Need advice on PPE, fork-truck

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Forum topic by newbiewoodworker posted 05-09-2014 02:12 AM 1483 views 0 times favorited 16 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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668 posts in 3024 days

05-09-2014 02:12 AM

Alright so I got a different job (the first one turned out unprofessional) working in a wood shop, manufacturing fences and the like. But now I need some advice on PPE and fork-truck tips.

So, I need to get myself some decent gloves for working with lumber. I currently use the heavy leather ones with the safety cuff, but they’re too heavy—they lack the tactility, and are hot and bulky. I don’t use gloves when my hands are near bits and blades, but when you’re processing hundreds of boards a day, they’re a necessary evil. I also need a decent set of safety glasses—I have some tinted ones, but they’re too dark for constant wear; we’re not required to use them, so the ones the employer provides are absolute crap! But the bulk of my work is with a nailgun so I do like the idea of eye-pro.
—- So any advice on good gloves and safety glasses?

Also the other part of my job involves moving pallets of lumber from the yard into the shop, and vice versa. My training was ‘this is the gas, this is the brake…’ But I picked it up pretty quickly. However is there any good method for turning with a bulky load? The best way to visualize this is: Home depot lumber isle, trying to pick up 10ft boards, then guiding them through a 12ft space…


-- "Ah, So your not really a newbie, but a I betterbie."

16 replies so far

View Mark Shymanski's profile

Mark Shymanski

5623 posts in 3909 days

#1 posted 05-09-2014 05:33 AM

I don’t quite get the thinking of a company willing to assume the liability for not reasonably protecting their employees or their equipment. I mean how much damage can a minimally trained operator cause in close quarters with a heavy or poorly balanced load on a forklift driven improperly? The damage or the lost productivity would easily offset the training time.

There are a raft of new styles of work gloves out there, I am still a fan of those old style gloves that I think you are talking about though…maybe when I wear out this batch I will explore some of the newer gloves…it will take a bit to convince me that anything is better than a good leather glove. Good on you for looking for good eye protection…I think mine are made/marketed under the Stanley name and they seem pretty good. They’ve not frosted over with scratches and are comfortable enough even over glasses….mind you I don’t wear them all day as you may on the job site. The temples aren’t great under ear protection but I haven’t found a pair, yet, that are.

-- "Checking for square? What madness is this! The cabinet is square because I will it to be so!" Jeremy Greiner LJ Topic#20953 2011 Feb 2

View crank49's profile


4032 posts in 3168 days

#2 posted 05-09-2014 01:44 PM

Fork truck operators are supposed to be trained, period.
That is ludicrous that you would be expected to learn by trial and error how to operate a machine that can kill someone.
For Gods sake always keep the load as close to the ground as possible; especially when turning.
When going up or down any ramp the load must be just barely off the ground.
Always park with the forks fully lowered and set the parking brake.
Doesn’t matter if the brake works or not, you set it to park, and then you are not liable. Unless, of course, if you are also responsible for vehicle maintenance.

View newbiewoodworker's profile


668 posts in 3024 days

#3 posted 05-09-2014 11:08 PM

I learned some more today, no ‘book-work’ but atleast got someone to teach me how to properly lift and stack things…

Any other recommendations? Gonna try and pick the stuff up tomorrow after work.

-- "Ah, So your not really a newbie, but a I betterbie."

View Ted's profile


2873 posts in 2408 days

#4 posted 05-10-2014 07:22 AM

I use regular soft leather gloves rather than work gloves. They fit better and they are way more comfortable. They cost a little more and don’t last quite as long, but that’s the price of being selective.

I’m picky about safety glasses, as I see poorly fitting or otherwise cumbersome safety glasses as being a hazard in itself. They should have large, clear lenses that wrap around so they don’t block my peripheral vision. The arms (part the hooks on to my ears, whatever they’re called) should fit snug and hook the ear properly, so the glasses don’t slide forward or fall off when I look down.

As for the fork truck, I can relate from my days of driving a tanker. Take your time! Never let anybody push you to “hurry up”. Watch every single move you make from balancing the load to turning a corner, slow and easy is the only way. Also, never never never drive around with the load up in the air. Even if you’re simply moving a pallet of lumber to the rack behind you, the first thing you should do is bring the load to floor level. Then turn your forklift around and get in position before lifting it back up.

-- You can collect dust or you can make dust. I choose to make it.

View Gary's profile


9386 posts in 3630 days

#5 posted 05-10-2014 12:04 PM

Check this for eye-ear protection

-- Gary, DeKalb Texas only 4 miles from the mill

View woodchuckerNJ's profile


1302 posts in 1831 days

#6 posted 05-10-2014 12:51 PM

I don’t use work gloves too often, usually when dealing with rough stock, or very splintery wood.

But I use roping gloves, the softest leather, and they don’t remove too much tactile feel. I could use them full time, but I don’t.

-- Jeff NJ

View Pimzedd's profile


612 posts in 4340 days

#7 posted 05-10-2014 10:43 PM

For gloves, I like some loose fitting leather gloves, they tend to breath and don’t get too hot. However, I NEVER wear them if running equipment such as a router, table saw, band saw, or a drill press.

For safety glasses, you say you are not required to use them. I bet OSHA says you are even if the boss does not say so. Who cares what the boss or OSHA says, they are your eyes. Protect them! I went to work for a plastics fabrication company many years ago. No one wore safety glasses because the ones the company had were beat up. I brought my own. About two weeks later, the plant manager thanked me for wearing them. Turns out, about half the workers had started wearing them. Seem no one wanted to be the first.

I like the type that have adjustable ear pieces. Find some that are comfortable to werYour employer is required to provide safety glasses by OSHA but the ones you say are crap probably meet the rule. They should have Z87.1 molded in them (usually on the ear piece near the hinge) to show they meet the current standard. Wear them all the time to the point that you forget you have them on.

Forklift training is also required by OSHA. However, the amount and quality of training is up to the employer. Legally the five minute session you received the first day probably meets the requirement as long as they documented the training. Sounds like you got some better training later. Based on my real life experience, don’t go fast and then try to turn. I never flipped a forklift but have had them up on two wheels. Flipping a forklift can often be fatal. I also really upset the boss.

Also, the higher the load, the more unstable the forklift. Take your time, it pays in safety. Also in money if you are paid by the hour.

-- Bill - Mesquite, TX --- "Everything with a power cord eventually winds up in the trash.” John Sarge , timber framer and blacksmith instructor at Tillers International school

View jumbojack's profile


1685 posts in 2821 days

#8 posted 05-11-2014 12:11 AM

I was a forklift trainer for the company I worked for (retired in October).
CENTER OF GRAVITY. One of the most important things to be aware of while operating PIT (powered industrial truck). As mentioned your COG moves higher the higher your load is. Think of a triangle, the tip of the triangle, as it gets higher, your tipping quotient goes up. Ask your foreman for the training manual. If he cannot/will not provide you one, message me, I still have a few here I will mail you one.
Set the load against the backrest. Again COG comes into play here. The further the load is away from the forks backrest the greater the chance of the lift tipping forward.
Learn to estimate the weight of your load. The forklift has a plate on it stating the max load it can safely lift. Do not overload your lift.
Be aware of overhead clearance. With the forks up past the free lift you are in danger of overhead obstacles.
I could go on and on, but this is not the place for forklift training. At my old company, there were three levels of training. Manual pallet jack training, PIT 1 & 2. PIT 1 you could operate a powered pallet jack. PIT 2 forklifts, scissor lifts and powered jacks. The manual jack course was two hours. PIT ! four hours. PIT 2 was an eight hour course, with a test at the end. Nothing short of 100% was a passing grade.
SPEED. Speed is the largest contributor to workplace accidents bar none.

-- Made in America, with American made tools....Shopsmith

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18387 posts in 3873 days

#9 posted 05-11-2014 12:16 AM

Get some Wells Lamont leather gloves. They are top notch and cheaper than the crap you have to replace ever few days.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View bbrewer's profile


43 posts in 2172 days

#10 posted 05-11-2014 04:34 PM

Awesome that you’re starting properly with safety. I had a lot of students that felt unsafe, they said naked, without eye protection when they left my program and started working.

Try on lots of safety glasses and styles until you find the ones that fit you properly and give you the best vision, even if they cost more. If they’re comfortable you’ll wear them, if you wear them they won’t get scratched up as easily.

Maybe a trained trainer like jumbojack can set you up with decent free on line sources for forklift training, but get good training. Don’t let it be you in a video. See attached url.

-- Tom southern MI

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

21712 posts in 3302 days

#11 posted 05-11-2014 10:29 PM

I knew you would get good advice from this group. Above all be careful. Practice what you learned and don’t take a chance with a loaded truck. Good luck and let us know where you are in a week or so!!.........................................Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View newbiewoodworker's profile


668 posts in 3024 days

#12 posted 05-12-2014 01:40 AM

Sorry I’ve been meaning to reply.

The business is a good old fashioned mom-and-pop type shop, so they’re a little lacking on the paperwork! One of them can’t drive it more than a few feet without trying to hurt someone! Luckily taking my time isn’t too much of an issue… Unfortunately sometimes the load has to be raised while driving to clear things in the shop, and stuff, but it sounds like slow and steady is okay—right?

I picked up a set of mid-priced firm-grip gloves at HD, lets see if they last the week! They’re definitely not as rugged as the Wells Lamont type, but I wanted something form-fitting so that its a little safer when working with the equipment. Getting drawn into a drill press really doesn’t sound fun…

And for the love of all things holy, for a box store like HD, you’d think that they’d have safety glasses out the wazoo! But all I could find was some photochromic ones… I guess they’re better than sunglasses… but we’ll see lol.

-- "Ah, So your not really a newbie, but a I betterbie."

View jumbojack's profile


1685 posts in 2821 days

#13 posted 05-12-2014 03:19 PM

On the glove issue. NEVER put your gloves ANYWHERE except your hands or your back pocket! If I would follow my own advice I would not have been forced to buy the 5 for $5 leather gloves from HF. Not horrible gloves but cheap and cheap. The cuffs seem to give out first as I would put them on and off many many times a day. Duct tape would solve the cuff problem and IF I managed to hang on to a pair, would get about a month out of them. Now that I am retired, gloves are sprouting up EVERYWHERE. Cargo areas in the vehicles turned up three or four pairs. Behind the washing machine turned up two pair. The garage a couple. I even found a pair in the Sawzall case. Add those to the three pair of brand new still in the wrapper. Now I suppose they are gardening gloves.

-- Made in America, with American made tools....Shopsmith

View chrisstef's profile


17759 posts in 3203 days

#14 posted 05-12-2014 03:37 PM

Ill throw out a few pointers from my days back at the lumberyard:

Longest and widest boards on the bottom of the stack when pulling a large order. Bundle real long ones together.
Trek decking is slippery and likes to jump off of your forklift. It laughs at you when you have to restack it.
Same goes for boxes of wet siding. ^
Shingles are heavy. Don’t load a full pallet on the ass end of a box truck.
Keep a bunch of dunnage on the back of the forklift.
Watch your ass end when turning your lift into a pile. I side swiped a partition wall and completely destroyed it.
A good summertime prank is to pull the ink tube out of a pen and blow it down into the fingers of a coworkers gloves. (make sure they can take a joke though)

-- Its not a crack, its a casting imperfection.

View newbiewoodworker's profile


668 posts in 3024 days

#15 posted 05-12-2014 09:46 PM

Gloves: Learnt that one! The 10 second rule applies: if you stick em down for more than 10 seconds, and they become communal… then again I think one of the guys is reading Lenin, so that ‘splains that! Luckily I wear cargo pants, so I have a nice sized pocket to shove em! Granted that they end up filled with saw dust by 10am…

Thanks Chris; luckily I have no Trek to deal with… but I have perfectly round cedar posts! Made the mistake of not tilting my forks enough, watched one roll right to the tip, and luckily didn’t go off—I hate playing 52 post pickup! And as for the dunnage: thought I grabbed decent ones, went to put the load on it, and realised ‘hey… why did I grab 12” long blocks.. Queue the walk of shame back to grab better blocks

-- "Ah, So your not really a newbie, but a I betterbie."

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