AEM and OSHA Partner to Enhance Jobsite Safety

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.

Edwin Foulke Jr., assistant secretary of labor for OSHA, and AEM represented by Dennis Slater, AEM president, signed the alliance at a ceremony in Washington, D.C. on Oct. 1. The 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 worksites • commercial, industrial and residential. While there are OSHA training requirements for the machines, they 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. 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,” said Slater. “This new alliance is just the latest example of our industry's pro-active education and training efforts.”

“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,” said Foulke. “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.”

As part of the alliance, 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 jobsite workers, and to inform the industry about the availability of these programs. They will also work together to provide expertise in developing information on how to recognize and avoid workplace hazards and then providing expertise 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, with outreach such as materials, including pictorials, and training programs, workshops, seminars and other forums.

AEM and OSHA have also 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 associated with operating rough-terrain forklifts, and 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 are 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.