Business practices and technology change rapidly for all industries, including forklifts and material handling, making it impossible for OSHA to have a guideline for every work-related situation. To fill in the gaps for hazardous violations that aren’t outlined, OSHA references the General Duty Clause.
The OSHA General Duty Clause states:
a) Each employer –
- Shall furnish to each of his employees employment and a place of employment which are free from recognized hazards that are causing or likely to cause death or serious physical harm to his employees;
- Shall comply with occupational safety and health standards promulgated under this Act.
b) Each employee shall comply with occupational safety and health standards and all rules, regulations and orders issued pursuant to this act which are applicable to their own actions and conduct.
OSHA exists to keep workers safe by utilizing the General Duty Clause, but companies cannot be cited with this type of violation unless it meets specific criteria:
1) The violation must be a hazard
2) Workers must be exposed to the hazard
3) The hazard must have the potential to cause injury or death
4) The hazard must be correctable
Be proactive and keep awareness on your company’s working conditions through observation, talking to employees, reviewing accident reports, etc. Focus on known hazards allows you to uncover better ways to handle the situation or eliminate the hazard for your employees.
Have forklift operators that have not attended a safety training class? ProLift helps keep employees safe and your company in compliance with OSHA. Contact our Safety Specialist to schedule a class or learn more about the training classes offered.