The number one rule of safe aerial lift, telehandler and industrial fork truck operation is to avoid hazardous situations. The way to avoid hazards related to specific types of equipment is identify them. There are two ways to identify the hazards associated with construction and material handling equipment.
1. The first is in the safety section of the operator’s manual that accompanies every piece of equipment delivered in North America and will identify at a minimum, the specific hazards related to that particular piece of equipment.
2. The second can be found on important notifications in the form of safety decals attached to every mobile elevating work platform, including scissor lifts, boom lifts and vertical mast lifts as well as material handling equipment such as industrial forklifts and telehandlers.
These decals are very important for a number of specific safety related reasons. They will help show us things like where there are crushing hazards and pinch points, and extremely important information like proper clearance from electric conductors.
Let’s take a look at some examples. Most manufacturers use symbols, signal words and color coding to identify the following:
Is a triangle with an exclamation point in the center and is used to alert personnel to potential injury hazards. Obey all safety messages that follow this symbol to avoid possible injury or death.
A red banner at the top of a decal means DANGER. Red is most commonly accompanied by the safety alert symbol and is used to indicate a hazardous situation that if not avoided, will result in death or serious injury.
An orange banner at the top means Warning. An orange banner is also commonly accompanied by the safety alert symbol and is used to indicate a hazardous situation that if not avoided, could result in death or serious injury.
A yellow banner means Caution. When a yellow banner is accompanied by the safety alert symbol it is used to indicate a hazardous situation that if not avoided, may result in minor or moderate injury. A yellow banner without the safety alert symbol is used to indicate a hazardous situation which if not avoided may result in property damage.
Green or blue banner indicate a Notice. They are decal used to communicate information considered important, but not hazard related. An example would be messages related to how to start the engine or operate other machine functions.
Every qualified operator is ultimately responsible for his or her own safety so take the time to become familiar with the hazards related to the specific make and model of construction, or material handling equipment you are required to operate.
Read the operator’s manual and make sure to pay attention to every decal on the machine. In addition, common sense and planning will help us all…