Forklift Platforms: Harnesses and OSHA
One of the most frequent questions our technical team here at Handling Equipment Online get asked is whether their employees have to wear a safety harness when using our forklift platforms. The question has arisen since OSHA has cracked down on employee safety when using forklift trucks. It was not so long ago when it was standard procedure to use a pallet attached to the forks of the truck as a work platform. Please note that OSHA legislation has made this practice illegal.
However what seems to be an increasingly grey area in the OSHA legislation is whether workmen are legally required to wear a harness whilst using forklift work platforms. When looking over the OSHA legislation surrounding the safe legal use of forklift truck platforms, there appears no official legislation or mandate which requires employers to ensure their employees wear harnesses whilst using forklift platforms.
What is interesting in the OSHA information is how the legislation is worded. The legislation reads that although OSHA currently has no official rule regarding the use of harnesses with employees using forklift truck platform. They have the power to enforce fines to employers who fail to ensure their employees wear harnesses on forklift platforms, and an accident occurs as a result of this negligence. Further research into the area has revealed that OSHA frequently does fine employers when these accidents occur. OSHA state they fine employers for their failure to harness employees in the case of forklift platform accidents under what they view to be both negligence and a failure of the duty of care on from the employer. This is because legally, whenever there is a perceived risk or danger in the workplace it is the employer’s responsibility to ensure that all foreseeable harm is avoided. In this case that means ensuring the employee is wearing a harness when operating and using forklift platforms.
Currently there is not official legislation or mandate from OSHA regarding the use of harnesses on forklift platforms. However if there is an injury or death in your workforce which could have been prevented by the use of a harness on a forklift platform then you will likely receive a large fine. Due to this at Tiger we would always advise our clients to ensure their employees make use of harnesses when using our forklift platforms. For more information regarding either our forklift platforms please do not hesitate to contact our technical team on 01384 895859.