Forklift Safety: Hiring Contractors

forklift safety and hiring contractors

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It takes many hands to run a warehouse. At times you must call upon the expertise of others, such as contractors, for building repairs or renovations. When heavy equipment is involved, it’s important to understand federal law and regulations.

Contractor Safety: Aerial Lifts

A major factor is the type of equipment. The most common equipment used by contractors is an aerial work platform (AWP). Federal law does not require operator classroom training and hands-on evaluation to be site-specific; however, it does state an operator must:

  • Be trained. An operator must know the basic instruction of the AWP such as inspection, application and operation. Although the responsibility falls to the contractor, confirm training by requesting a copy of operator licenses and/or classroom sign-in sheets.
  • Be qualified. An operator must be observed driving by an individual with equipment knowledge and experience. Again, this responsibility falls to the contractor.
  • Be authorized. Authorization to operate equipment can only be given by the organization that rents or owns the equipment. Ideally the authorization would be in writing.
  • Be familiarized. An AWP differs greatly from another. An operator should be given a walk-around of the equipment and at a minimum shown the location of the operator manual, basic controls and emergency controls. As with authorization, the organization that rents or owns the equipment is responsible for this step; however, if a contractor has supplied the equipment, consider providing the operator with site specifics (i.e. hazards, pedestrian traffic). Roping off the work area also increases awareness of the contractor.

Contractor Safety: Forklifts

“Unlike aerial work platforms, forklift regulations require site-specific training. This places burden on your company to provide the operator with hands-on instruction,” cautions Tony Jones, ProLift Technical Trainer. “Temporary employees fall into the category of contractors and it is common that forklift operation is a job requirement. The agency placing employees is ultimately responsible for the training and qualification, but you can never overlook the familiarization stage.”

Contractor Safety: Equipment Supplier

Your requirements and best practices also depend on who supplies the equipment. When a contractor submits a bid, two options may be given – one with the contractor supplying the equipment and another using your equipment. Although your fleet may be ample enough to spare equipment, which also provides a cost-savings, allowing its use carries additional liability in the event of an accident.

Need to provide your operators with safety training? ProLift instructs operators on forklifts and aerial work platforms. Contact our safety specialist to schedule training!


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