What are “job-made boxes”?
Job made boxes are any makeshift attachments created by construction workers or workers in other industries such as boxes, baskets or platforms. They are often made of wood as well as metal and plastic. They look like a little balcony: a platform with 3 walls around it. Workers attach these boxes to forklifts to lift equipment, workers or material to various heights. Workers also use them to step on them when working at elevated levels.
Why are they dangerous?
Because they are makeshift attachments, not every job-made box is safe. Some are not built proprely or not proprely secured to the forklift. Additionally when workers use them, they usually don’t have any fall protection equipment. Job-made boxes are not approved by forklift manufacturers and are considered modifications, additions, or alterations covered under OSHA Standards for Powered Industrial Trucks at 29 CFR §§ 1910.178(a)(4), 1910.178(a)(5), and 1910.178(q)(6). Their usage is not permitted.
What are the risks related to their usage?
Workers using job-made boxes attached to forklifts risk serious injuries and death. 57 accidents related to job-made boxes attached to forklifts have caused the death of 33 workers and serious injury to 46 workers between 2002 and 2020.
What are the most common accidents occurring with job-made boxes?
Falls are the most common accidents with boxes poorly constructed or not proprely secured to the forklift. Other workers have also been struck and crushed by falling boxes.
Are there safe alternatives?
Yes, commercial boxes, baskets and platforms are available on the market. They have been tested and approved to fit with specific models or brands of forklifts. They are specifically meant to be attached to the machine and if they are proprely used, they are a safe alternative to job-made boxes.
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Picture: courtesy of OSHA