Forklifts

Worker Safety and Forklift Maintenance

Yesterday, we looked at forklift maintenance—particularly, at the training required for workers who perform repair and maintenance on forklifts. Today, we’ll look at a few more requirements that might apply, as well as some rules for maintenance locations and replacement parts.

Additional Training for Forklift Maintenance Workers

Some topics are specific to forklifts, but other forklift maintenance hazards are covered by different OSHA standards. Employees who are exposed to these hazards while working on forklifts may require additional training under the standards noted by OSHA below:

  • Exhaust hazards. Workers should know how to use adequate ventilation to protect themselves against gasoline, diesel, or LPG exhaust (29 CFR 1910.94, Ventilation)
  • Hazardous energy. Maintenance workers should keep control of the forklift’s ignition key while they work. Also, they should disconnect the battery before working on the electrical system. Blocking raised parts and elevated equipment are another topic they may need training in (29 CFR 1910.147, Control of Hazardous Energy (Lockout/Tagout)).
  • Wheel hazards. Workers who service forklift wheels may need training under 29 CFR 1910.177, Servicing Single-Piece and Multi-Piece Rim Wheels.
  • Asbestos. During brake and clutch repairs, workers may be exposed to asbestos (29 CFR 1910.1001, Asbestos).
  • Compressed gases. LPG is a compressed gas. Compressed gas hazards are covered under 29 CFR 1910 Subpart H, Hazardous Materials.
  • Eye, face, hand, and body hazards. To protect against some chemical exposures, cut and abrasion hazards, and falling object hazards, workers may need PPE (29 CFR 1910 Subpart I, Personal Protective Equipment).
  • Fire hazards. Because maintenance work may involve fire hazards, workers should know how to use a fire extinguisher (29 CFR 1910 Subpart L, Fire Protection).
  • Welding hazards. If repairs involve welding operations, workers will need training under 29 CFR 1910 Subpart Q, Welding, Cutting and Brazing.

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Work Locations

OSHA emphasizes that forklift repairs must take place in locations that are specifically designed to perform the necessary tasks safely. Make sure that workers have:

  • A location free of fire hazards. OSHA forbids repairing forklifts in hazardous (Class I, II, or III) locations. In particular, repairs to the fuel or ignition system of a forklift may only be made in an area with no uncontrolled fire hazards.
  • Emergency equipment. Because forklift repairs can involve fire hazards, fire extinguishers must be provided. Because liquid chemical hazards may be present, emergency eyewashes and showers must also be located in the work area.

OSHA’s forklift training requirements are extensive, and it can be confusing to try to figure out exactly which requirements apply to which workers. Fortunately, BLR® has done a lot of the work for you already.

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