Today’s lesson learned at the Wile E. Coyote school of safety where they constantly disregard the laws of physics, corrupt the rules of nature and live in animated immortality. But here reality kills.
Training/Certification – Whether you drive the family wagon or other pieces of powered equipment like a forklift or backhaul you need to be trained and certified before legally operating that piece of equipment. To drive a car I took Driver’s Education to get training and then my written/road test to get certified and obtain my license. In the workplace, the process is very similar. The company that hired you will give you classroom training as well as hands-on training on how to properly operate, inspect, report safety/maintenance issues, report accidents and professionally conduct yourself within the confines of the facility. After passing a written and road test you will be certified to operate that vehicle and the more hours behind the wheel, the better your skills will become and you will achieve the status of professional.
A professional understands their certification is a privilege earned through hard work that can be revoked by the company at any time for violating safety rules. A professional understands the limits of the powered equipment, never uses it for horseplay or any other purpose than the intended, observes the speed limit and all other rules of the road, reports all maintenance issues immediately, and respects the vehicle by keeping it clean and free of debris.
The certification process is to protect the company as well as YOU! Your certification says they invested the time and money to train you to operate the vehicle safely and efficiently. If you were to operate a powered vehicle without training you could cause a serious accident and the company would have no choice but to throw you under the bus for doing this. That’s why you NEVER do it without training even if a boss tells you that it’s okay this time. It’s not okay at any time unless an extreme emergency. If you do not receive any training at a facility and are told you are required to operate an industrial-powered vehicle you need to stop and ask why? If the answer is not satisfactory you have three choices. You can find another job, you can continue and risk your life or you can call the OSHA Hotline at 1-800-321-6742 (OSHA) and make an anonymous complaint. Remember, the life you save may be your own.