Businesses that use forklifts or powered industrial trucks must train employees in the use and safe handling of such vehicles under the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) Powered Industrial Truck Operator Rule,
The rule took effect March 1, 1999, and all applicable employees must be in compliance by December 1, 1999. An applicable employee is defined as any person who operates a powered industrial truck.
The rule covers the seven recognized classes of powered industrial vehicles, including forklifts of all sizes, electric motor hand-guided carts, electric and internal combustion tractors of all sizes, and off-road rough terrain forklifts.
Operations training must include:
O instructions in proper vehicle operation - both classroom and practical training;
O the hazards of operating the vehicle in the workplace;
O the requirements of the OSHA standard for powered industrial trucks.
OSHA specifies that the individual conducting the training is qualified. An employer or an outside training service may provide the training. Operators must also be re-evaluated at least once every three years.
Required training topics include truck controls, engine or motor supervision, vehicle capacity and stability, operating limitations, pedestrian traffic awareness, surface recognition, and other specific job-related factors concerning the safe operations of the truck.
OSHA estimates that proper training will prevent many deaths and over 9,000 injuries per year. Of all fatalities involving a forklift, 24% of them involve a forklift that has overturned, and 67% of all injuries suffered involve an overturned powered industrial vehicle.
The Automotive Service Industry Association (ASIS) publishes a Frequently Asked Questions Brochure No. 10050 that provides a detailed review of this new OSHA requirement. Interested parties may call ASIS at 847-228-1310 for more information.