CRA eJournal

Rental Topics - OSHA Matters

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Rental Centers should consider "updating" their Rental Agreements (perhaps, by use of a signed addendum!) in order to provide for the OSHA Silica Dust and OSHA use of Powered Forklifts standards. OSHA enforcement (Federal, the State of California began enforcement several years ago) will commence on September 23, 2017, as to their Silica Dust Standards (e.g., silica dust is emitted during drilling, chipping, cutting, etc., of concrete, stone, clay, etc.). The standards require containment, respiratory protection, remediation, etc., for employees and indeed for third parties. So, how do the Silica Dust Standards apply to rental centers that merely rent their equipment to third parties that may or may not have employees? Well, besides the duty to warn and properly instruct, we recommend that the Rental Agreement utilized by rental centers be modified to advise/warn specifically of the OSHA requirements.
We further recommend that rental centers have available and on "site" adequate remediation devices (eg: HEPA Vacuums, etc.) to remediate exposure to silica dust. It is not clear at this time whether equipment rented must have remediation devices attached or available, however, a "belt and suspenders" approach will be to have all equipment equipped, or at a minimum the rental center should offer to provide (indeed, rent) remediation devices to their rental customers. Additionally, when the equipment is returned to the rental center, the rental center will need to properly "clean" the equipment in order to avoid silica dust contamination, and rental center employees cleaning the equipment must be protected from exposure to silica dust! 
Similarly, OSHA requires a safe workplace when using power forklifts. The OSHA standards require all employers to assure that each powered forklift is operated by a competent individual safely, as demonstrated by their successful completion of the training and evaluation specified in 29 CFR1910.178 (l)(1). It is recommended that the manufacturer's instructions on forklift maintenance, instruction and safe operation and the owner’s and operator’s manuals and responsibilities also be consulted. All operators must be trained to operate the type of power forklifts that they will be operating. Additionally, operators are required (prior to each shift) to complete (in writing) safety and operational checks and to assure that all problems are corrected prior to use. While the training of a customer’s employees is not a requirement of the rental center, the rental center may nevertheless have a duty to both instruct and warn its customers at the time of rental. The instructions and warnings should be in writing and the customer should acknowledge the receipt of their complete understanding prior to the equipment leaving the rental center.

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