Occupational Safety and Health Administration
U.S. Department of Labor
- What vehicles are considered to be powered industrial trucks?
The American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) defines a powered industrial truck as a mobile,
power-propelled truck used to carry, push, pull, lift, stack, or tier materials. Powered industrial
trucks, often called forklifts of lift trucks, can be ridden or controlled by a walking operator.
Excluded from the OSHA standard are vehicles used for earth moving or over-the-road haulage.
Specialized equipment used in maritime include container top handlers, container reach stackers,
straddle carriers, semi-tractors/utility vehicles, sidehandlers, combination vacuum lifts, and yard
- What industries are covered by the standard?
General industry, maritime and construction are covered. The maritime standards are:
1915.120(a)-Shipyards; 1917.1(a)(2)(xiv)-Marine Terminals; and 1918.1(b)(10)-Longshoring, These
standards reference 1910.178(l).
- Where can an operator obtain the training required to become a certified forklift operator?
The employer is responsible for implementing a training program and ensuring that only trained
drivers who have successfully completed the training program are allowed to operate powered
industrial trucks. An evaluation of each operator must be conducted during the initial training, at
least once every 3 years, and after refresher training. The training and evaluation may be conducted
by the employer, if qualified, or an outside training organization.
- What type of training is required?
The training must be a combination of formal (lecture, video, etc.) and practical (demonstration and
practical exercises), and include an evaluation of operator performance in the workplace.
Truck-related and workplace-related topics must be included, along with the requirements of the OSHA
standard. The specific training topics are listed in the standard.
- Who should conduct the training?
All training and evaluation must be conducted by a person with the necessary knowledge, training and
experience to train operators and evaluate their competency. This may be the employer, another
employee, or other qualified person. The training and evaluation does not have to be conducted by a
single individual, but can be done by several persons, provided each one is qualified.
- Is refresher training required?
Refresher training is required when the operator has been observed driving unsafely, been involved
in an accident or near-miss, received an evaluation that indicates unsafe operation, is assigned to
drive a different type truck, or if a workplace condition affecting safe operation changes. An operator
evaluation is required after refresher training.
- What does "certified" mean?
The employer must certify that each operator has been trained and evaluated as required by the
standard. The certification must include the name of the operator, the date of training, the date of
evaluation, and the identity of the person(s) performing the training or evaluation.
- Does an operator who has already been trained as a powered industrial truck operator
have to be retrained under the new standard?
If an operator has received training in a required topic and the training is appropriate to the
truck and the working conditions encountered, additional training in that topic is not required if
the operator has been evaluated and found competent.
- Where can I get additional information about OSHA standards?
For more information, contact your local or Regional OSHA office. OSHA also has a
Home Page on the Internet.