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Equipment Inspection Best Practices: An Interview with KPA’s Dale Golgart

Toby Graham /
In this week’s installment of The Safety Meeting, we're joined by Dale Golgart, Senior Sales Associate at KPA, to discuss proper equipment inspections and providing a safe environment for employees through consistency and documentation.

[00:00:30]
Thanks for coming back on the podcast again, Dale. We’re so happy to have you, so let’s talk about equipment inspections. Can you give me a rundown of what all equipment inspection entails?

Yeah, absolutely. And thanks again for having me back, Sage. I’m looking forward to it. It’s, uh, it’s always fun to talk to you. So equipment inspections are really important for a lot of different reasons, but mostly just to make sure that whatever piece of equipment an employee is using in their day-to-day job, whether that’s a forklift or some kind of heavy equipment like that, or a vehicle like a truck or a company car that they’re driving on a regular basis.

The process of going through an inspection just really makes sure that that piece of equipment is in good working condition. And as an operator, I’m comfortable in using it and know how to, how to operate it properly and can use it safely just to make sure that I’m safe in, in using that piece of equipment.

And I, you know, reduce any injury risk for myself, but also for those that would be working around me. So those inspections are really important just to make sure that we’re doing what we possibly can to minimize the risk of using that type of equipment in our day-to-day job. 

[00:01:34]
What best practices do you recommend for safety leaders who wanna stay compliant and proactive about the state of their equipment to avoid incidents down the line?

Yeah, that’s a great question. So a lot of that really is already outlined by OSHA. So OSHA has some pretty detailed regulations around what they call powered industrial equipment. And those are kind of all wrapped up into things like forklifts or electric pallet jacks, or those kinds of things that teams might use on a regular basis.

So the federal OSHA guidelines require companies to have an equipment program in place that has systems in place for the training of employees to make sure that they are trained to operate that equipment properly for inspections of that need to happen and when and how often those inspections need to take place and how they get documented and how they get stored.

And you know, what types of parts of the equipment get inspected. So it’s best to just look at what those regulations are from a federal level, but also too, be aware of any other state or local regulations that might also govern kind of what you’re required to do from a company perspective, to make sure that we’re operating this type of equipment safely.

[00:02:44]
Got it. So when companies get dinged by regulators for equipment-related matters, what were they usually doing wrong? And how can that be avoided? 

Yeah, that’s really important to take a look at as well. And the great thing about OSHA, you know, one of the good things about, uh, working with OSHA on stuff like that is every year they put out a list of kind of their top 10, most cited or most commonly ticketed items from their regulations and using powered industrial trucks is always in the top 10. It, it really seems like that those, those regulations are all kind of the same every year during, in that top 10, they just shift in order from year-to-year sometimes. But, you know, over the last couple of years, powered industrial trucks have been in the top 10 of the most cited regulations that OSHA sees out there.

And some of the things that they really look at in terms of what that standard talks about is safe operation, just, you know, people not using the equipment properly for what it’s used for. Training and evaluation of operators. But also too, the lack of inspections or the lack of inspections done on a regular basis before starting to use a piece of equipment.

So part of that regulation says that. A piece of equipment like that an industrial truck must be examined before being placed into service. So if I’m gonna use that forklift or that piece of equipment today, I’ve gotta do my inspection before I ever even start using that piece of equipment. 

And it, it has to be pulled out of service, if that inspection shows any condition that would adversely affect the use of that equipment. Like I said, those inspections need to be done daily or, or pre-use if that vehicle or that piece of equipment is used in a situation that’s, you know, done around the clock, maybe in a, a warehouse environment that works 24 hours a day, then those inspections need to be done at the end of each shift as well. So, you know, just. Not even having inspections done or documented properly is one of the most common citations that OSHA issues to companies are, you know, centered around equipment like this. 

[00:04:51]
Got it. So, why do you think that the industrial truck category ends up having such a high level of citation? What’s happening there?

Well, it’s just because the use of those types of equipment is extremely dangerous. So, you know, over the last couple years, certainly there’s, there’s plenty of, of ways to look at this and, and plenty of research to be done. But OSHA estimates that around the country, there are over 1 million, just forklifts, just a standard forklift. There are over 1 million forklifts being used around the country on a daily basis. 

And historically over the last couple of years, when looking at those types of equipment, It’s estimated that about 11% of those forklifts will be involved in some kind of an incident or an accident on a work site. Wow.

In 2019, there were about 95,000 employee injuries caused by forklift incidents. So there are a lot of folks getting hurt. There’s a lot of equipment being damaged. There are a lot of incidents that are being involved and just looking at the forklift style of equipment like that. So because of that, certainly that’s a, a big, a big, uh, factor that OSHA wants to take a look at.

So that’s just one piece of that, but you just look at all the different businesses and, and industries around the country that would use some kind of equipment like a forklift or, you know, like I said, an electric pallet Jack or a scissor lift or those kinds of, of pieces of equipment and the risk is extremely high because those, those assets or those pieces of equipment are very powerful. They can be dangerous if they’re not used in a safe manner. 

[00:06:27]
Right. That makes a lot of sense. And they’re also probably pretty popular across the industries. 

Oh, of course. I mean, there are so many organizations that would not be able to do what they need to do on a day-to-day basis without the use of that equipment.

So it’s, it’s vital to operations for so many different groups of, of companies that are out there because they’re, they’re picking up and moving large pieces of inventory or heavy, heavy supplies or things like that. That just can’t be done, you know, manually without the use of a piece of equipment like that.

[00:06:57]
That makes a lot of sense.

So what resources are available for companies who are looking to up their equipment inspection game, particularly if they do have industrial trucks, you know, to make sure that that especially is being used safely and, and keeping up on those inspections? 

Yeah, of course. And so, you know, obviously, you know, on the OSHA website, they have all kinds of resources available there in terms of just what’s required, uh, of a company.

So we’d certainly start there and, and figure out, you know, what that requirement is like, if you are operating a piece of equipment like that, and then, of course, you’ve gotta have a program in place, you know, as a company. OSHA says you’ve gotta have some kind of a heavy equipment program in place that details what training you’re going through to provide for your employees to make sure they know how to operate this equipment safely, what inspection schedule and monitoring you have available for that.

And of course, there are lots of different ways to go about doing that. But, uh, of course, you know, our, our platform within KPA, we have a, a software called KPA EHS, which is a, a perfect platform to be able to have the inspections be filled out on a computer or on a mobile device and be saved and have that history loaded there for each piece of equipment.

Because that software also allows you to manage assets or manage your forklifts or your different types of equipment and have that history as well as set reminders and set schedules for when those inspections need to take place. So there’s a lot of resources out there through the OSHA website, but you know, also within the KPA family that can help a company manage and keep up with all of that and have visibility into their employee training and their equipment inspection process. 

[00:08:38]
Very cool. Sounds like that’s a really useful resource to have for any company, regardless of industry. Okay, so I wanna use fire extinguishers as an example of tip-to-tail inspection and best practices because most facilities need them. So can you walk us through the process of what that kind of inspection looks like? 

Yeah, of course. So, you know, a fire extinguisher is a great example as well, falling outside of just a forklift or things like that, but also something that most employers have to provide in a, in their workshop or in their facility, uh, but also need to have inspections down on a regular basis.

So there are a couple of different types of inspections that need to happen with a fire extinguisher. One is there’s an annual inspection that’s necessary. That’s gotta be documented. It’s gotta be done once a year. There are all kinds of certain things that have to be done there to look at the pressure in the vessel and look at the gauge and make sure all the components are working properly.

And then there’s also this monthly visual inspection that needs to happen as well. And that really just needs to be somebody that kind of is familiar with the fire extinguisher to just visually check it over. Make sure. Everything’s all still in place there. We’re checking the gauge to make sure that the extinguisher is full of the material that it’s using and that it’s just in good overall physical shape.

And those things must be tracked as well. So that way we can see some history of what’s going on with it and be able to know when those inspections are due. And when they need to be refreshed and stay so we can stay on top of that. So that’s a perfect example as well, of a way that the KPA EHS system can help manage and track those as well because you can set up that inspection schedule to be done once a month for those monthly inspections and send out reminders to employees to take care of those when they come.

[00:10:23]
So it sounds like, especially with fire extinguishers, but maybe also just with all inspections, that really it comes down to consistency and also documentation. Does that sound right? 

Yeah. So consistency in having that done on a regular basis, but also you gotta document it because in my world, you know, with my safety background, if it wasn’t documented, it didn’t happen.

So, you know, if there’s something that occurs, You know, if someone gets hurt or someone’s injured, then one of the very first things that, you know, a safety team or an OSHA inspector is gonna wanna see is documentation around inspections for that piece of equipment or for that fire extinguisher, just to make sure that we’re doing what we’re supposed to be doing as a company to provide this equipment and make it available in a, in a safe environment for employees to use regularly.

[00:11:13]
Makes sense. Dale, do you have any final words of advice that you’d like to leave our listeners with on equipment inspection? 

Yeah, just do, ’em like, that’s the big thing is like, is just do the inspections. It doesn’t take long at all. There are a few things that you gotta take a look at just to make sure that we are, you know, safely providing this, but we, we do those on a regular basis and we get used to that.

So it’s easy to kind of get complacent with that as well and just, you know, pencil whip it. So it’s. It’s one thing to make sure they’re done regularly or when they’re supposed to be done, but also it’s a whole different ball game to ensure that we’re doing a good thorough job every time.

Cuz it would be really easy to get complacent about doing those inspections. Especially if I’m working in a facility and I use the same piece of equipment regularly or daily, it would be very easy for me to just, you know, kind of knock it out and say, yeah, I’ve checked all the boxes here. It’s in good shape. 

But, it’s a whole other ballgame when I’ve taken the time to really be thorough and look at everything and take it seriously because that’s gonna make sure that it’s, it’s working properly for me. If I’m using that forklift eight hours a day, then that’s eight hours that I’m using that equipment that something could happen during that time.

And if I’m not doing my job properly upfront to make sure. That forklift is in good, safe operating condition. Then I’m just putting myself at risk there. So not only just getting ’em done regularly, but being consistent and not getting complacent around doing those because we’re seeing it on a, daily.

[00:12:44]
Yeah, that’s great advice. Well, thank you, Dale, so much for joining us today. I really appreciate it. 

Yeah, you’re very welcome Sage. It was great talking to you again.

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