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George Fusner
George Fusner
Contributor •

Forklift Safety Is Serious Business


Last week I wrote about Brandon Walker from Chapmansboro who was killed while operating a fork lift in Nashville. Did you know that every three days someone is killed in a forklift related accident? Each year over 95,000 injuries related to forklift accidents are reported. According to the United States Department of Labor Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) violations of the OSHA forklift standard resulted in over $1 Million in fines in 2008 alone.

OSHA has standards for the operation of forklifts around electrical lines since the early 1990’s. Training is mandatory for operators of forklifts. In Brandon’s case did he receive the proper training required by OSHA? Was he trained specifically to work around overhead wires? Many unanswered questions. Perhaps this tragedy could have been avoided.


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  1. Mike Bryant says:
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    That seems way to high, although one incident has to be to many for the families involved.

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    The numbers are indeed high and saddest of all, they have actually increased since the 1999 when the OSHA Powered Industrial Truck Operator Training standard was promulgated.

    Based on my experience as a training provider, I would say that more forklift operators are trained (and being trained) than ever before but there has also been a dramatic increase in the overall number of operators. Proportionately there is still a staggering number of operators being improperly trained or not trained at all. However, the most significant problem seems to be the inability and/or unwillingness of employers to monitor operations and correct unsafe behavior. Operators, even well trained ones, are simply permitted to slip into unsafe patterns with no consequences and until that changes, the injury and death will continue.

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    Thanks for the comment. You are so right. How long does the typical training course last? What is the cost?

  4. Rob Vetter says:
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    I can’t speak for the industry but we charge a day rate of roughly 2K and can certify up to 8 operators ion 8 hours.

    Pricing, max allowable registration etc varies widely throughout the training industry but most reputable providers will come in at around $200 per head, spend 3 to 4 hours on classroom theory, maybe 1-hr hands-on training and 20 to 30 minute driving evaluation.

    We feel the best solution for employer is to train one of their own to train the in-house operators. This makes it much easier to comply with the applicable OSHA standards and gives them much more flexibility relative to timing, scheduling, etc.

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    Good stuff. I appreciate the info. Very cheap compared to the loss and claims an untrained driver can cause.