Everyone who has ever worked with heavy machinery knows and understands that it is sometimes necessary to improvise to get the job done. This is true, regardless of the industry and the perceived need. That said, some improvisations are generally unsafe and should be avoided at all costs.
Case in point: double-stacking forklifts as a method for moving a giant piece of machinery to a second-floor opening is not the safest way to improvise a solution to a problem. And now, we have a video proving us naysayers correct.
Video Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2plNL9w2XBo&feature=youtu.be
Even at the beginning of the video, it is clear that many bad decisions have already been made before the video starts. The load is on the forks of a small counterbalance forklift, which in turn is parked on the forks of a much larger forklift. Both forklifts have workers operating them. So far, they have managed to raise the very precarious load about halfway to its destination. The driver of the larger forklift is gently moving everything forward, since they have about another ten feet to cover to reach the opening, but as anyone could have guessed going in, the entire contraption tips forward very dangerously before luckily righting itself.
The driver of the larger forklift realizes that his machine is completely out of balance now because he moved the center of gravity so far forward, so he tilts the bottom lift back as far as it can go. At the same time, the man “operating” the smaller forklift raises his forks in a vain attempt to bring the load even with the second-floor opening, which looks like it might work for a split second, until the whole operation comes crashing to the ground. Luckily no one was hurt or killed. One solution would be to use a larger forklift or a crane. Use the right tool for the job.
Last week, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) cited a Connecticut contractor, Manafort Brothers, with two willful and six serious violations because they exposed the workers at the demolition of Eversource’s Schiller Station in Portsmouth, New Hampshire project site to hazards related to mercury, respirators, protective clothing and sanitary conditions. Along with the citations, Manafort Brothers also faces total fines of $329,548.
The OSHA investigation that led to the citations and fines was triggered by several complaints by workers at the site. The investigation determined that Manafort Brothers had failed to take appropriate action to protect employees from the dangerous chemical as they conducted a demolition operation on a mercury boiler.
For its part, Manafort Brothers has said that it stopped work on the project in June 2017, just after the inspection, so as to evaluate its safety procedures, along with many experts and consultants. They said they wanted to ensure workers were not exposed to mercury at levels above acceptable limits. They also claim to have retrained workers before they resumed demolition operations in September. Because of those factors and others, Manafort Brothers plans to challenge the citations and fines.