The place down the road from where I work, I wired for high-bay lights and various other things a few years back, suffered it's first workplace fatality today. Apparently, from what one of the supervisors was saying, they needed to replace one of the Metal-Halide lamps because it was nearing the end of it's life. When I wired and installed all of them fittings, I told the Boss there that he was to call the company I used to work for and get us to replace them. To that I was told "Nah, She'll be right, we have a forklift here", I told them to at least use an approved cage if they were going to replace any of the lamps or work at hieght off of a forklift. Now, today, from what I'm told they had the now deceased guy up on a wooden pallet on the forklift and the pallet broke from underneath him, sending him onto a concrete floor, he died (what I would imagine would be) a slow and painful death falling 5 metres (15ft), breaking his pelvis, breaking 6 ribs and puncturing a lung and a skull fracture. When is it that idiots are going to learn that forklifts are not designed to lift people (especially on wooden pallets)?. This young (19y/o) guy had been on the job about 3 months and was asked to change a light-bulb. You'd never get me upon the forks of a forklift(cage or no cage) , considering that you can never trust the driver, but that is why they make things like scissor-lifts and cherry-pickers. Some companies are just too short-sighted in the things they do. A bit of money spent could have saved this guys life. Imagine dying like that. Someone needs a boot where it fits.
The use of pallets, or even bare forks, for lifting people is all too routine. So are the accidents. And the fatalities.
You try to get these firms to buy a cage, or even make a cage, and they look at you as if you're the village idiot. Oh, no, we do it this way all the time.... and reports of local accidents are completely ignored.
Heck, I've received strange looks for spreading the forks.... and you ought to see the ones I get when I attach the cage with a chain!
The only bright spot is my experience where I had them make a cage. At the time, they thought I was being fussy, and they decided to humor me. The first thing they liked was that my work went much quicker. Since then, they've grown to love the cage, and have found all sorts of uses for it. Work that previously took hours, when done from ladders, is now done in minutes.
Working from a forklift isn't my first choice; and, as you mentioned, the driver is a critical part of the job. I have actually used lifts that had a remote set of controls, that would let you operate the forks from the basket.
#151326 - 10/25/0602:58 PMRe: Forklifts as personnel lifts??
My dad died in a forklift accident in 1970. The idiots that let this young fella do this should be strung up. My heart goes out to the family and this company should be fined for lettin a worker even attempt this kind of work while on a forklift with a pallet.
#151327 - 10/27/0605:16 PMRe: Forklifts as personnel lifts??
Oddly enough folks, Over here in NZ, the crazy thing about fork-lifts, is the fact that OSH actually administrates and trains those that operate forklifts. When I went for my fork-lift licence a few years back there was actually no mention of lifting people up on the forks or any other medium. You don't even have to hold a current drivers licence here to be able to operate a fork-lift (unless you drive it on a public road). Personally, as a fork-lift operator, I'd NEVER lift a person up on anything with a fork-lift, the risk is just too great if something goes wrong and as I said above, there are better machines designed for this sole purpose, for things like this.
#151328 - 10/27/0605:28 PMRe: Forklifts as personnel lifts??
I thought there were additional certifications for any machine that lifted people beyond the basket itself. That could have just been a US government rule. I know they told us a Bobcat wasn't "man rated" no matter what we put on the bucket hooks.
#151332 - 10/28/0605:15 PMRe: Forklifts as personnel lifts??
Bob, Personally I have used a man-cage on the end of a crane hook before today and will continue to. Crane operators are very clued-up people unlike some of the labourers that drive fork-lifts here. How many fork-lift drivers can you name that recognise common hand signals?. All crane operators here are required to know hand signals, as are people working near a crane. Don't forget your hard-hat.