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Forklifts with no backup alarms using chairs as ladders operating equipment without personal protective equipment It39s amazing the OSHA violations you can find at a SAFETY conference Photo Thinkstock

Forklifts with no backup alarms, using chairs as ladders, operating equipment without personal protective equipment... It's amazing the OSHA violations you can find at a SAFETY conference! (Photo: Thinkstock)

Where Is the Safety at Safety Expos?

My company, ISHM (Institute for Safety and Health Management) is proud and honored to be allowed to exhibit at several safety/trade shows/expos yearly.

As with most vendors, we arrive a day early and use most of the available time to set up our booth area.

Often we will take a break and walk the expo floor, where pandemonium reigns as show contractors deliver boxes to the various booths and install carpeting and pick up trash.

Recently, we witnessed several fork lifts moving about the aisles full of boxes and people. None of the fork lifts had a back-up alarm!

I asked one of the drivers about the alarm and he told me that they have not worked in years. I would think that the contractors have an obligation to the show directors to observe applicable federal, state and local safety requirements.

During our walk we observed folks setting up booths using power tools and they had no eye protection. Others were standing on folding chairs to reach heights in order to properly set their display. Some were standing on the top step of ladders.

While there were many more instances of activity where safe work practices were not in use, the above are what we thought to be the most serious to the safety of personnel.

All of us, vendors and contractors, need to step back and re-think our work procedures at trade shows. Hopefully we can prevent serious incidents from occurring.

Larry Curtis, CSHM-E, is CEO and executive director of the Institute for Safety and Health Management (ISHM), which provides accredited certifications for safety and health managers and practitioners. It is the only HSE certification provider that focuses on the entire safety management process. Curtis, a retired Naval officer, has been the executive director of ISHM since July of 2007. Since that time the organization has enjoyed steady growth. Prior to ISHM, Larry was founder and manager of Construction Risk and Safety Management Associates which he established in 2003 after several years as a senior risk specialist with a major insurance company.

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