OSHA estimates that nearly 20,000 forklift injuries and around 100 fatalities occur each year in the United States. This is backed up by their most recent top 10 workplace violations list – placing powered industrial truck safety violations among the most cited offenders. This week on Wednesday, February 15th, OSHA released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that will be addressing updates in design and construction requirements for powered industrial truck standards. The updates seek to improve worker safety by reflecting current industry practices and new technologies, along with addressing what to do with equipment that is manufactured before the effective date of the ruling.
ANSI Standards Effect the Rulemaking?
This will affect powered industrial trucks used in general industry and construction, including motorized hand trucks, platform lift trucks, fork trucks, tractors, and all others that are powered by an electric motor or internal combustion engine. These new rules are intended to include the latest best practice standards set forth by ANSI B56.1 and the Industrial Truck Standards Development Foundation. The most recent ANSI update in 2020 for low lift and high powered industrial trucks was changed to include the following main points:
- Minimum separation distances for protection from moving parts.
- The option to use metric or imperial units or both on nameplates.
- Expanded brake system and travel control requirements.
- Revised signal words “battery” to “electric power source”.
- Removal of enclosures from operator restraint systems.
Even though these newest ANSI standards are not yet required by law from OSHA, they serve as best practice guidelines for keeping operators safe and reducing liability risks for machinery manufactures and employers. As best practice standards have been updated 12 times since OSHA’s last rule for industrial trucks in 1971, new official rules are long overdue, and their official statement siting ANSI for inspiration is almost a guarantee that these best practices will soon be becoming a legal requirement. The comment period for this proposed rulemaking period is open until May 17, 2022.
New Updates are Needed
Each type of powered industrial truck comes with different operating hazards, along with the workplace conditions and environment in which they’re used. One must take into account ramps and grades, possible pedestrian traffic, narrow aisles, overhead clearance, and many other factors before safely operating one of these vehicles. Retail environments often experience higher injury rates from lift trucks being inadvertently driven off of loading docks, lifts falling between docks and an unsecured trailer, falling while on elevated pallets, or being struck by a lift truck. Earlier this month, OSHA found that a worker’s fatal fall from stacked pallets was accompanied by several workplace violations, including lack of machine guarding and failing to address the hazards around operating powered industrial trucks.
Clarion Safety has the label, sign and tag products that can help your warnings, instructions and workplace policies get noticed and heeded. Our safety professionals and visual warnings design team are up to date on the latest standards and best practices to make sure that our products reflect any new changes or necessary modifications. We also offer a range of complementary services, including comprehensive machinery safety and risk assessment solutions . Let us know how we can help with your project!