Monday, November 12, 2007

A Counterfeit Backhoe -- Chinese Fakes are BIG

[More from J.P. Fielder, senior communications director, from NAM President John Engler's trade mission to Japan and China. In China, Engler is heading a delegation that represents the President's Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations, or ACTPN.]

Two very interesting points from the ACTPN delegation's meeting with James Fallows, senior editor for The Atlantic Monthly and arguably the most knowledgeable journalist about the interrelation of U.S. and Chinese manufacturing. (His July cover story was, "China Makes, the World Takes.")

First, Japan still dwarfs China in overall GDP and that we cannot lose focus on this important ally and manufacturing partner. This is something we discovered last week as the Japanese, from business leaders to government officials, were highly appreciative of Gov. Engler's visit.

Second, protecting intellectual property should be a priority for U.S. policy toward China, and there's plenty of work to be done. As a casual observer, I was struck by the prevalance of counterfeit products in China. Sure, everyone expects the swarms of vendors selling knock-off Rolexes, Coach purses and "Beijing 08" knit hats, but I became painfully aware of the issue while driving to the Great Wall during our one day of touring, on Sunday.

As we passed a roadside construction site, Al Bernard, an ACTPN delegate and senior vice president of Manitowoc, manufacturer of heavy cranes, pointed to one of the backhoes working at the site. "That's a counterfeit backhoe," he suddenly said. "WHAT!? How can you tell?" I asked. This side of counterfeiting is very new to me, as I thought it was an industry making cheap junk (think T-shirts, purses and poorly constructed watches) in a garage. Wrong! This is about real American products being ripped off and built in foreign factories. In this case, it was a Caterpillar backhoe, not exactly something you slap together in the back garage but something that requires a legitimate assembly line and manufacutring facility.

Caterpillar is a strong all-American company based in Peoria, Illinois. Chinese free-riding on the ingenuity of hard-working Americans, not to mention the millions in R&D, is just not right. The rampant counterfeiting needs to be addressed by the Chinese government and with consultation from the international community, if necessary.

Tagged: Caterpillar , Chinese counterfeits , Manitowoc

Posted by JP Fielder at November 5, 2007 4:58 PM

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Hands-On Safety Conference & Expo

Dedicated to Fostering a Culture of Safety

Incident Prevention is pleased to once again sponsor the premier gathering of safety professionals from across utility industries to further establish and foster a culture of safety.

Never before have we been faced with such a high level of attrition of established operations and safety professionals. Our goal is to provide a conference program of skills development, exposure to new concepts and a learning environment for both veteran operations and new industry leaders. With three dynamic seminar tracks - Safety Management, Worksite Safety and Training Development --plus bonus post conference workshops, the 2007 Hands-On Safety Conference is your best opportunity to become better at everything you and your company do related to safety. Make SAFETY FIRST in your company.

Register Online and SAVE $100 by using the attached coupon code.


See You in Phoenix!

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

ANSI Regulations regarding training of operators of aerial devices

ANSI A92.2 2001 Revision
Effective August 1st, 2002
8.12.2 General Training
Only personnel who have received general instructions regarding the inspection, application and operation of aerial devices, including recognition and avoidance of hazards associated with their operation, shall operate an aerial device….

8.12.4 Familiarization. When an operator is directed to operate an aerial device he/she is not familiar with, the operator, prior to operating, shall be instructed regarding the following items and issues …

Friday, August 31, 2007

OSHA releases 2007 edition of construction standards

originally posted on
By Barbara Ibrahim

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has released its 2007 guide to construction industry standards, effective immediately.

Available in English or Spanish versions, the 29 Code of Federal Regulations 1926 features 470 pages of the newest regulations, in addition to special references for the 29 CFR 1903 on inspections, citations and proposed penalties; the 29 CFR 1904 on recording and reporting occupational injuries and illnesses; and the 29 CFR 1910 – or the general industry version.

To obtain a copy, call National Safety Compliance at
1-877-922-7233 or visit

OSHA Aerial Lift Training Requirements

OSHA Regulations regarding training of operators of aerial devices and digger derricks.

1910.67 (c)(2)(ii)
Only trained persons shall operate an aerial lift.

1926.453 (b)(2)(ii)
Only authorized persons shall operate an aerial lift.

OSHA Training Requirements
  • Employers shall provide training in the various precautions, safe work practices, and use of personal protective equipment needed to perform the job.
  • The employer shall certify and maintain records that employees have been trained.
  • Formal training shall consist of classroom type training and/or on the-job training. Proficiency testing of classroom and "hands-on" skills is required.
OSHA 1910.67 (b)(1) and 1926.453 (a)(1) Incorporate ANSI A92.2 by reference

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Safety Bulletin: Electrical Continuity Hazard

Always wear insulated protective equipment, use conductor cover-ups, and maintain required clearances when in the vicinity of energized conductors. Aerial devices and digger derricks with insulated booms can only isolate the operator from grounding through the boom and vehicle. They cannot provide protection against phase-to-phase or phase-to-ground contacts occurring at the boom-tip, above the insulated boom sections. Boom-tips of aerial devices and digger derricks, of necessity, must contain metal components. Metal conducts electricity. Moreover, under certain circumstances, and to varying degrees, electricity will track across or through non-metallic components (fiberglass covers and structures, hoses, etc.). Electricity can even arc through air. Thus, the boom-tip of an aerial device or a digger derrick must be considered conductive! If any part of the boom-tip contacts an energized conductor, the entire boom-tip, including the control handle, must be considered energized. If any part of the boom-tip contacts a grounded object, the entire boom-tip, including the control handle, must be considered grounded. Hydraulic fluid is flammable. If electricity flows through the boom-tip, it can cause the hydraulic fluid to burn or to explode. Contact by any part of the boom-tip with an energized conductor while the boom-tip also is in contact with another energized source or a grounded object can cause the hydraulic fluid at the boom-tip to burn or explode. These are among the reasons aerial devices1 and digger derricks are never considered primary protection for the operator from electrical contact. An operator’s primary protection comes through use of protective equipment (insulated gloves, insulated sleeves, conductor cover-ups) and maintenance of appropriate clearances. Do not rely on the boom-tip of an aerial device or digger derrick to protect you from an energized conductor or a ground. It cannot do so. Rely, instead, on the only things that can protect you, use of appropriate protective equipment and maintenance of appropriate clearances. 1 Except ANSI Category A units

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Altec Boom Tip Cover Program

Altec is committed to helping our customers work “safer and smarter”. This commitment to safety is reflected in our ongoing efforts to work closely with customers to develop products that help you protect your employees from the hazards of working around energized lines.

As you know, contact of conductive portions of an aerial device above the insulated upper boom (that is , contact at the boom tip) with energized conductors or grounded objects may result in serious injury. This is especially true when workers violate OSHA regulations by not covering conductors, not covering other potentially energized components or not wearing rubber gloves. Line crews should never rely on the boom-tip of an aerial device or digger derrick to protect them from an energized conductor or ground. The only real protection available is the use of appropriate protective equipment while maintaining appropriate clearances to energized conductors.

In an effort to provide at least some protection when line crews fail to use these proper work practices , Altec has developed boom tip covers in a kit form for field retrofit to Altec insulated aerial devices. These covers are compact, attractive and similar to existing covers on your aerial devices. The covers are not dielectrically rated and you should consider them to be conductive in your work methods. However, these covers may provide some protection against electrical hazards in the event that contact is made with uncovered conductors or other potentially energized components when crews fail to use correct work practices. As with all covers, they must be kept clean and in good condition to provide any protection.

Altec’s new cover kits are now available on a wide range of Altec models that are equipped with standard boom tip options. Cover kits will become available on additional models in the near future. In some instances, a special customized cover kit unique to a particular customer’s unit may be required. Please allow three to five weeks for delivery on completed cover kits.

In an effort to minimize the financial impact on our customers while raising the level of safety awareness , Altec is offering these new cover kits at a price that is at or below our cost. To learn more about cover kits and when kits for additional Altec models will become available, please visit Altec’s web site at and click on the “Safety First” icon from the home page. You can also contact Altec toll free at 1-877-GO ALTEC. Your Altec account manager will also be able to help you with additional information about cover kits.

If there is any way Altec can assist you in improving operator safety, please feel free to let us know.

Altec Industries, Inc .
Attn: Prevention & Product Safety
210 Inverness Center Drive
Birmingham, AL 35242
Email: josh.chard@altec .com

Friday, August 24, 2007

Toyota develops fuel cell lift truck

Toyota Material Handling, U.S.A., Inc. displayed a prototype of a fuel cell lift truck at ProMat 2007 in Chicago. The prototype, called the Toyota FCHV-F, was developed by Toyota Industries Corporation in cooperation with Toyota Motor Corporation.

“ Toyota’s commitment to the environment is widely illustrated through its vast motor vehicle and truck applications,” said Shankar Basu, president and CEO of TMHU. “However, this is the first example of a fuel cell lift truck that is designed to significantly reduce emissions.”

Using hydrogen as its main power source, the Toyota FCHV-F produces electricity without combustion and generates zero carbon dioxide emissions. Overall operating costs are reduced due to less fuel consumption and lower maintenance.

Maintenance is lower than electric lift trucks, whose batteries must be periodically charged, refilled with water and replaced. In addition, the fuel cell hybrid system ensures constant power delivery and performance, eliminating the reduction in voltage output that occurs as batteries discharge.

These and other features make fuel cell lift trucks ideally suited to conditions found at large distribution centers, where lift trucks often run continual 24-hour shifts. These individual plants will be able to establish their own hydrogen fueling stations and achieve significantly lower total logistics costs.

Toyota plans to continue to advance its fuel cell technology and bring a fuel cell lift truck to market in the next few years.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

UpRight aerial lifts to be rebranded Snorkel

By Amy Materson, originally posted on

Following acquisition for $100 million earlier this year by the Tanfield Group, Snorkel has expanded its line of aerial work platforms, adding eight former UpRight models to the company’s line. The models include electric scissor, mast and articulated boom lifts.

The move allows Snorkel to expand into a full-line manufacturer and offer smaller electric lifts as well as rough terrain scissors and big booms, says Darren Kell, chief executive of the Tanfield Group. Kell says Tanfield will benefit two ways, in fulfilling demand for these machines with Snorkel’s customer base and allowing Tanfield to compete for large rental fleet business.

Some of the new lifts will be produced at Snorkel’s Elwood and Wathena, Kansas, facilities.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Rockfall is a danger Manitou knows all too well

August 6, 2007 - 2:19PM

MANITOU SPRINGS - Rockfall is not just a threat along mountain highways. In this mountain hamlet, 30-ton boulders have made headlines crashing into buildings.

There’s even a monster dangling over a row of houses and the Mason Lodge on El Paso Boulevard, lashed to the mountainside by steel cables.

Marsha Williams is well aware of it. The huge slab tilts at a frightening angle about 200 feet above the house she rents.

“I think about it at times,” Williams said. “But you can’t go through life worrying about that stuff.”

The boulder looks like any of a dozen or so on a ledge above the boulevard. It slipped in 1995 after a heavy rain.

Bruce Brian, who owns the 5 acres adjoining the cliff, recalls the incident, which led authorities to evacuate the home Williams rents, along with three others.

“At the time, people got pretty anxious about it,” Brian said, recalling how 92-year-old Homer Sharpton lived in the Mason Lodge for a time.

“When you’re told you have to leave your house because you might get crushed by a boulder, it creates anxiety,” Brian said.

Mining experts were hired to secure the boulder by lashing it with inch-thick steel cable anchored to bolts drilled deep into adjacent cliffs.

“They engineered it really well,” Brian said. “I’ve been watching it for years. It hasn’t moved since.”

Leonie Theelen and her son, Joe, have lived next door for 20 years. They don’t worry about the lassoed rock as much as the ones around it.

“They only cabled one,” Joe Theelen said. “Look at the others. There’s a hell of a big one up there that didn’t get cabled. Sooner or later, that’s going to go. I can’t think about it.”

Manitou’s public works director, Kelly McMinn, thinks constantly about rockfall.

There are streets in town where he won’t park — such as Lafayette Road and Lovers Lane just off Canon Avenue. He and his crews regularly scoop up chunks of rock that sheer off the cliffs above.

“In 2001, a big rock came off on Lovers Lane and squashed a little red car like a bug,” McMinn said.

“We’ve got a number of rocks we are concerned about. Unfortunately, none of them are on city property. There’s nothing we can do but tell the owners. They usually just shrug their shoulders at us.”

Actually, the city in 2001 bought two houses on Washington Avenue, above Lovers Lane and City Hall, after cracks developed in the street.

“A geologist said the hillside was starting to move toward City Hall,” McMinn said.

Experts said the weight of the two houses was contributing to the slide so the city bought and demolished them. It installed an inclinometer on the hillside to watch for movement.

The most spectacular series of falls may have been 20 years ago, when heavy rains loosed the hillside behind the 900 block of Manitou Avenue, across from the Arcade.

On June 30, 1987, a 6-foot-diameter boulder, estimated at more than 30 tons, rolled down and punched a hole through the wall of Dr. Horace Gardner’s ophthalmology office.

“We were lucky. It ended up a couple inches from the natural gas pipe,” Gardner said.

Days later on July 2, another rock came to rest against a gift shop next door.

Both buildings were evacuated and closed for weeks while miners and a giant crane broke up and removed the rocks and then went to work securing the cliffs behind the buildings with rock bolts.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Manitowoc pledges to tackle fake crane parts

Manitowoc has joined the war on counterfeit crane components and is determined to see the practice stamped out.

It is the second company to raise concern about counterfeit parts after it identified Asian companies building unlicensed mast and jib sections for its Potain tower cranes. According to the company, counterfeit parts were on display at Bauma.

It is in no doubt that these items are not being sold as an alternative component, but passed off as original parts. Frans Vanwinkel, vice president of sales and marketing for Manitowoc in Europe, said: "They are copied to mirror as closely as possible an original Potain part, including designation and identification plate."

The company's engineers have "grave concerns" about the manufacturing quality of a number of the counterfeits. "There is a risk that they are not fit for task," said Vanwinkel.

While no counterfeit parts have been detected with European operators, Vanwinkel said: "The suppliers are now looking at Europe and customers will be tempted by the lower purchase cost without realising the potential risks involved."

Manitowoc has created an internal task force to tackle the problem and is raising awareness of the potential dangers with customers.

It has also reiterated its recommendation that customers source parts from an approved source. Vanwinkel stresses that this is not a ploy to increase parts sales and said: "With this counterfeit issue, people's safety is at stake and safety is the primary value of Manitowoc Crane Group.

"Consequently, we are determined to undertake any action that can help our customers and crane users to protect themselves and that can lead to the shut down of the counterfeit operation." He said the company is "actively leading initiatives within industry trade associations, whether at a European level or globally".

Friday, July 27, 2007

Forklift tips over, crushing operator

Forklift tips over, crushing operator

A forklift operator was loading empty totes onto a trailer at night. The loading dock ramp was poorly lit, and the forklift did not have rear lights that could give adequate lighting for travelling in reverse.

The operator was backing the forklift down the ramp. Its right wheels went onto a ledge on one side of the ramp, and a difference in elevation developed rapidly between the right and left sides of the forklift. The difference increased as the forklift moved backward. The forklift tipped over and the operator, who was not wearing a seatbelt, was partially ejected from the seat. The operator was trapped between the forklift and the ground, receiving fatal injuries.

Safe work practices:

  • Eliminate forklift tipover hazards wherever practicable. Where tipover hazards cannot be eliminated, implement other methods of ensuring forklifts will not contact the hazards.
  • Install the required general lighting in all work areas.
  • Ensure forklifts have the required lights.
  • Train operators to follow the manufacturer's instructions on how to prevent tipovers, and ensure they know how to react in the event of a tipover.
  • Ensure seatbelts and other operator-protection devices are used if the forklifts were manufactured with them.
  • Consider retrofitting older forklifts with seatbelts or other operator-protection devices. These are designed to reduce the risk of the operator's head and torso being trapped and crushed between the truck and the ground in the event of a tipover.

To see a slide show on this incident, visit the web site at

Friday, July 13, 2007

Michelin plant begins testing hydrogen-powered lift trucks

as posted on Modern Material Handling

July 11, 2007

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

What next for crane safety?

Tuesday, 03 July 2007

Accidents involving tower cranes seem to have become an all too common occurrence over the past couple of years. Fatal accidents in Battersea last year, Liverpool earlier this year, and the collapse of a crane in Croydon on 2 June have shone a spotlight on the practices of tower crane owners.

According to the Health & Safety Executive (HSE), crane collapses such as these “are still rare” and there has been no significant increase in the number of accidents involving tower cranes. It says: “In six years there have been four fatal incidents where there have been eight fatalities.

“However, any incident is one too many, and because of the nature of tower cranes, when something goes wrong people get badly hurt or killed.”

The HSE cites the ICC RIDDOR database, which lists seven reported accidents involving the collapse of a tower cranes since 2004/05. However, CJ knows of seven accidents involving tower cranes in the past nine months, and has been told by industry bosses that several other incidents have gone unreported. Clearly the official statistics do not tell the full story.

A feature in the 28 February edition of CJ explained the factors contributing to the rise in tower crane accidents: the UK’s tower crane population has grown more than four-fold in the past 10 years, but the pool of competent, experienced and well-trained workers to erect, inspect, maintain and operate them has not grown at the same rate.

Plant consultant Tim Watson says: “It’s stretching the resources of the tower crane owners in finding experienced people.”

With the construction industry booming, tower crane fitters are under the same pressure as everyone else to get things done quickly and move on to the next job.

They work hard, for long hours, often driving many miles on the road every day before and after work. In this environment, the challenge is to ensure that safety is not compromised by short-cuts. With a tower crane, of course, an accident is likely to be more spectacular and cause more damage to life, limb, wallets and construction schedules than any other piece of equipment on site.

Canary Wharf incident

As previously reported, the tower crane industry has made a lot of effort to set its own house in order since the high profile fatal accident in May 2000 at Canary Wharf. A Tower Crane Interest Group (TCIG) has been set up within the Construction Plant-hire Association (CPA), which has published numerous HSE-approved guidance documents and been centrally involved in the development of both new standards and a new training regime, including a course and NVQ for tower crane erection, under the auspices of the Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CPCS).

However, this is not enough, admits Paul Phillips, chairman of the TCIG. “One of the biggest questions that has been raised about the Tower Crane Interest Group is that we’ve produced a lot of paper, but we are not in a position to implement it. It’s down to the companies to implement it,” he says. “You can take a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink if it doesn’t want to.”

Tower crane owners do take safety procedures seriously. Method statements and risk assessments are diligently produced. Training is carried out. The procedures of Select Plant, for example, which owns the country’s largest fleet of tower cranes, are state-of-the-art. It has a 52-page document, The Safe Operation of Cranes, setting out its procedures. It is available on parent company Laing O’Rourke’s website for all to download.

It was Select, however, that was the owner and operator of the crane that collapsed on 2 June in Croydon on the site of Haymills’ Altitude 25 project.

While in previous tower crane accidents the Health & Safety Executive was able to point a finger at systemic failings in maintenance and operations, at Croydon it was pure human error – either collective or individual – and the HSE was swift to publicise the cause of the accident, which was obvious to anyone who studied the widely published photographs of the aftermath.

At the time of the Croydon accident, Select was raising the height of the top-slewing flat-top Terex-Comedil CTT 181 crane using a standard method known as climbing. With this method, a climbing frame designed by the crane manufacturer for a specific crane model or mast width is attached to the outside of the top mast section just below the slew ring.

Climbing higher

The top of the frame is then bolted or pinned to the upper section of the crane. The top mast section is then disconnected from the upper, so that the upper and the mast are connected only by the climbing frame. The climbing frame has a series of double-acting hydraulic jacks which rise up and lift the upper above the top mast section by the height of a single mast section.

A new mast section is then introduced into the frame and secured into place in the tower, then the whole process is repeated until the desired height is achieved.

For high cranes, climbing like this eliminates the need for a costly long-reach mobile crane.

Care is required because the climbing frame is not designed to withstand the same lateral forces as the mast. Therefore, when the top of the climbing frame is attached to the underside of the slew ring, the crane has to be in balance. “Most manuals will tell you the radius that the trolley has to be at with a balance weight on the hook – usually a mast section,” explains Tim Watson. “There is a reasonable margin of error, but not a massive one,” he adds.

There are risks involved, but it is not an especially difficult operation, says Phillips. Watson agrees: “They climb cranes all the time in continental Europe and seldom have problems.”

Select got this climbing operation wrong. As the HSE has confirmed, the erection crew failed to connect the top of the climbing frame to the crane upper, so that when the jacking began the upper was simply balancing on the frame with no physical connection, it over-balanced and fell backwards off the frame. That it came to rest on the roof of the neighbouring Croydon Park Hotel meant that the crane operator, whom the fire brigade had to rescue from the cab, was the only person injured.

The key question is how could the erection crew have missed out such a basic step in the procedure. “With Select, you just can’t believe it,” says the boss of a rival crane company. “It has very good safety systems. It does all the right things that you are meant to, but still there was an accident. Procedures and systems are not enough.

“You need people thinking on their feet. Forgot to pin it? How the hell can you forget to do that?”

Questions will doubtless be asked as to whether the Croydon crew had received adequate training on the workings of the specific climbing frame that was being used, as they are supposed to. Laing O’Rourke, Select’s owner, maintains that the Croydon crew was “adequately trained” and had “gained on-site experience before taking part in climbing operations”.

Design variations

Although such details as connection designs may vary between different crane manufacturers, the basic operational principles are consistent across all makes. “All climbing frames are different in detail and very similar in principle,” says Watson.

In other words, whatever the make, you still have to connect the frame to the upper, so it seems hard to attribute any possible lack of model-specific training as a cause here.

The over-arching question for the industry is how to eliminate the risk of someone, somewhere, having a senior moment. Everyone, in any walk of life, is prone to forgetting something, dropping something or just making a simple mistake.

It is an inevitability of life. With tower crane erection, however, the consequences can be catastrophic. Such risks are minimised by proper planning, procedures, training and site supervision, but can never be totally eliminated.

So what advice is there for contractors who may be concerned about the recent performance of the tower crane industry?

The HSE says: “Our advice to contractors is simple. They should make sure that the cranes they use are suitable for the specific site conditions, are subject to regular maintenance and thorough examination in accordance with the law, and that the crane driver is suitably trained and familiar with the crane which is to be used.

“They should make sure that all lifting operations are properly planned by a competent person and appropriately supervised. Cranes can be erected and operated safely provided they are properly erected according to the manufacturer’s instructions and by trained staff.”

Paul Phillips has an additional suggestion: if a contractor has concerns about using external climbing frames for tower cranes on a high rise building, they could consider designing the project around a crane inside the core of the building.

“If you’ve got a choice, internal climbing is safer,” he says. “You also save on mast sections [since the whole crane is jacked on to the floors of the building as they are built].

“The downside is that you need a large mobile crane or a special derrick system to remove it.”

New safety standards implemented in oil industry

The American Petroleum Institute (API) has developed new safety standards to meet the demands of the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board.

The new standards came as a result of an explosion at a Texas refinery that killed 15 people and injured 170 in 2005, the worst in U.S. industrial accident in 16 years. The safety board found nine trailers were 121 feet away from the unit that exploded, and workers in trailers 480 feet away from the explosion were injured.

It was recommend to the API that they require refineries to limit how close workers' portable trailers can be placed near hazardous operations. New standards for oil refiners, like Exxon Mobile Corp., suggest three "blast zones" where portable buildings can be placed, depending on construction material in a trailer and the size of a close by refinery unit.

Since 1992, 36 refinery accidents involving hazardous chemicals have caused 52 deaths and 250 injuries, according to the OSHA. The industry is considered the most dangerous in the country.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Georgia Tech creates program to improve workplace safety

Because there are so many unknown and unusual hazards surrounding different occupations, Georgia Tech developed a consultation program that provides technical expertise and training to help Georgia companies create safe environments for their workers. The program is funded by the OSHA and is free to companies with less than 250 workers.

In 2005, 3,838 serious hazards were identified in over 350 companies. By the program's consultants finding these hazards, employers saved $3.8 million in potential penalties from the OSHA.

Georgia Tech's consultation program serves a variety of different companies including food processors, construction companies and nursing homes. Consultants evaluate safety programs already in place and help strengthen them as well as focus on three areas: safety issues, like fire protection, emergency response, electrical safety and machine guarding, fall protection and machine hazards; health hazards, including exposure to chemicals, noise and blood-borne pathogens; and ergonomic problems that can cause musculoskeletal disorders.

Friday, June 29, 2007

SAFE Stand Down largest in Texas history

SAFE Stand Down largest in Texas history
The AGC organized the SAFE Stand Down in Texas, an event that gives workers safety and procedural training. The theme "Take Five to Stay Alive" promoted pre-task planning to reduce accidents and increase work safety.

This was the fifth event in Texas, and the first to go state-wide. The first stand down took place in 2005 when the region experience 32 jobsite deaths in 2004, and nine occurred in the first four months of 2005.

"Every Stand Down gets bigger and bigger," said Dino Sideris, safety director for Bob Moore Construction. "We saw how successful the training sessions were in the Metroplex and rolled the concept out to the rest of the state. It's very gratifying to know that the efforts we put in motion two years ago are now improving the welfare of more than 5,000 workers around the state. Ultimately, I'd like to see other states pick up this program as well."

According to the AGC, about 306 general contractors participated in the event, training 5,200 workers, which stopped more than $2.1 billion in commercial construction projects.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Crane Accidents Raise Concerns About Safety

June 21st, 2007 @ 6:00pm

Whit Johnson Reporting,, KLS TV/Channel 5

Two Crane accidents in two days are raising some serious questions about safety.

We have no official word on what caused these two accidents, but a new law calls for crane operators to have mandatory certification. With ongoing construction across the state lawmakers say the change is a step in the right direction.

The accidents can be deadly and the damage extensive. Sen. Gene Davis(D), Senate Minority Whip, says, "This is a bigger piece of equipment that when failure hits can risk a lot of life, limp and property."

Sgt. Victor Quezada with the Sandy City Police Dept. says, "If this would have hit a car there definitely would have been a fatality. There's no question."

On State Street in Sandy this morning a crane installing a sound barrier tipped over. Traffic was blocked off for hours while crews cleaned up the mess.

Sgt. Quezada says, "It looks like it came down across the lanes of traffic. Again, nobody was coming at the time which is a good thing."

Yesterday in Orem a similar accident although the consequences much worse. A crane fell on top of a house three people inside. In both accidents, no one was hurt.

Sen. Davis says, "The object is to have certified operators in the seat of these cranes to lessen the impact of these accidents."

For the last four years democratic state Senator Gene Davis has attempted to pass a law that would require all crane operators to hold specific certification. "A semi truck driver has to be certified a fork lift operator has to be licensed," Sen. Davis says.

In the last legislative session the final piece of the puzzle enforcement was put into place. Sen. Davis says, "It raised that whole issue of safety in the work site and safety in the construction areas."

Complete with fines and penalties it's in an effort to prevent accidents like these from happening again. Multiple agencies are still investigating both crane accidents. The new law requiring certification will take effect next week.

Monday, June 25, 2007

8th Annual National Work Zone Awareness Week held

The National Work Zone Awareness week was hosted by the Virginia Department of Transportation in April 2007. It was created in 1997 and was designed to improve work zone safety through engineering, education, enforcement and coordination with public safety agencies. Some of the participating groups include the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), the Federal Highway Administration, American Road and Transportation Builders Association and the American Traffic Safety Services Association.

Work zone fatalities have increased by 40 percent from 1997 to 2005, according the Federal Highway Administration. In 2005, there were 1,074 work zone fatalities. However, the rise in work zone has fallen in highway fatalities. In 1996, there were roughly 5.5 deaths per 100 million miles of travel and in 2005, there were 1.46 deaths per 100 million miles of travel, according to highway officials.

Some of the things people had done in the past during National Work Zone Awareness week were tying orange ribbons to their vehicle's antennae and driving around with their headlights on. Now about 46 states participate in the event.

Yacht rollover preps sailor for race

As posted on the Hamilton Spectator, The Canadian Press, TORONTO (Jun 20, 2007)

Riding inside a racing yacht as it is tips upside-down may sound like a new extreme sport, but for sailor Derek Hatfield, it's an important step toward the Vendee Globe solo around-the-world race.

Each of the Open-60 class yachts competing in the race must prove to organizers that, should the boat roll over, it can be righted by the skipper alone.

Yesterday morning, about 100 sponsors, support team members and spectators gathered at the Canadian Yacht Club to watch a heavy-duty crane tip over Hatfield's yacht, The Spirit of Canada.

Sealed inside the boat's cabin, Hatfield held on as the crane slowly tilted the vessel until it rolled all the way over with a splash.

"When you're inside there everything is disoriented because you're upside down and now instead of things being on the floor, they're above your head and it really gets quite dramatic," Hatfield said after the test. "But once you get upside down it takes a few minutes to find yourself.

"I start looking for my control unit on the floor, and of course it's above my head. You're initial reaction is to go looking for it where you last saw it."

With everything inverted, Hatfield had to operate the boat's mechanical canting keel, which can be moved left and right. At about 15 degrees off centre, the keel's weight began to lift the hull out of the water. A few more degrees and a tipping point was reached as the boat rapidly righted itself to complete a successful test, bringing cheers from those gathered.

"I jumped on the floor, on the ceiling actually, and then on a shelving unit and then it rolled right over and I was nice and safe inside the ship," Hatfield said. "Everything went according to plan, no damage inside the boat."

Hatfield will be the only Canadian of the 27 sailors in the Vendee Globe race, which begins in the Bay of Biscay in France in November 2008. It will take racers about three months to sail from France to the Cape of Good Hope, then south to Australia and South America and back up the Atlantic Ocean to France. No outside assistance is permitted during the event.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

New stand-up lift truck reflects Crown's commitment to design

Crown introduces the RC 5500, a stand-up truck designed with the operator and maintenance crew in mind.

read more | digg story

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Lift Truck Basics

From the pages of Modern Materials Handling

Lift truck basics

The first lift trucks, introduced in the 1920s, were simple pieces of motorized equipment designed to move pallet loads from point A to point B. Today, sophisticated lift trucks are available in a combination of designs, weight capacities and lifting heights and with a variety of safety and ergonomic features.

Perhaps the only universal characteristics of today’s diverse selection of lift trucks are the forks used to lift loads and the tires used to move them. (And even lift truck tires come in two varieties: cushion and pneumatic. Cushion tires are made of solid rubber and are best for indoor applications. Pneumatic tires, which are inflated with compressed air, are more expensive and preferred for outdoor work.)

This article provides an introduction to the design, application and cost of several types of lift trucks:

Counterbalanced lift trucks

  • Internal combustion trucks
  • Electric trucks

Narrow-aisle lift trucks

  • Reach trucks
  • Turret trucks
  • Orderpickers

Low lift pallet trucks (a.k.a. pallet jacks)

The most common type of lift truck, also known as a forklift, is the counterbalanced, sit-down truck. A weight located in the rear of one of these trucks counterbalances the weight of the load, ensuring the truck doesn’t tip forward.

A typical counterbalanced lift truck has:

  • a capacity of 5,000 pounds,
  • a lifting height of about 16 feet, and
  • comes outfitted with lights, backup alarms and other safety features.

Counterbalanced trucks are powered either by internal combustion engines or electric motors.

Internal combustion counterbalanced lift trucks
More than 60% of the counterbalanced lift trucks sold in North America during 2006 were of the internal combustion type, according to James Malvaso, president of the Industrial Truck Association (ITA) and CEO of Raymond Corp. This includes trucks for both indoor and outdoor use. The percentage of internal combustion lift trucks used for indoor warehousing applications, he says, is not nearly as large.

Internal combustion trucks run on a variety of fuels, including gasoline, diesel, liquid propane gas (LPG) and compressed natural gas (CNG). LPG is the most common fuel for indoor trucks. Larger lift trucks for outdoor use are typically gasoline- or diesel-powered.

Compared to electric trucks, internal combustion trucks are quicker and easier to refuel, but they must be refueled multiple times per shift. While they also produce noise and air-polluting emissions, the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as well as the California Air Resources Board have set standards that limit emissions.

According to “Rules of Thumb,” a pricing guide published by consulting firm Gross & Associates, a counterbalanced LPG truck with a 5,000-pound capacity costs roughly $19,000 to $24,000.

The ITA classifies internal combustion counterbalanced lift trucks with cushion tires as Class 4 trucks and those with pneumatic tires as Class 5.

Electric counterbalanced lift trucks
Electric trucks get their power from large, heavy lead-acid batteries, which provide much of their counterweight. These trucks are only suitable for indoor use.

While they cost more than internal combustion trucks, electric trucks are less expensive to operate, says Malvaso, due to lower fuel and maintenance costs. “Rules of Thumb” lists an electric counterbalanced truck with a 5,000-pound capacity at $25,000 to $30,000, including a battery and charger.

Electric trucks are quiet, produce no emissions and can usually run a full eight-hour shift on one battery charge. Removing, recharging and reloading batteries—which typically weigh around 3,000 pounds—can be cumbersome and time consuming, however, and traditionally require a dedicated space for battery handling. Newer fast charging technologies, however, are beginning to change that paradigm.

Electric counterbalanced trucks are classified as Class 1 lift trucks by the ITA. Class 1 also includes stand-up counterbalanced trucks and other electric trucks built for general use.

The ITA’s Class 2 includes a variety of electric lift trucks built for use in narrow aisles.

At 12 feet wide, standard storage aisles allow a counterbalanced lift truck to turn in the aisle and put away a load. Narrow aisles are typically only 8 feet wide—and very narrow aisles are only 5.5 to 6 feet wide—requiring specialized lift trucks that can put away loads without turning or that are small enough to make tight turns.

Three of the most common narrow-aisle trucks are reach trucks, turret trucks and orderpickers.

Narrow-aisle reach trucks
Reach trucks are the original narrow-aisle lift truck.

These trucks are small enough to turn in narrow aisles because they don’t need a large counterweight. Instead, outrigger arms extend in front of the trucks to provide stability. The outrigger arms, however, can prevent the trucks, depending on storage configuration, from getting close enough to the storage rack to deposit and retrieve loads. To overcome this, a reach truck is designed with a telescoping mechanism—called a pantograph—that allows the forks to reach into storage locations.

Prices for 4,000-pound capacity narrow-aisle reach trucks range from $25,000 to $32,000, according to “Rules of Thumb.” Operator training for reach trucks may take longer than for other trucks because of the complexity of the controls.

Turret trucks
The lift truck often chosen for work in very narrow aisles is the turret truck. These trucks have pivoting forks that turn 90 degrees on either side and traverse from side to side.

To put away a load, an operator drives down the aisle with the load facing forward and then stops at the designated storage location. The forks pivot to the appropriate side and lift the load to the desired height. Then the forks traverse to their full extension, depositing the load. The forks return to their original position before forward travel resumes.

Turret trucks can be completely operator guided or can run on a wire guidance system—an attractive option in very narrow aisles. In man-up trucks, the operator compartment rises with the load. In man-down trucks, operators remain at floor level.

According to “Rules of Thumb,” a wire guided, man-up turret truck with a 4,000-pound capacity costs between $65,000 and $95,000.

While reach trucks and turret trucks are used for storing and retrieving pallet loads, orderpickers are used for handling individual items or cases. An orderpicker, also known as a stockpicker or an order selector, lifts the operator on a platform along with the forks. The operator picks items from bulk storage locations and places them directly onto a pallet on the forks of the truck.

Orderpickers can safely move forward while in an elevated position. They can be completely operator-guided or can run on wire guidance systems. “Rules of Thumb” lists a 3,000-pound capacity orderpicker at $19,000 to $28,000 and suggests adding $5,000 for wire guidance.

The simplest and least expensive lift trucks are non-powered pallet trucks, also known as hand pallet trucks or hand pallet jacks.

Non-powered pallet trucks use a lifting device—usually hydraulic—to raise pallets just a few inches off the floor. Operators then grab the truck’s handle and pull the load behind them.

Non-powered pallet trucks can cost as little as $500. Stainless steel pallet trucks required for food handling can cost up to $3,000, according to “Rules of Thumb.”

Electric-powered pallet trucks are also available. These trucks are:

  • easy to maneuver,
  • relatively inexpensive, and
  • available with forks long enough to accommodate two or three pallet loads.

Powered pallet trucks come in two versions, known as “walkies” and “riders.” The walkie is designed for the operator to walk along with the truck, while the rider has a platform on which the operator can stand. These trucks are often used in warehouses for order picking, with operators stacking cartons on pallets as they work their way down the picking aisles.

According to “Rules of Thumb,” powered pallet trucks range in price from $4,500 for a 4,000-pound capacity walkie to $13,000 for an 8,000-pound capacity rider.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Warehouse safety goes prime-time on NBCs The Office

The TV comedys Safety Training episode points out the dangers of operating lift trucks and baling machines without proper training.

read more | digg story

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

When You Hear A Siren - Make the Right Move

This blog was set up to create awareness about safety issues involving Lift Equipment. This particular post is safety oriented (from a very informative site about the LA Fire Dept) and appropriate in that it is about safety awareness; it's also the right thing to do. SG

Turn up your computer sound and click here!

During the month of April, we are again emphasizing Operation Right Move.

Sponsored by the Los Angeles Fire Department and California Office of Traffic Safety, Operation Right Move seeks to educate motorists about the importance of yielding to ambulances, fire trucks and police cars when they are responding to emergencies.

Nationwide, nearly 16,000 collisions occur each year because a growing number of drivers fail to Pull To The Right when emergency vehicles approach using their lights and sirens.

Learn how you can make The Right Move!

Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

Friday, April 13, 2007

Implementing and Developing Industry Standards in the Design of Agriculture Safety Systems

540 Implementing and Developing Industry Standards in the Design of Agriculture Safety Systems (A)

Industry standards for safety and performance dictate the development of new agricultural related safety products. The selection, interpretation, implementation, and the development of new standards will be discussed. The NIOSH automatically deployable rollover protective structure (AutoROPS) will be used as an example to emphasize the steps mentioned above.

Eugene A. McKenzie, Jr., Ph.D., P.E.

National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health - NIOSH
Morgantown, WV

Timothy J. Lutz, P.E.

CDC NIOSH - Pittsburgh Research Laboratory
Pittsburgh, PA

Mahmood Ronaghi, MSME, MSAE

National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health - NIOSH
Morgantown, WV

The key here is that some form of safety prevention and/or awareness is being generated and no longer being hidden - this type of forward thinking, proactive and aggressive, will continue to grow and help prevent equipment damage, operator injury and death. There have been a number of preventative measures on the market for years that are finally being looked at as a serious safety measure for roll over protection. Such a small investment will save millions (possibly billions) in insurance, law suits, health care, and equipment replacement.
Skip Gosnell

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

What is ISO 9001:2000?

The following is posted to continually promote what companies should strive for and use as a guide to offer better overall quality for the customers and employees alike!

What is ISO 9001:2000?

ISO 9001:2000 is an international standard that provides strict requirements for an organization's Quality Management System. The objective of the Quality Management System is to ensure a company consistently provides products and services that meet or exceed customer expectations as well as continually improve performance.

Quick facts:

  • ISO is recognized in over 150 countries worldwide.
  • In the United States alone, there are over 47,000 organizations certified.
  • Certification is voluntary.
  • Certification identifies the company's processes, not its products.
  • Certification is awarded by an independent third-party.
Example of what ISO means to a company and its customers:

Fire Facilities received certification for having met the requirements of
ISO 9001:2000.
For years, Fire Facilities has dedicated itself to delivering top-of-the-line training towers to the fire industry. By achieving ISO 9001:2000 certification, we have affirmed this quest. Our Quality Management System will be tested for ongoing effectiveness every six months over the next three years. This quality initiative is a journey without an end.

As a customer, this assures:

  • tower designs go through standardized methods
  • products and processes are continuously improving
  • Trends are analyzed and monitored
  • A corrective system is in place
  • The system is focused on you, the customer

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Certified Utility Safety Administrator Program

The Certified Utility Safety Administrator Program (CUSA) provides formal recognition to utility industry safety administrators for their experience and knowledge of safety practices. It is the first industry-oriented safety certification offering individual professional recognition to those in the utility safety profession. CUSA is managed and directed by the National Safety Council and its Utilities Division.

Monday, April 09, 2007


American Society of Safety Engineers News

Diane Hurns
847-768-3413 or

For Immediate Release


DES PLAINES, IL (August 9, 2004) - With thousands of farmers young and old -- being severely injured and hundreds more dying from work-related accidents each year, the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) urge farmers to be aware of and use injury prevention measures to help reduce accidents. Following the mining industry, agriculture is the second most dangerous occupation in the U.S. with a death rate of 22.7 people per 100,000 workers, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Most farm-related accidents are caused by machinery, with tractor accidents accounting for a high rate of fatalities.

And children are at risk. According to the National Consumers League (NCL), agriculture is the most dangerous industry for young workers. Citing Department of Labor statistics, the NCL notes that among young agricultural workers aged 15-17; the risk of fatal injury is four times the risk of that for young workers in other workplaces.

Recently, when a young worker was doing maintenance work on a large tub grinder his leg was sucked into the machine's rotor causing severe leg injuries. An eight year-old boy was accidentally crushed beneath a forklift truck driven by a family member last year.

Many tragedies occurring on farms can be prevented. A lot of farm deaths are tractor related, with the most common cause being tractor overturns, said ASSE Director of Member/Region Affairs and agriculture safety specialist Dr. Terry Wilkinson. Operating tractors equipped with an approved Rollover Protective Structure (ROPS) along with wearing a seat belt can help prevent tractor tragedies. The seat belt keeps the tractor operator in the zone of protection provided by the ROPS. Additional passengers on tractors, especially children, can lead to tractor-related fatalities. Extra riders are at greater risk of falls and being run over.

Other equipment-related injuries can be prevented by making sure all guards and shields are in place and functional, Wilkinson said. Farmers should familiarize themselves with the equipment operator's manual, the best source for information for preventing tractor and farm equipment-related injuries and fatalities. Conducting regular equipment inspections can also help prevent farm-related injuries by detecting and fixing equipment problems before use."

Also, working around Power Take-Off (PTO) machinery can be dangerous if workers are wearing loose clothing, as an entanglement could occur. Caution is urged when working around fruit and grain bins, silos, and livestock. Officials recommend that children 16 and under not work in these areas due to the high safety hazards, unless they are properly trained and closely supervised.

Farmers handle a variety of agricultural chemicals and other toxic substances. Many materials are hazardous and can be fatal if not used and stored properly. Farmers are also exposed to dust, sun, noise, and other farming health hazards. In an effort to assist the farming community, ASSE offers these following safety tips:

  • Develop an awareness of hazards on the farm and prepare for emergency situations including machinery entanglements, fires, vehicle accidents, electrical shocks from equipment and wires, and adverse health effects from chemical exposures.
  • Reduce the risk of injury and illness with preventive measures. Read and follow instructions in equipment operator's manuals. Follow instructions on product labels for safe use, handling, and storage.
  • Enroll children in local farm safety camps. Be especially alert to hazards that may affect children and the elderly.
  • Conduct routine inspections of your equipment to determine problems and potential failures that may contribute to or cause an accident.
  • Conduct meetings with employees and family members to assess safety hazards, discuss potential accident situations, and outline emergency procedures.
  • Properly maintain tools, buildings, and equipment.
  • Provide approved Rollover Protective Structures (ROPS).
  • Use seat belts while the tractor is in operation on tractors equipped with a ROPS.
  • Make sure guards for farm equipment are put back on after maintenance to protect workers from moving machinery parts.
  • Review material safety data sheets and labels that come with all chemical products.
  • Communicate information concerning hazards to all workers. Prevent pesticide poisonings and dermatitis caused by chemicals by ensuring that protective measures recommended on the labels are taken.
  • Take the necessary precautions to prevent entrapment and suffocation caused by unstable surfaces of grain storage bins, silos, wagons and other storage structures.
  • Be aware that methane gas, carbon dioxide, ammonia and hydrogen sulfide can be present in unventilated grain silos and manure pits in quantities sufficient to cause asphyxiation or explosion.

Farmers are at great risk of contracting respiratory problems due to the amount of dust and chemicals they breathe in on a daily basis. Wearing protective equipment, which is readily available, can prevent acute and chronic respiratory illnesses. Protective equipment such as mechanical filters and chemical cartridge masks are air-purifying respirators that help protect lungs from harmful gases and dusts.

Farm hazards can be identified and corrected by utilizing a farm hazard checklist. Wilkinson said. We urge farmers to contact their state or local Cooperative Extension or Farm Bureau office which provide programs such as farm safety camps, resources, training, and more aimed at preventing farm-related injuries.

As most farms do not fall under the auspices of OSHA rules and regulations, ASSE urges parents to train young farmers well in all aspects of farming, including safety. Nearly two million children live and/or work on farms. On average more than 100 children die every year from farm-related accidents. ASSE urges young farmers to enroll in a local farm safety camp, often sponsored by the local County Extension Service, a University, or Farm Bureau. Also check the North American Guidelines for Agriculture Tasks at .

To assist young workers and their parents, ASSE developed a free brochure titled "Workplace Safety Guide for New Workers" which provides tips on how young workers and parents can identify workplace hazards and has key contact information. The brochure along with farm safety tips and facts are available on the web at , ASSE Newsroom, by contacting , or your local ASSE chapter. Farm safety information is also available from NIOSH at 1-800-356-NIOSH or .

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Risk, Safety & Health

Risk, Safety & Health

Upgraded Boom Angle Indicator

This upgraded 4120 Series Boom Angle Indicator from Rieker is commonly used on off-road forklifts, material handlers and telescoping boom lifts - providing a constant real time boom angle that will not rust, freeze, or otherwise "hang up" like old-fashioned pendulum styles - for increased safety on the job site:

  • meeting or exceeding OSHA's Safety & Health Regulations for Construction Cranes, Derricks, Hoists, Elevators, and Conveyors (1926.550)
  • highly visible backlit version complies with National Fire Protection Association 1901 Standards for Automotive Fire Apparatus

First of its kind design allows the operator to read the angle from below, above and the side. Oversize markings for easy read up to 30 ft away. These instruments are made tough and - not effected by outdoor elements.
Made of 100% Polycarbonate material with a unique and patent pending technology, it is extremely durable, shock and vibration resistant. An added benefit of the shape and durability is more product will fit in smaller containers with less packing material - decreasing the cost of shipping. Each unit is properly dampened for smooth reliable readings, no sticking or holding up. It is designed for easy mounting with two screws, allowing for quick and efficient retrofitting in the field.

One of the best features is the weatherproof back lighting - making the 4120 highly visible at night or low light situations. These units are typically used on fire apparatus, specifically aerial ladder rigs - making the 4120 a rugged very cost effective way to comply with NFPA regulations. Available in either AC or DC for the following voltages; 24V and 12V (rated for 20,000 hours).

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Cost Effective, Easy to Install, Visual Rollover Warning for Lift Equipment

1017 Inclinometer Series

Rieker Inc designs and manufacturers "ball-in-tube" curved liquid filled vial inclinometers using precise glass tube and ball construction with engraved markings and customer specified color warning zones.

All our tubes are filled with a special damping fluid that controls the movement of the ball, providing the industry's best roll for smooth accurate readings. The fluid combined with large, clear number and degree markings make it easy to get quick, accurate readings under a wide variety of severe environmental conditions.

One of our “ball-in-tube” models that continues to set the bar for early warning devices is the 1017. It provides ±10º range with degree markings in 2º or more precise 1º increments. Available with up to 3 color warning zones (Green (G0)/Yellow (Warning) /Red (No Go)) these inclinometers greatly improve the vehicle operator’s ability to detect dangerous roll over situations before equipment damage or injury can happen.

The 1017 is typically mounted in the operator cab of an off-road forklift (or material hander) in a clear line of sight – this quickly helps operators identify when they are transcending too great a slope for the equipment in an effort to prevent a 'tip over' (or side to side roll over). 1017’s are also mounted on the rear of bucket/utility trucks or aerial ladder rigs in order to determine platform level prior to raising the boom. These MIL SPEC instruments are painted with customer specified color warning zones to quickly identify the recommended safety limits for tilt set forth by the Original Equipment Manufacturer.

Commonly used on utility trucks, aerial lift trucks, fire/rescue vehicles, off-road fork lifts, crawler cranes, construction equipment, aircraft, boats, military and government vehicles for monitoring platform level, boom angle, and preventing tip-over. The 1017 is a simple, cost effective way to comply with OSHA, ANSI, and NFPA standards and/or regulations specifying the need for a visual angle indicator (inclinometer) on lift equipment.

Rieker® Instrument Company, Inc. is a leading manufacturer of accurate, rugged, weatherproof inclinometers and tilt indicating instruments, since 1917. Rieker’s full line of tilt switches and inclinometers can be seen at

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Safety Tips for Aerial Lifts

Aerial lifts are frequently used in the industry for maintenance painting. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics about 26 construction workers (8% are industrial painters) die each year from using aerial lifts. Approximately 70% involve boom-supported lifts, such as bucket trucks and cherry pickers; 25% of the other deaths involve scissor lifts.

Aerial Lift Deaths from Boom Lifts
Half of the falls from boom lifts involved being ejected from the bucket after being struck by vehicles, cranes, or crane loads, or by falling objects, or when a lift suddenly jerked. Two-thirds of the deaths from collapses/tip-overs of boom lifts occurred when the bucket cable or boom broke or the bucket fell; almost one-third were due to tip-overs. Over one-third of the electrocutions involved an overhead power line contacting the lift boom or bucket. In most of the caught in/between deaths, a worker was caught between the bucket edge and objects such as roof joists or beams while repositioning the bucket.
Aerial Lift Deaths from Scissor Lifts
Three-quarters of the tip-overs of scissor lifts resulted in fall deaths; in the remaining accidents, workers died from being struck by the falling scissor lift. About two-fifths of the tip-overs occurred when the scissor lift was extended over 15 feet, mostly while driving the lift. In one-fifth of the falls the worker was ejected from the scissor lift, mostly when an object struck the scissor lift. Other fall deaths occurred after removal of chains or guardrails, or while standing on or leaning over railings.
Operator Training Is Vital
Frequently operators lack the training to know they are creating safety hazards. An aerial lift is a potentially dangerous tool when the operator has not read the operator’s manual. Contractors should provide required manuals to operators and maintenance mechanics. If they can not read or understand the language of manuals, ANSI safety standards allow others to explain the manuals. OSHA requires a qualified person to train all users on:
  • Any electrical, fall, and falling-object hazards.
  • Procedures for dealing with hazards.
  • How to operate the lift correctly (including maximum intended load and load capacity). The user must show he/she knows how to use the lift.
  • Manufacturer requirements.
If the hazards change, the type of aerial lift changes, or a worker is not operating a lift properly, workers must be retrained. Ask manufacturers and suppliers for specific instructions for the operation of special use aerial lift trucks. OSHA, NIOSH, the National Safety Council and their local affiliates, vocational-technical schools or other training institutions provide resources to learn this skill. (Find contact information below.)
In addition to the lack of training, many lift accidents are caused by misapplication of the machine, obstacles, and lack or use or incorrect use of outriggers.
Inspect Before Operating Lifts
Identifying and controlling hazards is very important for job site safety. OSHA regulations state that employers cannot force employees to use unsafe equipment. Generally a pre-start inspection is required for all types of aerial lifts at each job site. Check operating and emergency controls, safety devices (such as, outriggers and guardrails), personal fall-protection gear, wheels and tires, and other machine components specified by the manufacturer. Look for possible leaks (air, hydraulic fluid, and fuel-system) and loose or missing parts.
Contractors should immediately remove from service aerial platforms that do not operate properly or are in need of repair. A qualified mechanic must make all repairs using equivalent replacement parts. Substitution of parts is not wise; they have been known to cause accidents. De-energize and lockout/tagout aerial lifts before any maintenance or repairs. Each aerial lift must be inspected as the manufacturer requires – every 3 months or after 150 hours of use, whichever comes first.
Check the job site where the lift will be used. Look for a level surface that won’t shift. Check the slope of the ground or floor. A machine may not work properly on steep slopes that exceed slope limits set by the manufacturer. Look for hazards, such as, holes, drop-offs, bumps, and debris, and overhead power lines and other obstructions. Set outriggers, brakes, and wheel chocks – even if you’re working on a level slope.
Tips for Operating Aerial Lifts
  • Always close lift platform chains or doors.
  • Stand on the floor of the bucket or lift platform. Do not climb on or lean over guardrails, or ride on bumpers.
  • Do not exceed manufacturer's load-capacity limits (including the weight of such things as bucket liners and tools).
  • If working near traffic, put work-zone warnings, like cones and signs.
  • Do not modify an aerial lift without written permission of the manufacturer.
  • Be sure proper personal fall-protection is provided and used.
  • On bucket trucks, OSHA requires a full-body harness and lanyard or a restraining device to prevent falls. To help keep workers inside guardrails, OSHA allows restraining devices with a 2 ft. lanyard.
To prevent electrocutions painters, blasters, and other workers must stay at least 10 feet away from overhead power lines. Insulated buckets protect from electrocution due to electric current passing through you and the boom to ground. The buckets do not protect if there's another path to ground – for example, if you touch another wire.
To prevent tip-overs
  • Check the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Do not drive with the lift platform elevated (unless the manufacturer assures you that it is allowed).
  • Do not exceed vertical or horizontal reach limits or the specified load-capacity of the lift.
  • On an elevated scissor lift, avoid too much pushing or pulling.
More Safety Tips
  • If hazards on a job site change, the type of aerial lift changes, or a worker is not operating a lift properly, workers must be retrained.
  • Prevent unauthorized use by locking a machine, keeping its keys off the job site, or securing it in an inaccessible area when not working
  • Keep the operator’s manual on the machine at the job site not in the office.
  • Refer to the industry consensus standard, ANSI/SIA 92.2, for more information.
What You Should Know If You Rent
Many painting contractors rent aerial lifts instead of buying them. Therefore, you may not know which model you will be using, and may be unfamiliar with operator controls and other key features that differ on each model. Also, you may not know the maintenance history of the lift. The dealer or company renting out the lift should:
  • Properly inspect and service the lift before rental.
  • Provide operator and maintenance manuals.
  • Make sure the operator controls are easy to reach and properly marked.
- Based on Hazard Alert for Aerial Lift Safety and PowerPoint presentation by the Center to Protect Workers' Rights.
Other sources of information

Aerial/Worksite: New Standards - Digger Derricks

written by By Joshua T. Chard, Ph.D.Director, Product and Corporate Safety, Altec Industries, Inc.

A newly enacted standard for digger derricks will soon be impacting training requirements in the utility and telecommunications industries.

Most digger derrick products in use in the United States are designed, manufactured, tested, and intended to be operated with reference to applicable requirements of the utility and telecommunication industries and national consensus standards. Now, a newly enacted standard for digger derricks will present a new challenge for utility safety professionals.

The new national consensus standard, outlined in ANSI A10.31 2006 Safety Requirements, Definitions and Specifications for Digger Derricks, was approved on April 27, 2006. This revised version of the standard is the first change since 1995. It incorporates many changes, including new requirements for training of operators, for employers and owners, and for manufacturers of digger derricks. Standards from ANSI (the American National Standards Institute/Scaffold Industry Association), SAE Standards and Recommended Practices and other national consensus standards are incorporated by reference into various Federal Occupational Safety and Health (OSHA) Rules and Regulations. It should be noted by utility safety managers that the user of a digger derrick, such as the employer or employee, is responsible for compliance with the literal requirements of the OSH-Act. From OSHA's standpoint, if a regulation recognizes an ANSI or other national consensus standard, that requirement is binding.

OSHA Rules and Regulations that are relevant to most operations of digger derricks are specifically cited in Title 29 Code of Federal Regulations, Part 1910.67 Vehicle-mounted Elevating and Rotating Work Platforms; 29 CFR Subpart R, Special Industries; 1910.268 Telecommunications; 1910.269 Electric Power Generation, Transmission, and Distribution; 29 CFR 1926.453 Aerial Lifts; and 29 CFR Subpart V, Power Transmission and Distribution; 1926.952 Mechanical Equipment and 1926.955 Overhead Lines. Additionally, some sections of 1926.550 also apply.

Under the General Industry Tele-communication Standard, training is defined as:

1910.268(c) Training Employers shall provide training in the various precautions and safe practices described in this section and shall ensure that employees do not engage in the activities to which this section applies until such employees have received proper training in the various precautions and safe practices required by this section.

1910.269(a)(2)(i) Training Employees shall be trained in and familiar with the safety-related work practices, safety procedures, and other safety requirements in this section that pertain to their respective job assignments. Employees shall also be trained in and familiar with any other safety practices, including applicable emergency procedures (such as pole top and manhole rescue), that are not specifically addressed by this section but that are related to their work and are necessary for their safety. The newly enacted standard outlines specific requirements for owners of digger derricks and employers of equipment operators:

8.12.2 General Training Only personnel who have received general instructions regarding the inspection, application and operation of digger derricks, including recognition and avoidance of hazards associated with their operation, shall operate a digger derrick. Such items covered shall include, but not necessarily be limited to, the following issues and requirements:
1. The purpose and use of manuals.
2. That operating manuals are an integral part of the digger derrick and must be properly stored on the vehicle when not in use.
3. A pre-start inspection.
4. Responsibilities associated with problems or malfunctions affecting the operation of the digger derrick.
5. Factors affecting stability.
6. The purpose of placards and decals.
7. Workplace inspection.
8. Applicable safety rules and regulations, such as Part 4, ANSI/IEEE C2, National Electrical Safety Code (applies to utility workers as defined in ANSI/IEEE C2). The above standard is an example; other industries using digger derricks have safety rules pertinent to that industry.
9. Authorization to operate.
10. Operator warnings and instructions.
11. Actual operation of the digger derrick. Under the direction of a qualified person, the trainee shall operate the digger derrick for a sufficient period of time to demonstrate proficiency in the actual operation of the digger derrick.
12. Proper use of personal fall protection equipment when the digger derrick is equipped with a platform(s).

8.12.3 Retraining The operator shall be retrained, when so directed by the user, based on the user's observation and evaluation of the operator.

8.12.4 Familiarization When an operator is directed to operate a digger derrick he is not familiar with, the operator, prior to operating, shall be instructed regarding the following items and issues: 1. The location of the manuals. 2. The purpose and function of all controls. 3. The safety devices and operating characteristics specific to the digger derrick. These requirements for training appear general and may leave safety professionals with training responsibilities wondering where to begin. Often, OSHA will reference a national consensus standard for additional information when regulations are not specific. Ultimately, it is the responsibility of the owner or employer to determine who is qualified to operate this equipment. In fact, OSHA can cite employers for failing to follow a consensus standard under what is referred to as the General Duty Clause of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970. For example, under SEC. 5. Duties, "(a) Each employer (1) shall furnish to each of his employees employment and a place of employment which are free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm to his employees." The standard has new training-related requirements for manufacturers as well. Section 6.10 Training and Training Materials, says "Manufacturers shall develop and offer training materials that aid dealers, owners, installers and users in the operation, inspection, testing and maintenance of the digger derrick." The manuals provided by digger derrick manufacturers provide important specific instructions and warnings to help meet the requirements discussed in the new standard. Many manufacturers also provide safety and operation videos and computer-based training aids. The material presented in these training programs is intended to assist persons in understanding the basic concepts of safe and efficient maintenance of their equipment.

These programs alone are not necessarily sufficient to certify or qualify any person as an operator of digger derrick equipment. Additional general skills and training in the basic use of mobile hydraulic equipment and a thorough practical understanding of the actual unit being used and the contents of the Operators and Maintenance Manual is required. The new standard means that companies with digger derricks will have new operator training requirements to meet. Proper operator training is not only important to meet the requirements of standards, though. It is the right thing to do from an ethical and a business perspective. A properly trained operator is less likely to be injured, injure others or damage equipment or property. ip

Editor's Note: Copies of the complete ANSI A10.31 2006 Safety Requirements, Definitions and Specifications for Digger Derricks standard are available from the American Society of Safety Engineers, 1800 East Oakton Street, Des Plaines, Illinois 60018-2187, (847) 699-2929 or at