RegSenseezExplanationMaterials Handling and StorageSafety & HealthForklifts and Powered TrucksConstruction SafetyForklifts and Powered TrucksBest ResultsOccupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), DOLFocus AreaEnglishHeavy Equipment and VehiclesHeavy Equipment and VehiclesMaterials Handling and StorageUSA
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Powered industrial trucks (PITs), also know as forklifts or lift trucks, are used in construction primarily to move materials. They can also be used to raise, lower, or remove large objects or a number of smaller objects on pallets or in boxes, crates, or other containers. On construction jobsites forklifts are usually ridden by the operator, but they can also be controlled by a walking operator. Each type presents different operating hazards. Jobsite conditions are also factors in hazards commonly associated with forklifts.
OSHA regulates forklifts operating on construction jobsite at 29 CFR 1926 Subpart O — Motor vehicles, mechanized equipment, and marine operations and specifically in the Material handling equipment section.
- 29 CFR 1926.602(c) & (d) — Lifting and hauling equipment & Powered industrial truck operator training.
- 29 CFR 1910.178, Appendix A — Stability of Powered Industrial Truck (Non-mandatory Appendix) covers what operators need to know about forklift stability.
- Center of gravity: The point on an object at which all of the object’s weight is concentrated. For symmetrical loads, the center of gravity is at the middle of the load.
- Counterweight: The weight that is built into the truck’s basic structure and is used to offset the load’s weight and to maximize the vehicle’s resistance to tipping over.
- Grade: The slope of a surface, which is usually measured as the number of feet of rise or fall over a hundred foot horizontal distance (the slope is expressed as a percent).
- Load center: The horizontal distance from the load’s edge (or the fork’s or other attachment’s vertical face) to the line of action through the load’s center of gravity.
- Powered Industrial Truck: Fork trucks, tractors, platform lift trucks, motorized hand trucks, and other specialized industrial trucks powered by electric motors or internal combustion engines, excluding compressed air or nonflammable compressed gas-operated industrial trucks, farm vehicles, and to vehicles intended primarily for earth moving or over-the-road hauling.
- Stability triangle: The three-point suspension system that runs along an imaginary line between a forklift’s two front tires and the center of the rear axle. Even though the vehicle has four wheels, it is only supported at these three points.
Summary of requirements
OSHA requires employers to:
- Evaluate the workplace for PITs. OSHA’s PIT standard covers most types of material handling equipment that is powered for horizontal movement. This includes sit-down rider forklifts, powered pallet jacks, order pickers, reach trucks, and narrow-aisle lift trucks to name a few.
- Observe capacity ratings. The PIT’s nameplate contains important information on the PITs capacity. Capacity must never be exceeded.
- Train all operators. All PIT operators must undergo a rigorous training that includes a combination of formal instruction (e.g., lecture, discussion, interactive computer learning, video tape, written material), practical training (demonstrations performed by the trainer and practical exercises performed by the trainee), and evaluation of the operator’s performance in the workplace. See 1910.178(l) for the full training requirements, which, among other things, include a specific list of topics, some of which may be truck- and workplace specific.
- Re-evaluate operators at least once every three years.
- Provide refresher training when operators are observed driving unsafely, involved in an incident or near miss, or are assigned a different type of equipment.
- Allow only qualified persons to train operators. Persons wishing to train forklift operators must have the “knowledge, training, and experience” to train operators and evaluate their competence. The OSHA standard does not further define this requirement or set any specific certifications.
- Ensure equipment is inspected at least daily. Where industrial trucks are used on a round-the-clock basis, they must be examined after each shift.
- Remove unsafe equipment from service immediately.
- Only allow employees to operate correctly-classified equipment in hazardous atmospheres — to prevent explosion hazards. See 1910.178 Table N-1.
- Set and enforce operating rules.
- Provide designated areas for battery charging/changing operations.
- Obtain the manufacturer’s prior written approval before making modifications that would impact safety and capacity, such as adding a man basket.
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['Forklifts and Powered Trucks', 'Materials Handling and Storage', 'Heavy Equipment and Vehicles']
['Heavy Equipment and Vehicles', 'Forklifts and Powered Trucks', 'Materials Handling and Storage']
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