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OSHA News Release - (Archived) Table of Contents
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NOTICE: This is an OSHA Archive Document, and may no longer represent OSHA Policy. It is presented here as historical content, for research and review purposes only.

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U.S. Department of Labor
Occupational Safety and Health Administration
Office of Communications
Washington, D.C.
For Immediate Release

Trade News Release: OSHA 98-4
Tuesday, December 1, 1998
Contact: Frank Kane, (202) 693-1999

$135 Million in Employer Costs to be Saved


An estimated 11 deaths and 9,500 injuries will be prevented and $135 million in employer costs will be saved each year as the result of new safety training requirements for operators of fork lifts and other powered industrial trucks.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) today released the training standards for the more than 1.5 million workers who operate such equipment.

The new training standards apply to operators in general industry and in the construction and maritime (shipyards, longshoring and marine terminals) industries.

"Each year about 100 workers are killed and almost 95,000 injured in industrial truck accidents. Providing the proper training for the drivers will help reduce that toll," said OSHA Administrator Charles N. Jeffress.

Of the estimated $135 million in annual savings, $83 million will be saved in reduced direct costs such as medical savings, administering workers' compensation, and value of lost output. Another $52 million annually will be saved in reduced accident-related property damage. Total costs of compliance are estimated at $16.9 million annually.

Powered industrial trucks are used to carry, push, pull, lift, stack or tier material. The standards do not cover vehicles used for earth moving or over-the-road hauling.

The new standards require a training program based on the trainee's prior knowledge and skill, types of powered industrial trucks used in the workplace, hazards in the workplace and the operator's demonstrated ability to handle a powered industrial truck safely.

Evaluation of each operator's performance is required as part of the initial and refresher training, and at least once every three years.

OSHA adopted its former powered industrial truck standards in 1971.

Since 1971, various organizations and individuals, including members of Congress, have asked OSHA to improve its training requirements for powered industrial truck operators. The American Society of Mechanical Engineers substantially upgraded its training provisions for such operators and the Industrial Truck Association, whose members manufacture the trucks, petitioned OSHA to revise its training requirements.

The new standards are published in the Tuesday, Dec. 1, 1998, Federal Register.

States and territories with their own occupational safety and health plans are to adopt comparable standards within six months.

The effective date for the standards is March 1, 1999.

(Editor's Note: See Attached Fact Sheet for Highlights of New Training Standards.)

The text of this news release is on the Internet World Wide Web at http://www.osha.gov.

Information on this news release will be made available to sensory impaired individuals upon request. Voice phone: 202-693-1999.


Coverage: Powered industrial truck operators in general industry, construction and maritime (shipyards, longshoring and marine terminals) industries. Almost one million powered industrial trucks are in use in the industries covered by the OSHA standards. Industries with the largest number of powered industrial trucks include wholesale trade-non-durable goods (SIC 51), with an estimated 127,000 powered industrial trucks; and food and kindred products (SIC 20), with an estimated 82,000 powered industrial trucks. The construction and maritime sectors are estimated to have about 46,000 and 3,240 powered industrial trucks, respectively.

Operator Selection: The employer must ensure that the employee is competent to operate a powered industrial truck, as demonstrated by successful completion of a training program and evaluation.

Training Program Implementation: The training shall include formal instruction (e. g., lecture, discussion, interactive computer learning, video tape, written material), practical training (demonstrations performed by the trainer and practical exercises performed by the trainee) and evaluation of the operator's performance in the workplace.

Training Program Content: Topics to be covered in the initial training are listed in the standards.

Periodic Evaluation and Refresher Training: Sufficient evaluation and refresher training must be conducted to enable the employee to retain and use the knowledge and skills needed to operate the powered industrial truck safely. An evaluation of each operator's performance must be conducted at least every three years. Refresher training is required if: the operator is involved in an accident or near-miss incident; the operator has been observed operating the vehicle in an unsafe manner; the operator has been determined in an evaluation to need additional training; there are changes in the workplace that could affect safe operation of the truck; or the operator is assigned to a different type of truck.

Avoiding Duplicative Training: An employee who has received training and been found by an evaluation to be competent to perform the duties of an operator safely does not have to be retrained at specified intervals. However, all new operators must have their performance evaluated.

Certification: The employer must certify that the training and evaluation have been done.

Non-mandatory Appendix: OSHA has included a nonmandatory appendix to provide guidance to employers and employees on understanding the basic principles of stability.

Effective Dates: The effective date for the standards is March 1, 1999. The training and evaluation of employees who are hired before Dec. 1, 1999, must be completed by Dec. 1, 1999. The training and evaluation of employees hired after Dec. 1,1999, must be completed before the employee is assigned to operate a powered industrial truck.

Common Hazards: Hazards commonly associated with powered industrial trucks vary for different vehicle types, makes and models. For example, a counterbalanced high lift rider truck is more likely to be involved in a falling load accident than a motorized hand truck because the rider truck can lift a load much higher than a hand truck. The methods or means of preventing accidents and protecting an employee from injury also vary for different types of trucks. For example, to protect the driver of a rider truck in a tip over accident, the operator should be trained to remain in the operator's position and to lean away from the direction of fall to minimize the potential for injury.

Archive Notice - OSHA Archive

NOTICE: This is an OSHA Archive Document, and may no longer represent OSHA Policy. It is presented here as historical content, for research and review purposes only.

OSHA News Release - (Archived) Table of Contents

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