Forklift (Powered Industrial Truck) Safety Training
Powered Industrial Truck Operator Training (OSHA 29 CFR 1910.178 & 1926.602(d)): Employers shall ensure that each powered industrial truck operator is competent to operate a powered industrial truck safely, as demonstrated by completion of training and evaluation.
Training elements include:
- Formal instruction,
- Demonstrations performed by the trainer,
- Practical exercises performed by the trainee, and
- Evaluation of the operator’s performance in the workplace.
Training program content shall include:
- Truck-related topics,
- Workplace-related topics, and
- Specific requirements spelled out in the standard.
Developing Your Own Training Program
Before developing your operator training program, you should become familiar with the OSHA standard for powered industrial trucks and any operator’s manuals for the equipment in your workplace.
- Identify the types of powered industrial trucks in your workplace and those employees who will be required to operate the vehicles.
- Identify your training methods.
- Develop the content for your training program.
- Provide for employee evaluation.
- Include refresher training.
It is important to recognize that training, although essential, will not be enough to eliminate accidents. To be most effective, operator training should be part of a larger comprehensive powered industrial truck safety program that includes the following elements:
- Hazard identification and possible solutions.
- Training (of both truck operators and those personnel working near lift trucks) and evaluation of operator competence.
- Supervision (site survey, ongoing hazard assessment).
- Operating procedures (company policies, recordkeeping, safety practices).
- Maintenance and repair procedures.
- Facility design.
- Lift truck selection criteria (equipment survey of truck types, attachments and modifications).
- Refresher training, including an evaluation of the effectiveness of that training, shall be conducted as required by paragraph (l)(4)(ii) to ensure that the operator has the knowledge and skills needed to operate the powered industrial truck safely.
- Refresher training in relevant topics shall be provided to the operator when:
- The operator has been observed to operate the vehicle in an unsafe manner;
- The operator has been involved in an accident or near-miss incident;
- The operator has received an evaluation that reveals that the operator is not operating the truck safely;
- The operator is assigned to drive a different type of truck; or
- A condition in the workplace changes in a manner that could affect safe operation of the truck.
- An evaluation of each powered industrial truck operator’s performance shall be conducted at least once every three years.