike in workplace-related ATV deaths and injuries. In fact, workplace ATV injuries and deaths may soon outstrip the number of accidents in recreational use.
The ATV is not easy to drive, even for licensed car and truck operators. Because of their low-pressure tires and handlebar manipulation, they don’t maneuver like cars and trucks. They tend to flip over on steep hills and other inclines. Sharp turns may cause rollovers. Overloading an ATV also increases that instability, and it is easy to overload them. They are not designed for heavy loads. Often they are simply equipped with luggage and small load racks. In fact, OSHA urges workplace drivers to consult the manufacturer’s recommendations for load weights and number of passengers, if any. Workers operating ATVs should use helmets and they should not overload the machines. In reality, All-Terrain Vehicles are designed to be used by a single driver and no passengers.
OSHA numbers show that over a 9-year period, on-the-job ATV accidents claimed 113 lives. Accidents in general have shown a steady upward climb since 1992. Workers increasingly suffered injuries putting them out of work for a day or more at a time. Over the previous 9 years, in fact, 1,625 such accidents occurred.
Deaths in ATV accidents are up generally. The Consumer Product Safety Commission says that they have gone up for recreational users as well – climbing from 29 in 1982 to 470 in 2004, or a more than 15-fold increase in 12 years.
The Kentucky OSHA alert applies to any motorized off-road vehicle steered by handlebars, with low-pressure tires and a seat straddled by the driver.
OSHA understands that drug or alcohol use can impair the abilities of workers. Drug-free workplace programs can help improve worker safety and health and help avoid workplace hazards that are a result of alcohol or drug abuse. The OSHA strongly supports comprehensive drug-free workforce programs.
That is where the Kentucky Drug Free Workplace Alliance comes in. Established in 2004, this alliance was the first cooperative agreement on improving worker safety through drug abuse prevention involving the US Department of Labor. Recently a signing ceremony was held at which Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao expanded the existing Kentucky Drug Free workplace Alliance.
According to the US Department of Labor, our country’s companies pay a high price for alcohol and drug abuse. Costs include increased accidents, absenteeism, and avoidable errors. Some of the less obvious expenses are low employee morale and more employee sickness. According to OSHA records, a majority of fatal automobile accidents occurring at the workplace involve alcohol or drug abuse. The also alliance expresses our country’s commitment to cooperating with unions and contractor associations with the interest of protecting worker health and safety. Pre-employment drug-screening and random drug testing are part of the efforts that many businesses that take part in the alliance make to promote healthy and safe work environments for their employees.
There is an uncalculated amount of accidents related to substance abuse that have happened in the workplace. It has been recorded by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) that 20% of people who lost their lives on the job tested positive for alcohol or drugs. This is one of the reasons why the OSHA strongly supports the Drug Free Workplace Alliance, especially in places that pose extra hazards, like when machinery is to be operated.
Kentucky employers have a great influence when it comes to protecting their businesses from alcohol and drug abuse. They can educate their employees about the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse and encourage individuals with alcohol and drug problems to seek out help.
The Kentucky labor board is a governing board that helps in the management and the enforcement of the labor laws of the state. The board takes into consideration many of the needs of the worker as well as the employer within the state of Kentucky. They insure that the employees will get fair training and pay. The board’s goal is to provide for a work environment that is positive, free from conflict and offers the right benefits and tools for the employee.
If you find yourself in need of help, the Department of Labor has many benefits that can help you in finding solutions to your needs. The Kentucky labor board offers many pieces of help to those that are looking for work. Many areas of the state are facing job loses as part of the economic decline in many smaller areas. Nevertheless, the state offers many tools to aid those that are looking for help in getting back into the workforce.
The Department of Labor’s labor board has the ability to provide a good amount of information as well as keys to aiding those that need work, businesses that need employees as well as provides for governing the laws of the land as far as the workforce goes.
If you need help with such aspects as worker’s safety, worker’s compensation claims, help with standards that need to be enforced in the workplace or help with medication and relations with employees or employers, the Kentucky labor board is the place to go for that help. Currently the state is conducting a survey and doing hearings with the possibility of raising the minimum wage of the state. They are also working on getting more jobs to be created within the state. These are all things that are necessary for those that live in Kentucky and you can count on finding out what happens through the Department of Labor.
Detailed information regarding specific Kentucky labor laws can be found on the Kentucky Complete Labor Law poster.