03/07/2006 - 05:00 am

Sears Adopts Safety Program for Powered Industrial Trucks

Sears, one of the nation's largest retailers, will adopt a safety and health program to ensure that all powered industrial trucks are operated in a safe manner, as part of a settlement agreement announced last week by the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). The settlement applies to all Sears stores within federal OSHA jurisdiction.

The agreement settles citations issued by OSHA Sept. 29, 2005, to a Sears store in Monaca, Pa., following an accident investigation in which the company was cited for exposing employees to fall hazards from powered industrial trucks. The agency found that employees were allowed to ride on unsecured platforms, without guardrails on the forks of the trucks. OSHA also found that fork truck operators were not trained and the company failed to provide personal fall arrest systems to employees or equip trucks with overhead guards to protect employees from falling objects.

Under terms of the agreement, Sears' safety and health program will include formal instruction, practical training, and the evaluation of each truck operator's performance at least once every three years. The company has also committed to maintaining all powered industrial trucks in safe operating condition, and implementing and enforcing a corporate-wide policy that allows only properly trained employees to be elevated and operate the trucks. The company also agreed to pay a penalty of $70,000.

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