According to a recent South Dakota worker safety alert, the forklift manufacturer must approve any modifications to the equipment. Improper forklift modifications are a very common cause of forklift accidents. Attachments or accessories fitted to the forklifts improve performance, but they can also introduce new hazards. Once modifications are in place, the equipment should not be used until the manufacturer approves it. At that time, new decals and tags with revised specifications will be issued.
Attachments diminish the capacity of the forklift and must be included as part of the load.
According to South Dakota OSHA information, forklifts cause many workplace injuries each year. The most recent OSHA forklift standards require that anytime a forklift operator is involved in an accident he or she receives additional training before operating the equipment again. This is also true when a forklift operator is involved in a near miss. In addition, OSHA requires periodic evaluation of forklift operators.
Why all the concern about forklifts? Although they look harmless and seem easy to operate, forklifts cause about 10,000 industrial deaths each year. There are over 1.5 million workers across the nation who use forklifts in many industries. Any forklift training program should vary depending upon the type of forklift, specific hazards found in the workplace, the operator’s demonstrated expertise and the operator’s level of experience.
A safety consultant recently analyzed common forklift safety problems in a state safety magazine. One very common cause of injuries is improper forklift load balance.
Powered Industrial Trucks or PITs are the more proper names for forklifts. They are also called fork trucks, at times. Common attachments to PITs include drum carriers, drum grippers, boom extensions, hoppers, rug rams, and cylinder caddies. Many of these attachments are used during various manufacturing processes. While such attachments are useful, employers and employees alike must consider safety before using them.
Many people may not realize that older cars and trucks pose a danger to mechanics, but they do according to a South Dakota Worker Safety advisory released recently. According to this alert, the danger is asbestos, which can be present in the brakes and clutches of cars and trucks that are older.
For hundreds of years, the mineral asbestos has been used for its fire-resistant properties. Ancient lamp wicks, Egyptian burial cloths, even the tablecloth of Charlemagne were all made with asbestos. In more recent times, brake pads and clutches in cars used asbestos as a way to avoid fires. Although most late model cars do not use asbestos, parts in older cars may contain this material.
Asbestos is dangerous because it easily breaks into small particles that can become airborne and then inhaled by workers. The asbestos particles are too tiny to see, but once inhaled, they can cause mechanics and other workers to have permanent damage. In the U.S. every year, 10,000 deaths are caused by diseases that are related to asbestos. These diseases include lung cancer, gastrointestinal cancer, asbestosis, and mesothelioma.
Workers exposed to asbestos may develop mesothelioma. This form of cancer is rare, but its occurrence is becoming more prevalent. Internal organs are impacted by the asbestos, which causes cancerous cells to form in the linings that protect these organs. In addition, this cancer can form in the linings around the abdomen and the heart.
Most people who have mesothelioma came into contact with the fiber or dust from asbestos. Moreover, the families of these workers can contract the disease since the workers’ clothing is washed at home.
Another disease caused by exposure to asbestos is asbestosis. This disease causes inflammation to occur in lung tissue. Asbestosis develops following heavy, extended exposure to asbestos. Workers in the mining industry may experience this sort of exposure. Because it impacts workers, asbestosis is considered an occupational lung disease.
The South Dakota Labor Law Board provides a great deal of information to all of us that live in this beautiful state. Yet, not all of us take advantage of the information that they do provide to aid us in learning about our state. Nevertheless, it is a key aspect to being educated about our state. This Department of Labor offers a great deal of necessary information to each and everyone of us. In fact, in many ways, the South Dakota Labor Law Board is a board that anyone that works or employees people within the state should have some dealings with.
First things first, the South Dakota Labor Law Board provides key information to the citizens of the state. For example, currently, the national unemployment average is set at 4.8 percent for the month of July. Yet, this does not necessarily show how well our state is doing in this aspect. The fact is that in South Dakota, the unemployment rate is much lower at a mere 3 percent, which is one of the lowest in the country. The unemployment rate is often used as a signal to the well being of the economy within our state. In this case, the low unemployment rate is a good sign.
In addition to information such as this, the South Dakota Labor Law Board provides additional information we need. This includes laws that are put in place to help govern those of us that live and work in the state. Worker’s laws including minimum wage, safety and fairness rules and child labor laws are all put in place by this department. This information is key to learning what the state’s rules are so that as business owners we can maintain a high quality work environment and as workers that we know what to expect from those that hire us.