We still occasionally hear from concerned customers asking for clarification on the ANSI rule affecting forklift safety and load bearing clamps. I’d take that as a good sign that companies are truly concerned not only with being in compliance but also with the safety of their employees. Dropped rolls are seen fairly often, and the new ruling should go a long way towards reducing that event into the future. For what it’s worth, we’ve even seen customers devise their own “fix” for this devising a mechanical solution that required the second action, a great proactive action that speaks volumes about where they are at regarding safety and risk exposure.

For clarification, the ruling is:

Effective for lift trucks manufactured after October 7, 2010 a new safety standard states that all lift trucks with a load bearing clamp (paper roll clamp, carton clamp, etc.) must require two distinct motions on the part of the driver before opening or releasing the clamp. For example, you must press a button and then move a lever to un-clamp the load. This requirement applies to new and used attachments being mounted on new trucks shipping after the effective date above.

ANSI Load Bearing Clamp Rule

Section 7.25.7 of ANSI/ITSDF B56.1 Safety Standard for Low Lift and High Lift Trucks: 7.25.7: The manual operation or physical action of the control used to release a load bearing clamp shall require two distinct motions or operations by the operator before the clamp is opened and the load bearing force is released. For example, move the lever or handle to the left (or right) and then forward (or down), or, depress a button on the lever or handle and then move the lever or handle forward (or down).

Note this rule does NOT require anyone to retrofit trucks already in service. I would only offer a word of caution. Remember OSHA’s general duty clause:

29 U.S.C. § 654, 5(a)1: Each employer shall furnish to each of his employees employment and a place of employment which are free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm to his employees.”

I’m betting a dollar to a donut that if an accident should occur involving a dropped load from any load bearing clamp installed on a forklift without this second distinct motion, there will be serious consequences for that business.

A retrofit kit has been made available by Cascade, a major forklift attachment manufacturer. The kit is reasonably priced and installation is fairly quick [thought to take about four hours]. You can see information about the kit at Cascade’s site by following this link, it will open up as a PDF file.

Read up some, consider your options, the expense and the value of safety in your workplace and make your own decision. Toyota-Lift of Minnesota will be making a concerted effort to relay this information to its customer base, we feel it’s our responsibility.

As a reminder, the ANSI/ITSDF B56.1-2009 Safety Standard for High Lift and Low Lift Trucks is available for downloading at no charge directly from the Industrial Truck Association (ITA) website: http://www.itsdf.org/pB56.asp

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