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A remarkably unsafe construction job site #HazardSpotting

On commercial construction projects, rough-terrain (shooting boom) forklifts are used to deliver materials and supplies exactly where they're needed. Unfortunately, laborers often don't use enough care when working around them. This job site, apparently located somewhere in the Middle East, is no exception, where safety problems are abundant. Here's what we see:

In the air without a safety net The man standing on the rough-terrain forklift's forks is clearly taking his life into his own hands. His weight at the end of the boom is probably making it flex as he moves around. One false move and he could seriously injure himself falling to the ground. This picture also begs the question: How did he get there to begin with? There is no one in the cab of the machine. Presumably the other person (or a third person, unseen in this photo) raised the boom and forks to its present height. On the way up, if the operator pushed a joystick too hard, the guy riding on the forks could have been thrown to his death. If this worker was using a piece of equipment designed for this purpose - an aerial lift - he would need to be wearing a safety harness and be tethered into its basket. But since he's standing on a set of pallet forks, he is not wearing PPE that would prevent a serious or fatal fall. One more point about this worker: He isn't wearing any personal protective equipment (PPE) - not even a hard hat. On his feet are tennis shoes, not steel toed boots. This low-cost footwear offers no protection for his feet. In addition, if their soles are worn, they could easily present a slip hazard as he moves his feet on the slippery metal surface of the pallet forks. At least he appears to be wearing work gloves.

Unfortunately, in many parts of the world, stunts like this are all too common. Construction crews don't have the equipment to do the job right, so they improvise in order to get the job done.

Machine safety The base of the rough terrain forklift has its stabilizers in the up position - not very safe. This means that it is only resting on its pneumatic tires, which will do very little to dampen any boom movement caused by the worker standing on the forks. The machine would be much more stable if the stabilizers were properly deployed.

The man on the ground Next, let's turn our attention to the man in the blue shirt on the ground, who is looking at the clown on the pallet forks. He isn't wearing any PPE, either. Tennis shoes are not approved footwear on construction jobsites. He's not wearing a hard hat, either. He's standing within a few feet of the worker standing on the pallet forks, which means he could be injured if the guy in the air falls off of his perch.

Slip, trip and fall hazards

The area of the jobsite surrounding these workers and their machine isn't very clean. Rolled up fabric is piled up near this active work area. In addition, on the far left side of the picture, a few feet in front of the left tire of the RTFL, you can see materials scattered on the ground. These represent slip, trip and fall hazards.

Heat safety Assuming this job site location is somewhere in the Middle East, heat safety has got to be an issue, due to the high ambient temperatures during daylight hours. These workers do have a supply of water - which can be seen between the rolls of fabric and the forklift. But it won't stay cold very long sitting in direct sunlight!

Electrical hazards Behind the worker standing on the pallet forks, electrical wires dangle from the roof supports, apparently connecting lights - for security purposes, or perhaps so work can continue at night. A worker standing on scaffolding or working from the basket of an aerial lift could easily become entangled in these wires - a potential safety hazard. Interested in related products? See: Roll Stock Handling, Damage Prevention and Safety or Forklift Operation & Safety #HazardSpotting is a community safety initiative that helps raise awareness about dangerous workplace safety violations, developed by and supported by VISTA Training, Inc.

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