#6 Powered Industrial Trucks – Top OSHA Violations of 2013

#6 Powered Industrial Trucks – Top OSHA Violations of 2013

#6 Powered Industrial Trucks  - Part of the Top 10 Most Frequently Cited Standards for Fiscal 2013 Series

With powered industrial trucks there are so many points to look at and inspect; some of the important points are often overlooked by employers. These are some questions an employer should ask themselves.

  • Are your people trained?
  • Are only trained personnel operating?
  • Is all equipment adequately equipped with needed safety equipment?
  • Is that equipment operable or has it been disconnected (back-up horns and strobes?)

What exactly are powered industrial trucks?

Powered industrial trucks are any mobile power-propelled truck used to carry, push, pull, lift, stack, or tier materials. Powered industrial trucks can be ridden or controlled by a walking operator, earth moving and over the road haulage trucks are not included in the definition. Equipment that was designed to move earth but has been modified to accept forks are also not included.

The most recent OSHA data indicates 95,000 workers are injured, and approximately 100 are killed each year in powered industrial truck related incidents. Most powered industrial truck injuries are caused by tip over accidents. The primary causes of tip overs are excessive speed while turning and having raised, unbalanced loads. The best way to avoid tip overs is to properly counter-balance your load. All loads should be placed as close to the back of the forks as possible.

powered industrial truckOperating a powered industrial truck requests detailed training to help employees understand how to use the powered industrial truck and understand the risk associated with using this particular equipment. Powered industrial trucks are a very important part of material handling in many industries, and are also a source of serious accidents. All personnel who operate powered industrial trucks must be trained and certified in their safe operation every three years. The training includes both classroom and vehicle operation. The training covers:

  • Features of the specific powered industrial truck to be operated
  • Operating procedures of the specific powered industrial truck to be operated
  • Safety concerns of specific powered industrial truck to be operated
  • Workplace conditions and safety concerns of areas where powered industrial trucks will be operated.
  • Learn and practice actual operation of specific powered industrial truck to be operated.
  • Demonstrate proficiency performing the powered industrial trucks operator duties specific to the workplace and to be evaluated on the use of that equipment.

Evaluation of an operator’s performance can be determined by a number of ways, such as:

  • a discussion with the employee
  • an observation of the employee operating the powered industrial truck
  • written documentation of previous training
  • a performance test

Operating a powered industrial truck takes skill and knowledge. The operator and those around the operator must treat the powered industrial truck with respect. Using proper operating procedures will minimize the potential for accidents and injuries.

Forklifts must be removed from service when they are not in safe operating condition. They are required to be inspected before use (at least once per shift) and should include, but not be limited to; brakes, steering, forks, mast chain components, data plate, tires, counterweight, overhead guard, control levers, horn, lights, etc. Using an inspection checklist makes this task easier and thorough.

A powered industrial truck is not a car, and is tall and narrow and tip over easily, so operators must drive cautiously. Stopping a powered industrial truck is also not the same as stopping a car. The two small wheels are the braking wheels, so they do not stop quickly.

General Safety Rules

  • Keep the load low
  • Never carry riders
  • Plan your route
  • Follow safe speed limits
  • Park safely
  • Watch for pedestrians
  • Avoid sharp turns
  • Watch for chuckholes
  • Leave aisle room
  • Maintain safe visibility
  • Watch the slope
  • Use your horn when approaching
About The Author
Chantal Dale is a writer for Safety Partners, Ltd.

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