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on Aug 20, 2014

Thank you MH&L for bringing this significant problem to the forefront. As you pointed out, OSHA does not certify forklift operators. The law defines the employer as having that responsibility. .As an OSHA Authorized trainer, I am continually pointing out to individuals I train at employer locations that it is their employer that is authorizing the use of their equipment, not me. In addition, when they change jobs, their training , knowledge, and experience goes with them, but their CERTIFICATION ENDS the minute they walk out the door. Once hired at a new company, they need to receive documented baseline training and be re-evaluated on each forklift type at the next job. As a court recognized forklift expert, I am tasked with reviewing forklift training records of operators involved in forklift accidents and to opine on whether or not the individual was trained in a compliant manner. Companies that allow employees to operate that have not received equipment and site specific training and evaluation IN THEIR WORKPLACE on on each type of forklift they are required to operate do not fare well in litigation. The potential costs to the company will far out-way proper training costs and even OSHA fines. In addition, because of the significant differences in operator position, control layout, power type, number of wheels etc., it is very important that operators pass an evaluation on ANY truck with different characteristics. This means that certification of operators may need to be extended to a checkout drive on trucks of the same type but be a different model number or brand. My case work includes a death that occurred when a company had two different reach trucks in use side by side. Being familiar with one but not the other cost the operator his life when he jumped on the unfamiliar reach truck to move it and it rolled off a dock and crushed him. Witnesses observed the man panicked with his hands flailing when he realized the controls were different but it was too late, his foot was on the deadman pedal releasing the brake, and the truck rolled. Robert P. Jasinski, LiftSafe Inc. rpj@liftsafe.com

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