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Frequently Asked Questions: Powered Industrial Trucks


What training is required when an operator is to operate different types of powered industrial trucks?

[OSHA’s Powered Industrial Trucks Standard] 1910.178(l)(i) states that "The employer shall 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 this paragraph (l)." 1910.178(l)(3) requires that operators receive training in the topics which are applicable to the safe operation of the truck in the employer’s workplace.

Therefore, an operator must be trained and evaluated in the safe operation for the type of truck that the operator will be assigned to operate in the employer’s workplace. For example, if an operator is assigned to operate a sit-down counterbalanced rider truck, then the operator must be trained and evaluated in the safe operation for that type of truck. If an operator is assigned to operate an operator-up counterbalanced front/side loader truck, or a rough terrain forklift, then the operator must be trained and evaluated in the safe operation for those types of trucks.

A sit-down counterbalanced rider truck, an operator-up counterbalanced front/side loader truck, and a rough terrain forklift are different types of trucks. Operators who have successfully completed training and evaluation as specified in 1910.178(l) (in a specific type of truck) would not need additional training when they are assigned to operate the same type of truck made by a different manufacturer. However, operators would need additional training if the applicable truck-related and workplace-related topics listed in 1910.178(l)(3) are different for that truck.

Reference Interpretation and Compliance Letters:

Who must provide powered industrial truck operator training to the truck drivers delivering to my site?

[W]ith respect to truck drivers who are not employed by [the employer] and with respect to lumpers who may be retained by those drivers, [the employer] must take steps to assure that these individuals are properly trained before they are permitted to operate powered industrial trucks at [the employer's] facility. At a minimum, an employer is responsible for the safety of its own employees. Thus, if the unsafe operation of powered industrial trucks could endanger [the employer's] employees, [the employer] would be obligated to prevent such danger by satisfying itself that powered industrial truck operators have been properly trained. Moreover, [the employer] also generally would be responsible for the overall safety and health conditions on the work site for the benefit of all employees. Indeed, as [the employer] would likely concede, its warehouse is a safer place for all employees to work, if all persons are required to receive appropriate training before they are allowed to operate powered industrial trucks. This does not mean that [the employer] is required to train powered industrial truck drivers who are not its employees. It must, however, ensure that such individuals have been trained in accordance with the provisions of the standard before they are permitted to operate powered industrial trucks at its warehouse.

Reference Interpretation and Compliance Letters:

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