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Region 4 News Release: USDOL: 01-32
Wed., March 07, 2001
Contact: Harold Gill
Phone: (770) 984-8700 ext. 0
OSHA INITIATIVE FOCUSES ON REDUCING FATALITIES IN NORTH GEORGIA'S CARPET AND RUG INDUSTRY
The U.S. Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration Atlanta-West office has started the second phase of a local emphasis program to reduce industrial powered truck fatalities, particularly in North Georgia's carpet and rug industry.
"Within the past four years we've investigated 13 fatalities involving powered industrial trucks or fork lifts," said Susan Johnston, OSHA's Atlanta-West area director. "Four of these deaths occurred in North Georgia carpet and rug manufacturing plants, including the warehouse areas. The sad thing is, these tragedies did not have to happen."
As Johnston announced the new effort to prevent these accidents, she emphasized the agency's two-pronged approach: outreach education followed by strong enforcement.
In February, hoping to reach as wide an audience as possible, OSHA mailed information to local area powered industrial truck and fork lift vendors and asked them to distribute the packets to all customers. The packets included the new OSHA training requirements and urged employers and employees to review operating procedures, upgrade personnel safety training, examine --- and if necessary --- repair equipment and systems.
Patricia Morris, assistant area director and contact person for the outreach effort, said, "In too many of these fatalities the truck operator's view was obstructed. That's preventable. Safety training and safe operating practices are key to saving lives."
The forklift safety campaign will continue through Jan. 31, 2002. OSHA will focus on carpet and rug industry locations in the Atlanta-West area which includes 32 western counties from mid- to north Georgia. While the inspection phase will be geared to hazards related to powered industrial truck operations, if other hazards are observed they will be addressed.
Independent from OSHA's enforcement efforts, the Atlanta-West office will have a compliance assistance specialist available throughout the initiative to help employers develop and maintain effective forklift safety programs.
In addition, small business owners can take advantage of free on-site consultation services available from the Georgia Institute of Technology, Onsite Consultation Program, O'Keefe Building, Room 22, 151 Sixth Street, NW, Atlanta, Ga., 30332-0837; phone: (404) 894-2646.
For more information contact Patricia Morris, Atlanta-West area office, 2400 Herodian Way, Suite 250, Smyrna, Ga., 30080-2968; phone: (770) 984-8861.
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