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OSHA Hazard Information Bulletins
Employees' Exposure to the Hazard of Being Struck or Run Over By the Wheels of Travel Lifts
March 5, 1986
MEMORANDUM FOR REGIONAL ADMINISTRATORS
The Atlanta Regional Offices has brought to our attention a potential serious safety hazard existing with the use of straddle carriers or travel lifts in industrial yards. Three instances of fatalities have been noted where employees in pre-stressed decking manufacturing yards were exposed to the hazard of being struck or run over by the wheels of carriers traveling in the forward or reverse direction. All fatalities occurred when employees were crushed by wheels that were not within view of the operators. When a load is carried, one or more of the wheels may become invisible from the operator's station because the load itself obstructs visibility. A sketch of the machine is attached for your information.
The OSHA Marine Terminals Standard 1917.43(g)(2)(iii) requires that straddle trucks used in the vicinity of employees be equipped with personnel deflecting guards around the leading edges of the front and rear wheels. Section 1917.43(g)(3) of the same standard requires that visibility be provided to the operator in all directions of movement. The OSHA Construction Standard 1926.60 (a)(9)(i) requires that bi-directional material handling equipment used for earth-moving be equipped with a horn distinguishable from surroundings noise levels. Although this standard is not specifically applicable to straddle carriers, it provides a feasible method for alerting workers. The General Industry Standard, on the other hand, addresses this kind of equipment if used in the sawmill industry. Section 1910.265(c)(30(xi)(a) states, "Carriers shall be so designed and constructed that the operator's field of vision shall not be unnecessarily restricted."
Section 1910.265(d)(1)(ii)(i) requires that the movement of unloading equipment be coordinated by audible or hand signals when an operator's vision is impaired or when the equipment is operating in the vicinity of other employees.
In addition to personnel deflecting guards, audible horns or alarms, and the use of a signal or flagman suggested in the above standards, feasible methods include:
(a) Visual warning devices to alert workers of the movement of the unit;
(b) Properly selected and mounted mirrors for the operator to observe areas which are obstructed by the load.
Furthermore, training and good work planning to avoid travel in areas congested with workers, and maintaining equipment in good condition are necessary for safe operation.
We recommend that compliance and consultation personnel be aware of the hazard addressed in this bulletin. Please disseminate this information to Area Offices, State Plan States and Consultation Projects.