Got Forklift Questions? We’ve Got Answers

OSHA’s Powered Industrial Truck standard (29 CFR 1910.178) establishes safety requirements relating to the design, maintenance, and use of forklifts as well as the training and evaluation of forklift operators. Compliance with the regulations, however, often raises important questions. Here are some that have been fielded by BLR’s safety experts.

Does OSHA require a specific amount of hands-on training to new forklift operators?

The topics listed in 1910.178(l)(3)(i) must be covered, and employees must be evaluated to determine if the training was effective. But it’s up to you to determine the amount of time to spend on each topic.

Every 3 years, forklift operators must be trained and evaluated. Do you have to give a written test covering the classroom training portion, or can you just do a hands-on evaluation?

OSHA doesn’t specify if a written test is necessary. We think the hands-on evaluation is more important. Some people use a checklist to evaluate the operator’s competence on actual forklift driving. Others go with both a hands-on and written evaluation.

Is a certification required for the instructor who is teaching a train-the-trainer class for forklift operations?

This is all the federal regulation says about the trainer:

29 CFR 1910.178(l)(2)(iii)
All operator training and evaluation shall be conducted by persons who have the knowledge, training, and experience to train powered industrial truck operators and evaluate their competence.

Also, take a look at this OSHA letter of interpretation on qualifications for powered industrial truck trainers.  

Don’t just tell forklift operators what to do—show them with action footage on DVD in BLR’s Training Solutions Toolkit: Forklift Safety. Read More.

Are fire extinguishers required on forklifts?

OSHA’s Powered Industrial Trucks standard (29 CFR 1910.178) makes no mention of fire extinguishers. But it’s not a bad idea to equip trucks with them.

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Does OSHA require us to complete a daily written forklift inspection checklist?

Section 1910.178(q)(7) requires powered industrial trucks to be examined before being placed in service. They must not be placed in service if the examination shows any conditions adversely affecting the safety of the vehicle. Although the standard requires that the examination be conducted, there is no OSHA requirement that the examination be recorded in writing on a checklist. But a written checklist is certainly helpful to ensure that all inspection items are covered every day.

Can we make modifications to our forklift truck attachment to fit the needs of our business?

Not if you don’t get approval from the forklift manufacturer first. The reason for this requirement is that the modification may be unsafe.

Is there a minimum age requirement for operating powered industrial equipment?

The minimum age is 18.

That’s just a small sample of the 60 Q&As about forklift safety found on our sister website,®. To see more forklift Q&As go here.

If you’ve got questions about how to train your forklift operators, try BLR’s Training Solutions Toolkit: Forklift Safety. It has a giant leg up on the competition. This DVD-based kit is really a mini-motion picture, complete with professional actors and a realistic script. It trains on all the essential points and also includes all these supplementary materials:

—15 copies of an employee workbook and accompanying leader’s guide that confirms and extends the learning. Additional copies may be ordered at special low prices.
—3 posters. Hang them around your facility as a constant reminder of the training. (And note the pleased expression on any OSHA inspector who happens to see them.)
—Trainer’s log. Create a permanent record of whom you trained and when—another must-have if your facility is inspected.
—Customizable completion certificate. Just add each trainee’s name and other company specifics and print out.
—A complete bonus PowerPoint® forklift training program. This       30-slide PowerPoint, with accompanying slide show notes and takeaway booklets, allows you an alternative way to train, and lets you customize your training with specific company policies and situations and add your comments as you present the material.

Training Solutions Toolkit: Forklift Safety is available for a no-cost, no-risk trial at your workplace. We’ll be happy to arrange it for you.

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