A Plant Grows Near the 'Burgh

AEM, OSHA Join Together to Enhance Job Site Safety

Mon December 10, 2007 - National Edition
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The Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) have formed an alliance to provide construction workers and equipment owners and operators with information, guidance and access to training resources in an effort to help foster a safer working environment.

A special alliance signing ceremony was held in Washington, D.C. on Oct. 1, 2007, with OSHA represented by Edwin G. Foulke Jr., assistant secretary of labor of OSHA, and AEM represented by AEM President Dennis Slater.

The new AEM-OSHA alliance will target rough terrain forklifts, including telehandlers and straight-mast forklifts, with a focus on potential operating hazards including ground conditions, machine mobility, overloading and their use in lifting personnel.

Rough terrain forklifts were chosen because they are found on nearly all types of construction work sites — commercial, industrial and residential. And, while there are OSHA training requirements for the machines, these are not always followed by machine owners and operators.

Materials developed as a result of the alliance will be made available in multiple languages, including Spanish.

AEM member representatives bring strong technical and industry expertise to the alliance. This expertise will be utilized as the alliance develops resources and explores delivery options.

Also, the alliance calls for wider dissemination of pictorials such as those in AEM’s online database of “industry-recognized” pictorial illustrations — http://pictorials.aem.org.

This database is free of charge for voluntary use by members and others involved in the design of equipment safety signs, manuals and other training materials. The database is currently being updated to expand the number and type of pictorials offered.

“AEM and its member manufacturers are committed to fostering safe equipment operation and we have worked closely with OSHA for many years towards this end. This new alliance is just the latest example of our industry’s proactive education and training efforts,” said Slater.

“This cooperative alliance clearly illustrates our commitment to reducing construction safety and health hazards, while promoting best practices and technical knowledge for the construction industry. We are committed to working together to develop and provide safety and health information to help employees and employers reduce workplace injuries, illnesses and fatalities,” stated OSHA Assistant Secretary Foulke.

Training Programs, Industry Outreach

As part of the alliance, AEM and OSHA will define, implement and meet a set of short- and long-term goals that fall into three categories: training and education, outreach and communication, and promotion of a national dialog on workplace safety and health.

• Training and Education — AEM will work with OSHA to develop programs and materials aimed at reducing workplace hazards by providing expertise for training and education for operators and other job site workers, and to inform the industry about the availability of these programs.

• Outreach and Communication — AEM will work with OSHA to develop information on how to recognize and avoid workplace hazards and on how to best communicate this information to industry employees and employers.

Also, AEM will share information among OSHA personnel and industry professionals on AEM best practices or effective approaches, using materials, including pictorials, training programs, workshops, seminars and other forums.

• National Dialog — AEM and OSHA have pledged to work together to promote a national dialog on workplace safety and health by convening, or participating in, forums, round table discussions or stakeholder meetings on workplace hazards, including those hazards associated with operating rough terrain forklifts. AEM and OSHA also will work to develop innovative safety solutions for the workplace.

To accomplish these goals, AEM and OSHA will form implementation teams consisting of representatives from AEM, its members and OSHA. These teams will be responsible for developing strategies and implementing programs or processes that meet the defined goals. AEM’s participation will be spearheaded by representatives from the association’s Manufacturers of Rough Terrain Forklifts Council.

The alliance agreement will remain in effect for two years, and will be periodically evaluated over that time to assess results and progress. The alliance can be renewed and, depending upon the success of this initial alliance, may be expanded to include other types of equipment.

For more information, call 414/298-4128.