Here is the safety news that I thought was particularly interesting this past week.

In the “common theme” category

Thee incidents involving a fork truck. The first is due to an explosion from a combustion engine forklift entering a restricted area. The second one is a fork truck driver that was trapped under a load. The third one was from a fork truck pinning an employee. Forklifts are one of the most common industrial tools. They are also one of the most dangerous. Anytime that a fork truck contacts a pedestrian the pedestrian is going to lose. It does not matter whose fault it was or who or who was not paying attention. When working around fork trucks there is specific training (see section l) that has to occur for drivers. Another important element is training both drivers and pedestrians about the blind spots of the fork truck and how to communicate effectively between each other. Drivers have to be aware of pedestrians and pedestrians have to be aware of drivers. Before crossing paths always make eye contact and point the direction that you are going. If both the driver and pedestrian to do those two basic items, the risk from lack of communication can be greatly reduced.

In the category of “best headline”

Oregon OSHA $eeking Some Dough from Portland Bakery

This article is in regards to an OSHA citation for a willful amputation due to lack of guarding. Let me preface my next statement with that there are some plants to do a really good job in safety. Overall, through, the food industry has a ways to go in the world of people safety. The focus is mostly on how to keep the food safe for public consumption (which is should be), but there are many improvements that most other industries have made that the food industry as a whole has not addressed. The fact that OSHA tossed them a willful violation in this story is certainly telling.

In the “what the heck” category

A steel erection company had an employee fall 15 feet and become impaled on rebar. A little bit of research showed that this same company had an OSHA citation for a 2003 fatality. What was the fatality? A fall from height. According to their website, it showed that their safety program appears to be led by their projects director who can teach the OSHA 10 and 30 hour construction courses. I cannot express how important a robust safety program/person is to an organization. Even for small businesses that may not be able to afford a full time safety person, there are some wonderful consulting agencies that can help with compliance, training, and inspections. Certainly, selecting the right consultant is important. Just hiring a safety cop will not help the cause. It needs to be a partner to the company that will really get to know the company and its people. The goal is to get people motivated for safety and empower them with the right tools to do the job safely.