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A Funny Thing Happened…on the Way to the Ground!

My quest blogger this week is one of my Associates at the Safety Institute, Bruce Richardson.  Bruce focuses on helping his clients to improve the safety skills of powered industrial truck operators.  There are untold dollars lost in injuries, production, and damaged product and infrastructure annually by companies due to poor safety skills of operators.  Take a look at this short blog and then review Bruce’s information to see how he can help your organization. – Carl Potter

Actually, there’s nothing funny about work-related injuries. Injuries sustained by poor work behavior or failing to observe safe driving practices can be serious when a powered industrial truck (PIT) is involved. What is funny….is how some operators seem to think that nothing serious will ever happen to them, if they’re just careful.

Definition à Careful: [kair-fuhl] – – adjective
1) Cautious in one’s actions.

The problem of just exercising caution is two-fold. First, “being careful” is a state of mind, and to be successful, requires 100% attentiveness.

Secondly, there are slim chances that exercising some amount of “caution” [without proper training] will keep operators from accidental injury.

Your organization may be at risk for operator injury, if:

  • You have recently employed a new operator, and, while they possess a certification card, they fail to demonstrate the proper training required to operate the vehicle safely. These operators need to go through a refresher course.
  • You have provided an operator [company sponsored] certified training, but they lack the commitment to practice safe behavior. Most of the time, with a bit of coaching and encouragement from a supervisor, they will change their behavior and become safe operators.

Too many times I have watched PIT (forklift) operators moving about in a warehouse environment, violating OSHA standards of safe operation by:

  • ZOOMING around corners with elevated loads (without slowing down) – SIDE-TIPPING
  • Making sudden or hard stops [while not wearing seatbelts] – THROWN FORWARD
  • Lifting materials with weights exceeding the capacity of the truck – FRONT TIPPING
  • Driving the forklift out of a building and onto extremely uneven or rough surfaces, and losing control (wrong truck for the job) – SIDE OR FRONT TIPPING

The truth is, unless operators are properly trained to recognize and avoid potential hazards [as stated above], and are committed to safe driving behaviors, there’s a high probability that eventually, they will find themselveson the way to the ground!

Mitigate the risk of worker injuries by insuring that your operators are properly trained and committed to safe work behaviors…allowing them to go home injury free, every time, every day.

Thanks for reading,

Bruce Richardson, Powered Industrial Truck Certifier

If you are interested in how to improve the safe behaviors of your powered industrial truck operators, and their supervisor’s ability to maintain those behaviors, CLICK HERE or go to: and locate Bruce Richardson’s information in the directory of Associates

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