Forklifts right and wrong way

2011 BC Championship Forklift Rally

Soon I’ll have more news about the winners at the 14th Annual BC Championship Forklift Rally held on Saturday June 25th, 2011 in Cloverdale.

It’s a competition for forklift operators who work in or around the materials handling, distribution & logistics industry – testing their skills. I want to hear what it was like for the individual winners. How did they get so good at what they do?

In the meantime, I’ll tell you a story about some very unskilled forklift use. I heard it from a guy who worked in a warehouse full of industrial electric motor controls in the late 80s.

“I almost killed a guy,” said the worker, who asked to remain anonymous. “I tipped a 500-lb motor off the top of the rack with the forklift and it landed about a foot away from my coworker.”

How did the company follow up on this incident? They didn’t. It happened with two 20-year-olds alone in a warehouse. The guy’s coworker simply yelled: “Hey, be careful, dude!” and no further action was taken.

I asked if they had any training in using forklifts.

“Not really – just gas…brake…up…down,” he said.

It makes me angry to think about young people in this situation – untrained and unsupervised, using equipment that could potentially kill someone. But it’s good to see that times have changed, and there are programs like Raise Your Hand that remind young workers of their right to get proper safety training and refuse unsafe work.

Photo credit: Rosco Ellis on Twitter, fork lift in Texas

Today in BC, forklift operators are expected to be trained to a CSA (national) standard.

The young worker in this story could have used
How to prevent a forklift from tipping over
– especially Safe use of forklifts around other workers.

Regulations and related materials include

* WorkSafeBC’s Occupational Health and Safety Regulation, Section 16.4 and 16.7 Competency of operators

* OHS Guidelines G16.7(j)-1 and G16.7(j)-2

Common Factors in Forklift Accidents from the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety

Four tips for forklift safety from Canadian Occupational Safety magazine


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *