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Powered Industrial Trucks (Forklift) eTool Powered Industrial Trucks (Forklift) eTool Powered Industrial Trucks (Forklift) eTool
Powered Industrial Trucks (Forklift) eTool Powered Industrial Trucks (Forklift) eTool
Powered Industrial Trucks (Forklift) eTool
Powered Industrial Trucks (Forklift) eTool
Powered industrial trucks, commonly called forklifts or lift trucks, are used in many industries, primarily to move materials. They can be used to move, raise, lower, or remove large objects or a number of smaller objects on pallets or in boxes, crates, or other containers.

The hazards commonly associated with powered industrial trucks vary depending on the vehicle type and the workplace where the truck is used. Each type of truck presents different operating hazards. For example, a sit-down, counterbalanced high lift rider truck is more likely than a motorized hand truck to be involved in a falling load accident, because the sit-down rider truck can lift a load much higher than a hand truck. Workplace conditions also present different hazards. For example, retail establishments often face greater challenges than other worksites in maintaining pedestrian safety.

The best way to protect employees from injury also depends on the type of truck operated and worksite where it is being used. This eTool* specifically provides information on OSHA's Powered Industrial Truck requirements [29 CFR 1910.178] and industry best practices addressing:
Note: This eTool is intended as a resource for providing training under OSHA's Powered Industrial Truck standard. This eTool focuses on powered industrial trucks commonly used in general industry. It is not a substitute for any of the provisions of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, for the powered industrial truck standard, or for any other OSHA standards. It is also not a substitute for a powered industrial truck operator training program.
  It is a violation of Federal law for anyone UNDER 18 years of age to operate a forklift or for anyone OVER 18 years of age who is not properly trained and certified to do so.
It is a violation of Federal law for anyone
UNDER 18 years of age to operate a forklift
or for anyone OVER 18 years of age who is not properly trained and certified to do so. [More...]

Workers' Rights

Workers have the right to:

  • Working conditions that do not pose a risk of serious harm.
  • Receive information and training (in a language and vocabulary the worker understands) about workplace hazards, methods to prevent them, and the OSHA standards that apply to their workplace.
  • Review records of work-related injuries and illnesses.
  • File a complaint asking OSHA to inspect their workplace if they believe there is a serious hazard or that their employer is not following OSHA's rules. OSHA will keep all identities confidential.
  • Exercise their rights under the law without retaliation, including reporting an injury or raising health and safety concerns with their employer or OSHA. If a worker has been retaliated against for using their rights, they must file a complaint with OSHA as soon as possible, but no later than 30 days.

For additional information, see OSHA's Workers page.

How to Contact OSHA

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to ensure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit www.osha.gov or call OSHA at 1-800-321-OSHA (6742), TTY 1-877-889-5627.



*eTools are "stand-alone", interactive, Web-based training tools on occupational safety and health topics. They utilize graphical menus as well as expert system modules. As indicated in the disclaimer, eTools do not create new OSHA requirements.

Types & Fundamentals | Operating the Forklift | Understanding the Workplace | Training Assistance
eTools Home : Powered Industrial Trucks Safety and Health Topic Page | Credits