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Developing a Training Program for Powered Industrial Truck Operators
This handout is intended to be used for training purposes only. It is not a substitute for any
provisions of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, or for any standards issued by the
U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
HOW DO I DEVELOP A POWERED INDUSTRIAL OPERATOR TRAINING PROGRAM?
Before you begin developing your operator training program you should become familiar with the OSHA standard for powered industrial trucks and any operator’s manual pertinent to the equipment you have in your workplace.
IDENTIFY YOUR OPERATORS
First, you need to determine the employees that will be required to operate powered industrial trucks in your workplace. If an employee has other duties, but sometimes operates a powered industrial truck, training must be provided.
IDENTIFY THE TYPES OF POWERED INDUSTRIAL TRUCKS YOU HAVE IN YOUR WORKPLACE AND THOSE EMPLOYEES WHO WILL BE REQUIRED TO OPERATE THE VEHICLES.
There are many different types of powered industrial trucks. Typically, these types of vehicles are known as forklifts or lift trucks. Some types of trucks are not capable of being ridden by the operator. These are also covered by the OSHA standard and training is required. Some trucks are fitted with attachments purchased from the manufacturer. The use of these attachments may affect the manner in which the truck is handled; therefore training on the use of the attachment would also be required. If your employees will be expected to operate several different types of powered industrial trucks, then training is required on the unique handling characteristics of the vehicles.
METHODS OF TRAINING
Once you have identified your truck operators and types of trucks you have in your workplace, you should determine the methods of training you will use.
Training must consist of a combination of formal instruction and practical training. Using both methods is the only way to ensure that the trainee receives and comprehends the instruction and uses the information to safely operate a powered industrial truck. Note that the formal training need not take place in a classroom. Discussions can consist of the trainer talking to the trainee and explaining the training material, either in the workplace or in another location. The training must, however, include an explanatory element as well as a practical element.
Formal instruction may include lectures, conferences, classroom discussions, demonstrations, and written or oral tests. To enhance the training and make it more understandable to the employee, employers and other trainers may use movies, slides, computers, video tapes and other visual presentations.
Using visual aids has several advantages, including:
TRAINING PROGRAM CONTENT
Because each type (make and model) of powered industrial truck has different operating characteristics, limitations, and other unique features, a good employee training program for powered industrial truck operators should be based upon the type of vehicles that the employee will be trained and authorized to operate. The training should also emphasize the workplace's features that will affect how the vehicle must be operated. Finally, the training should include the general safety rules applicable to operating any powered industrial truck.
The following is an outline of a generic powered industrial truck operator training program:
When the employee completes the training exercises and prior to operating the truck in the workplace, an evaluation of the employee must be performed. This evaluation will determine the adequacy of training and the ability of the employee to perform truck operations safely in the workplace. The OSHA standard also requires that an evaluation of the operator’s performance be conducted at least once every three years and after refresher training.
The employer should then complete a certification of training record containing the name of the operator, the date of the training, the date of the evaluation, and the identity of the person(s) performing the training or evaluation.
During the course of truck operation, the supervisor may observe the employee performing an unsafe act, such as riding with the load too high or traveling at an unsafe speed. The person making the correction should point out the incorrect manner of operation of the truck or other unsafe act being conducted, tell the employee how to do the operation correctly, and then ensure the employee does the operation correctly. When there have been multiple on-the-spot corrections, the employer may decide to conduct a more structured retraining program which would include the following information: