A strong forklift training program must consider four key factors:
Hazards at work
Operator’s previous experience
Type of forklift to be use
Operator’s demonstrated abilities
According to a Rhode Island worker safety report, anytime a forklift operator is observed operating the truck unsafely, he or she must be retrained. Retraining should also take place after each accident or near accident. Forklift operators should also be evaluated and retrained on a routine basis. In some settings, forklifts are referred to as Powered Industrial Trucks, or PITs.
Why all the focus on training for forklift operators? There are more than 1.5 million US workers who operate forklifts, or fork trucks, in almost every industry. Forklift accidents are one of the most common causes of serious injuries and even deaths at work.
Forklifts appear deceptively simple to operate. In a recent article, an OSHA safety consultant reported that forklifts expose workers to a number of dangers. Fork trucks can easily become unstable when overloaded. Even a lighter load can make the truck tip over if it is improperly balanced. A load that is too far forward on the tines, or forks, presents the greatest hazard.
In many industries forklifts are modify to improve their usefulness. In the manufacturing industry, common accessories include cylinder caddies, rug rams, hoppers, drum rotators, boom extensions, drum carriers and drum grippers.
It’s important that the manufacturer approve any modifications in advance, in writing. Workers should be aware that every modification alters the safe operating standards of the fork truck. In particular, attachments reduce the forklift’s capacity. When an attachment is approved, the forklift manufacturer will issue new tags or decals detailing the revised capacity.
Maintaining proper forklift balance is a key to safe operation. Loads must be moved slowly. Operators should never add weight to the rear of a forklift in an effort to make it more stable. This tactic actually makes it more likely that the fork truck will flip over, often with fatal results.
Recently, I’ve been researching the labor laws of various states. If Rhode Island is where you work, you might want to check out this overview of some of the labor laws that may apply to you:
Rhode Island is one of a number of states with a minimum wage significantly higher than the federal minimum wage. Employees in the state must currently be paid $7.10 per hour, and this will increase to $7.40 per hour after January 1st of 2007. Employees who receive tips may be paid $2.89 per hour, but their total hourly earnings including tips must meet or exceed the current minimum wage. Another exception to this law is 14 and 15 year old minors. If they work less than 24 hours per week, the Rhode Island labor laws state they may be paid 75% of the current minimum wage standard.
If you are an hourly employee, the Rhode Island labor laws state that you should be paid on a weekly basis. Employees of the state and employees of religious or charitable organizations are exempt from this rule. Salaried employees need only be paid on a regular basis. When an employee is separated from his or her job, he or she must be paid on the next regular payday. If the employee has worked for the company at least a year or more and has accrued vacation time, this must also be paid out on the last paycheck.
Rhode Island labor laws guarantee that employees may not be forced to join a union, nor may they be denied employment based on their membership or non-membership in a union. In general, there may be no discrimination of any kind based on union or non-union status. There are also laws on the books related to collective bargaining and other aspects of labor disputes.
Child labor laws are another interesting section of the Rhode Island labor laws. Minors ages 14 and 15 who wish to work in the state must get a work permit, while 16 and 17 year old minors only need a “proof of age” certificate. The Rhode Island laws also regulate the hours that minors of various ages may work, and prohibit them from engaging in certain dangerous occupations.
These are just a few examples of the many regulations found in the Rhode Island labor laws. For a more thorough listing, please see the Rhode Island Complete Labor Law Poster. This poster contains the relevant Federal labor laws as well.
In Rhode Island we take care of our workers. That is what the job of the Rhode Island Labor Board is. We do all that we can to provide for every aspect of the employees rights, privileges and safety. This is lead by Adelita S. Orefice the director. Every aspect of worker and employer laws, wages and compensation goes through this board. It is important to realize just how helpful the Rhode Island Labor Board is to all of us as it can provide answers to all of our questions in regards to anything related to the workplace or employment.
In Rhode Island we have a fair wage which is currently at $6.75 per hour which is much higher than the national minimum wage standard of $5.15 per hour. This is in an effort to attract employees and to lower the unemployment rate in our state. Currently our unemployment rate stands at 5.5% which is high compared to the national average of 4.8%. We are at a standstill in our unemployment rate as of lately however we are doing many different things that we are doing to get this down. We have job placement and retraining tools that we are using in an effort to get the rate down as well.
The Rhode Island Labor Board is also doing everything it can as far as workplace safety is concerned as well. By teaching and training both employers and employees: what to do, and how best to do it. There is a strong emphasis on safety and promoting healthy work environments to help everyone in the long and short run. We want to be willing to go to work not be afraid of what is going to happen or break on us today and the Rhode Island Labor Board is doing everything it can to make sure that that happens.