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Region 4 News Release USDOL: 02-180
Date: Tues., Sept. 10, 2002
Contact: Teresa Harrison Lorette Post
Phone: (404) 562-2300 (404) 562-2078
ATLANTA, Ga. -- Powered industrial trucks, better known as forklifts, accomplish tasks no worker could master alone. But, forklifts, used without proper care and caution, cause injuries and sometimes kill. That's why the U.S. Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has initiated a forklift accident prevention emphasis for Alabama, Florida, Georgia and Mississippi.
In a four-year period, in these four federally monitored southeastern states, 86 workers have died after being struck by or crushed by a forklift. A snapshot of some of the fatal accidents which OSHA has investigated shows the need for awareness of forklift hazards:
- a mason, working at a Florida construction site, was run over by a passing lift truck;
- at a Mississippi sod farm, a new and inexperienced employee was crushed when he fell from the steps of a forklift on which he was riding;
- in Alabama, two employees were crushed to death at separate manufactured home plants when "double-wide" homes were being fitted together using powered industrial trucks, and
- an employee was crushed and killed when he backed his powered industrial truck off a loading dock in Georgia.
OSHA estimates that one million powered industrial trucks are used in workplaces across the country. The forklift training standard requires employers to ensure that each operator is competent to run a powered industrial truck safety, as demonstrated by successful completion of a training program and evaluation. Careful adherence to the standard could, according to OSHA, save employers $135 million in costs associated with powered industrial truck-related accidents.
The agency's commitment to reducing forklift-related accidents is a multi-faceted effort. Consultation programs are available in each of the southeastern OSHA states to help employers comply with the standards by providing education and outreach free-of-charge upon request.
State consultation offices involved in the special emphasis program include: Alabama - 205-348-7136; Florida - 813-974-9971; Georgia - 404-894-2646, and Mississippi - 701-939-2047.
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