ARE HARD HATS REQUIRED TO BE WORN BY FORKLIFT OPERATORS?
The answer is yes and no. The hazard of each workplace will govern the choice of personal protective equipment used. It is the employer’s duty to determine if hard hats are required for his or her workplace. Here are some of the things that could place workers at risk:
· Physical hazards such as:
– Falling, moving, or flying objects.
– Heat or cold.
– Moving equipment or parts.
– Sharp objects.
· Forklift operators should wear a hard hat (helmet) whenever there is a danger of falling objects or bumping hazards such as:
– Working below other workers.
– Working around or under conveyor belts or machinery.
– Working in areas with low ceilings, hanging objects, or moving equipment.
– Working near exposed electrical conductor.
Please remember that the overhead guard on most forklifts was not designed to withstand a full load impact. A full load impact may crush an operator. Please remember also that the overhead guard has gaps or spaces that will allow small items to enter the operators area.
Hard hats are divided into three classes:
– Class A – Hardhats resist impact and penetration and provide low voltage electrical protection.
– Class B – Hardhats resist impact and penetration and provide protection from high-voltage electricity.
– Class C – Hardhats are most often made of stamped aluminum and provide impact and penetration resistance only. Never wear an aluminum hardhat around electricity.
Let’s face it, you can not move a 1,500-lb. forklift battery by hand. Most battery accidents occur when the batteries are changed manually.
With the proposed implementation of lifting limits under the ergonomic standards, currently under review, it is important to plan improvements in the way you handle your batteries and other heavy objects at your work site. Materials Handling Equipment Company offers a full line of battery lifting equipment as well as Gantry Cranes and Mobile Floor Cranes.
FORKLIFT BATTERIES AND THE EPA
Do you wash your wash water? After your electric forklift and its battery has been washed there are two BI-products. There is (1) a clean battery and (2) highly contaminated wash water.
Wash water draining from your equipment becomes contaminated with heavy metals such as lead, copper, antimony, and sulfuric acid. When you wash any piece of industrial equipment you are generating waste. This waste makes you responsible and liable for the proper disposal of that waste.
Remember when lead-based paint was outlawed? The EPA has targeted seven toxic waste materials and lead is one of them. Lead may be found in your wash water.
A º pound of lead will contaminate 500,000 gallons of water. Just a small amount of lead in your wash water can ruin the ground water supply. The EPA has strict fines for offenders.
There are many wastewater reclamation products on the market today; all of them have disposable filters.
What do you do with the waste filters when they are saturated with contaminates? Contaminated filters must be disposed of properly and the end user must have a “Certificate of Reclamation” on file, should the EPA review your site. Sounds like overkill does it not? The truth is, “The law is the law,” and we all want to pass on a better world to our grand children.