US Dept of Labor

Occupational Safety & Health AdministrationWe Can Help

Standard Interpretations - Table of Contents
• Standard Number: 1910.178(q)(7); 1910.178(p)(1); 1910.178(q)(5)

August 13, 2004

Mr. William Overby
2932 Hazel Ave.
Dayton, OH 45420

Dear Mr. Overby:

Thank you for your May 7, 2004 letter to the Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). This letter constitutes OSHA's interpretation only of the requirements herein, and may not be applicable to any question(s)/scenario not delineated within your original correspondence. You had a specific questions regarding the sound level of a warning device (horn) located on a forklift. We apologize for the delay in responding to your request.

Question: When a forklift has a weak sounding horn, what determines whether it should be replaced or not?

Reply: OSHA's standard 29 CFR 1910.178(q)(7) requires that industrial trucks be inspected at least daily and not be placed into service if the examination shows any condition that may adversely affect the safety of the industrial truck. Additionally, §1910.178(p)(1) states, "If at any time a powered industrial truck is found to be in need of repair, defective, or in any way unsafe, the truck shall be taken out of service until it has been restored to safe operating condition." If the industrial truck is equipped with a horn as its warning device, then OSHA would consider the truck as being unsafe if the sound level of the horn has deteriorated to a level that can no longer be heard above the ambient noise in the workplace.

In addition, the employer must meet the requirements in §1910.178(q), Maintenance of industrial trucks. Specifically, §1910.178(q)(5) states, "All parts of any such industrial truck requiring replacement shall be replaced only by parts equivalent as to safety with those used in the original design."

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 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. To keep apprised of such developments, you can consult OSHA's website at 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

Standard Interpretations - Table of Contents

Thank You for Visiting Our Website

You are exiting the Department of Labor's Web server.

The Department of Labor does not endorse, takes no responsibility for, and exercises no control over the linked organization or its views, or contents, nor does it vouch for the accuracy or accessibility of the information contained on the destination server. The Department of Labor also cannot authorize the use of copyrighted materials contained in linked Web sites. Users must request such authorization from the sponsor of the linked Web site. Thank you for visiting our site. Please click the button below to continue.