- Safety and Health Topics
- Powered Industrial Trucks - Forklifts
Powered Industrial Trucks - Forklifts
What are powered industrial trucks?
Powered industrial trucks, commonly called forklifts or lift trucks, are used in many industries, primarily to move materials. They can also be used to raise, lower, or remove large objects or a number of smaller objects on pallets or in boxes, crates, or other containers. Powered industrial trucks can either be ridden by the operator or controlled by a walking operator. Over-the-road haulage trucks and earth-moving equipment that has been modified to accept forks are not considered powered industrial trucks.
What are the hazards associated with operating powered industrial trucks?
There are many types of powered industrial trucks. Each type 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 type and conditions are also factors in hazards commonly associated with powered industrial trucks. For example, retail establishments often face greater challenges than other worksites in maintaining pedestrian safety. Beyond that, many workers can also be injured when (1) lift trucks are inadvertently driven off loading docks; (2) lifts fall between docks and an unsecured trailer; (3) they are struck by a lift truck; or (4) they fall while on elevated pallets and tines.
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. Download the Sticker.
What can be done to reduce the hazards related to powered industrial trucks?
Determining the best way to protect workers from injury largely depends on the type of truck operated and the worksite where it is being used. Employers must ensure that each powered industrial truck operator is competent to operate a powered industrial truck safely, as demonstrated by the successful completion of the training and evaluation specified in 29 CFR 1910.178(l)(1).
Powered industrial trucks are addressed in specific OSHA standards for General Industry, Marine Terminals, Longshoring and Construction.
Hazards and Solutions
Provides references that may aid in recognizing hazards associated with powered industrial trucks and provides examples of possible solutions.
Provides links and references to additional resources related to powered industrial trucks.
How do I find out about employer responsibilities and workers' rights?
Workers have a right to a safe workplace. The law requires employers to provide their employees with safe and healthful workplaces. The OSHA law also prohibits employers from retaliating against employees for exercising their rights under the law (including the right to raise a health and safety concern or report an injury). For more information see www.whistleblowers.gov or Workers' rights under the OSH Act.
OSHA can help answer questions or concerns from employers and workers. To reach your regional or area OSHA office, go to the OSHA Offices by State webpage or call 1-800-321-OSHA (6742).
Small business employers may contact OSHA's free and confidential On-Site Consultation program to help determine whether there are hazards at their worksites and work with OSHA on correcting any identified hazards. Consultants in this program from state agencies or universities work with employers to identify workplace hazards, provide advice on compliance with OSHA standards, and assist in establishing injury and illness prevention programs. On-Site Consultation services are separate from enforcement activities and do not result in penalties or citations. To contact OSHA's free consultation service, go to OSHA's On-Site Consultation web page or call 1-800-321-OSHA (6742) and press number 4.
Workers may file a complaint to have OSHA inspect their workplace if they believe that their employer is not following OSHA standards or that there are serious hazards. Workers can file a complaint with OSHA by calling 1-800-321-OSHA (6742), online via eComplaint Form, or by printing the complaint form and mailing or faxing it to the local OSHA area office. Complaints that are signed by a worker are more likely to result in an inspection.
If you think your job is unsafe or if you have questions, contact OSHA at 1-800-321-OSHA (6742). Your contact will be kept confidential. We can help. For other valuable worker protection information, such as Workers' Rights, Employer Responsibilities, and other services OSHA offers, visit OSHA's Workers' page.
- Sample Daily Checklists for Powered Industrial Trucks. Prepared by OSHA and the Industrial Trucking Association (ITA) Alliance. OSHA notes that this checklist and related graphics were developed in cooperation with the ITA as part of the OSHA-ITA Alliance.
- Sample Daily Checklists for Powered Industrial Trucks. Prepared by the UAW-Ford National Joint Committee on Health and Safety. OSHA thanks the UAW-Ford National Joint Committee on Health and Safety for granting permission to use the checklists and related graphics.
- Protecting Young Workers: Prohibition Against Young Workers Operating Forklifts. OSHA Safety and Health Information Bulletin (SHIB), (September 30, 2003). Informs employers that youth employment regulations (29 CFR 570) promulgated under the Fair Labor Standards Act prohibit most employees under the age of 18 years from operating forklifts for non-agricultural operations and reminds employers that all forklift operators must be trained and certified.