- Standard Number:
OSHA requirements are set by statute, standards and regulations. Our interpretation letters explain these requirements and how they apply to particular circumstances, but they cannot create additional employer obligations. This letter constitutes OSHA's interpretation of the requirements discussed. Note that our enforcement guidance may be affected by changes to OSHA rules. Also, from time to time we update our guidance in response to new information. To keep apprised of such developments, you can consult OSHA's website at https://www.osha.gov.
August 1, 2005
Mr. Robert Hearne
1448 SR 333
Russellville, AR 72802
Dear Mr. Hearne:
Thank you for your April 12 letter to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) Directorate of Enforcement Programs (DEP). Your letter has been referred to DEP's Office of General Industry Enforcement for an answer to your question regarding OSHA's powered industrial truck standard, 29 CFR 1910.178. Your question has been restated below for clarity.
Background: 29 CFR 1910.178(l)(4)(iii) requires that an evaluation of each powered industrial truck operator's performance shall be conducted at least once every three years.
Question: Would a written exam alone (i.e., without practical operation of the truck) suffice for the evaluation requirement stated above?
Reply: The "evaluation" of "performance" required by the standard cannot be met by a written exam alone. A written exam by itself does not indicate whether the operator is operating the powered industrial truck safely. In most cases, the person conducting the evaluation would do two things: first, observe the powered industrial truck operator during normal operations to determine if the operator is performing safely, and second, ask pertinent questions to ensure that the operator has the knowledge or experience needed to operate a truck safely. In some cases, because of the danger or complexity of the operation, the extent of the change in conditions, or the operator's need for additional skills, the evaluation will need to be lengthier and more detailed. The triennial evaluation ensures that the operator has retained the necessary knowledge and skills for safe operation of the vehicle. Therefore, a written exam alone would not be adequate to ensure that the operator has retained the necessary skills for safe vehicle operation.
Thank you for your interest in occupational safety and health. We hope you find this information helpful. OSHA requirements are set by statute, standards, and regulations. Our interpretations letters explain the requirements, and how they apply to particular circumstances, but they cannot create additional employer obligations. This letter constitutes OSHA's interpretation of the requirements discussed. Note that our enforcement guidance may be affected by changes to OSHA rules. In addition, from time to time we update our guidance in response to new information. To keep apprised of such developments, you can consult OSHA's website at www.osha.gov. If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact the Office of General Industry Enforcement at (202) 693-1850.
Richard E. Fairfax, Director
Directorate of Enforcement Programs