Regulations (Preambles to Final Rules) - Table of Contents Regulations (Preambles to Final Rules) - Table of Contents
• Record Type: Powered Industrial Truck Operator Training
• Section: 1
• Title: Section 1 - I. Background

I. Background

A. General Industry

On May 29, 1971 (36 FR 10466), OSHA adopted many existing Federal standards and national consensus standards as OSHA standards under Section 6(a) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act) (29 U.S.C. 655 et al.). Section 6(a) permitted OSHA to adopt these standards without rulemaking for a period of two years after the effective date of the OSH Act.

One of the consensus standards that was adopted under the Section 6(a) procedure was the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) B56.1-1969, Safety Standard for Powered Industrial Trucks. Among the provisions adopted from that consensus standard was the operator training requirement subsequently codified by OSHA at 29 CFR 1910.178(l). That requirement states:

"Only trained and authorized operators shall be permitted to operate a powered industrial truck. Methods shall be devised to train operators in the safe operation of powered industrial trucks.

In that consensus standard, a powered industrial truck is defined as a mobile, power-driven vehicle used to carry, push, pull, lift, stack, or tier material. Vehicles that were commonly referred to as high lift trucks, counterbalanced trucks, cantilever trucks, rider trucks, forklift trucks; high lift platform trucks; low lift trucks, low lift platform trucks; motorized hand trucks, pallet trucks; narrow aisle rider trucks, straddle trucks; reach rider trucks; single side loader rider trucks; high lift order picker rider trucks; motorized hand/rider trucks; or counterbalanced front/side loader lift trucks (1) are included. Vehicles used for earth moving or over-the-road haulage are excluded from the scope of the consensus standard, and consequently from coverage by the OSHA standard.

B. Shipyards and Marine Cargo Handling

In 1958, Congress amended the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act (LHWCA) (33 U.S.C. 901 et seq.) to provide maritime employees with a safe work environment. The amendments (Pub. L. 85-742, 72 Stat. 835) required employers covered by the LHWCA to "furnish, maintain and use" equipment and to establish safe working conditions in accordance with regulations promulgated by the Secretary of Labor. Two years later, the Bureau of Labor Standards issued the first set of safety and health regulations for shipyards as parts 6, 7, and 8, and longshoring activities as 29 CFR part 9 (25 FR 1565, February 20, 1960). However, the longshoring regulations only covered those activities taking place aboard vessels.

As discussed earlier, the OSH Act authorized the Secretary of Labor to adopt established Federal standards issued under other statutes, including the LHWCA, as occupational safety and health standards. Accordingly, the Secretary adopted the existing shipyards and longshoring regulations (39 FR 22074, June 19, 1974). These regulations are at 29 CFR part 1915 for shipyards and 29 CFR part 1918 for longshoring. Because the OSH Act comprehensively covers all private employments, the longshoring standards also were applied to shoreside cargo handling operations (i.e., marine terminal operations). (See 29 CFR 1910.16.) OSHA's requirements for using mechanically powered vehicles aboard vessels were codified at § 1918.97, which includes a general requirement for the training of all vehicle operators.

In addition, in accordance with established policy codified at 29 CFR 1910.5(c)(2), OSHA has applied its general industry standards to shoreside activities not covered by its older longshoring rules. Under section 1910.5(c)(2), a general industry standard covering a hazardous condition applies to shoreside activities not covered by a specific standard addressing that hazard. Shipyards are covered by the general industry standard.

On July 5, 1983 (48 FR 30886), OSHA published its final standard for Marine Terminals (29 CFR part 1917). This rule was intended to further address the shoreside segment of marine cargo handling. Section 1917.27, Personnel, states:

(a) Qualifications of machinery operators.

(1) Only those employees determined by the employer to be competent by reason of training or experience, and who understand the signs, notices and operating instructions and are familiar with the signal code in use shall be permitted to operate a crane, winch or other power operated cargo handling apparatus, or any power operated vehicle, or give signals to the operator of any hoisting apparatus.

Exception: Employees being trained and supervised by a designated person may operate such machinery and give signals to operators during training.

The marine terminals standard also includes requirements for powered industrial trucks at §1917.43, Powered industrial trucks. However, these requirements are for operating, maintaining, and outfitting these vehicles and do not expand on the training requirements found at §1917.27.

On July 25, 1997, OSHA published in the Federal Register (62 FR 40147) final rules revising the marine terminals standard (29 CFR part 1917) and the longshoring standard (29 CFR part 1918). Those final rules left to this rulemaking the issue of improving the training requirements for powered industrial truck operators in the marine cargo handling industries. Accordingly, the final rule being published today includes requirements for the training of powered industrial truck operators in shipyards, longshoring operations, and marine terminals to ensure that all covered employees operating such vehicles have improved protection.

C. Construction

In 1969, Congress amended the Contract Work Hours Standards Act (CWHSA) (40 U.S.C. 327 et seq.) by adding a new section 107 (40 U.S.C. 333) to provide employees in the construction industry with a safer work environment and to reduce the frequency and severity of construction accidents and injuries. The amendment, commonly known as the Construction Safety Act (CSA) (Pub. L. 91-54; August 9, 1969), significantly strengthened employee protection by providing for the adoption of occupational safety and health standards for employees of the building trades and construction industry working on Federally financed or Federally assisted construction projects. Accordingly, the Secretary of Labor issued safety and health regulations for construction at 29 CFR part 1518 (36 FR 7340, April 17, 1971) pursuant to section 107 of the CWHSA.

As noted earlier, the OSH Act authorized the Secretary of Labor to adopt existing Federal standards issued under other statutes as occupational safety and health standards. Accordingly, in 1971, the Secretary of Labor adopted the standards that had been issued under the CWHSA at 29 CFR 1518 as OSHA construction standards. These standards were redesignated as part 1926 on December 30, 1971 (36 FR 25232). The provisions pertaining to powered industrial trucks used in construction are contained at § 1926.602(c). Paragraph 1926.602(c)(1)(vi) states:

(vi) All industrial trucks in use shall meet the applicable requirements of design, construction, stability, inspection, testing, maintenance, and operation, as defined in American National Standards Institute B56.1-1969, Safety Standards for Powered Industrial Trucks.

Therefore, by incorporating by reference the same ANSI standard that was the source document for 29 CFR 1910.178, this provision imposes the identical truck operator training requirements on the construction industry as they apply to general industry.

D. Development of Proposal

Since promulgation of the OSHA standards for powered industrial trucks in 1971, interested persons have requested that OSHA improve its training requirements for powered industrial truck operators. In the interval since 1971, the ASME B56.1 Committee has also substantially upgraded its training provisions for powered industrial truck operators.

On March 15, 1988, the Industrial Truck Association (ITA) petitioned OSHA to revise its standard for the training of powered industrial truck operators (Ex. 3-2). The petition contained suggested language for a proposed requirement and a model operator training program that would meet the ITA-recommended requirement. OSHA responded to the petition on April 8, 1988, stating that it would revise the OSHA powered industrial truck operator training requirements when it completed work on other priority rulemaking projects.

Congress has expressed a special interest in this rulemaking. A resolution urging OSHA to revise its regulations on powered industrial truck operator training was introduced in the Senate during the 103rd Congress. Senate Concurrent Resolution 17 had 55 cosponsors and broad bipartisan support. Its companion measure in the House of Representatives, H. Con. Res. 92, had 236 cosponsors from both parties. No formal vote was ever taken on either resolution, however.

On March 14, 1995, OSHA published in the Federal Register (60 FR 13782) a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) to revise the training requirement of the general industry standard for powered industrial trucks (§ 1910.178(l)). This notice also proposed to add training requirements for powered industrial truck operators in the shipyard industry (1915.120(a)), marine terminal industry (1917.43(i)), and the longshoring industry (1918.77(a)).

OSHA provided copies of a draft of the March 14, 1995, Federal Register NPRM to the Advisory Committee on Construction Safety and Health (ACCSH) at the Committee's meetings on February 28 and March 1, 1995. The Committee advised OSHA that it would like additional time to study the proposal and would finalize its recommendations by its next meeting on May 25-26, 1995. Because ACCSH had provided no recommendations or other information, OSHA decided to delay proposing the revision of the training requirements for powered industrial truck operators in the construction industry until the Committee had concluded its deliberations.

ACCSH met on May 25-26, 1995, at which time the Committee prepared its comments and recommendations. The Committee recommended that OSHA propose somewhat different requirements for powered industrial truck operator training for construction workers than the Agency had proposed for general industry, longshoring, shipyards, and marine terminals. OSHA reviewed the ACCSH recommendations and determined that these changes might be appropriate for other industries as well. OSHA decided that the most effective way to fully consider the Committee's recommendations was to raise a series of issues in the preamble of the proposed training requirements for construction and to invite public comment.

On Jan. 30, 1996, OSHA published an NPRM in the Federal Register (61 FR 3094) proposing to adopt as a new paragraph 1926.602(d) essentially the same training requirements for powered industrial truck operators in the construction industry as had been proposed for general industry and the shipyard and marine cargo handling industries. OSHA also published in that notice the following four issues that responded to the ACCSH recommendations:

1. In the construction industry, should an employer be allowed to accept the certification of training by a third party such as a union, manufacturer, consultant, or other private or public organization? Since OSHA does not accredit certifiers, what criteria should be used to establish their credibility?

2. What type of testing should be conducted during initial training to judge the competency of the trainee (performance testing and oral and/or written tests)?

A. If tests are administered, what subjects should be tested, and what methods, if any, should be used to judge that the tests are reliable and address the subject matter adequately?

B. What, if any, should be the acceptable pass/fail requirement for the tests?

3. Are some of the listed training subjects not needed?

4. Should an employee receive refresher or remedial training only if operating a vehicle unsafely or if involved in an accident? Is there any fixed operator retraining frequency suitable for the construction industry?

In a companion Federal Register notice (61 FR 3092), OSHA announced that a public hearing would be held. The hearing was to cover all industry sectors. That notice also advised the public that the issues raised in the construction notice should be considered for general industry and the shipyard and marine cargo handling industries and invited public comment. The hearing was held on April 30 through May 2, 1996.

There were 109 commenters who responded to the proposals outlined above and 22 participants at the public hearing. The presiding Administrative Law Judge allowed 60 days for post-hearing comments and an additional 30 days for post-hearing briefs. All comments, transcripts, and other evidence have been placed in the rulemaking record and are available for public inspection and copying. The rulemaking record was closed and certified as complete and final by the Administrative Law Judge on June 1, 1998. In preparing these final rules, OSHA has considered the entire rulemaking record and has made changes to the general industry, construction, shipyard, and marine cargo handling industries standards, as appropriate, based on the comments, testimony, and other evidence received.

As the following discussion demonstrates, OSHA concludes that upgrading the training requirements for powered industrial truck operators will substantially reduce the significant risk of death and injury caused by the unsafe operation of powered industrial trucks driven by untrained or inadequately trained operators.

E. Updated Consensus Standard

Since promulgation of the OSHA safety and health standards in 1971, the consensus standard (ANSI B56.1-1969) (now ASME B56.1) on which the general industry powered industrial truck standard was based has undergone four complete revisions (dated 1975, 1983, 1988, and 1993). The current edition standard, ASME B56.1-1993 (Ex. 3-1), addresses truck operator training as follows.

4.19   Operator Training

4.19.1   Personnel who have not been trained to operate powered industrial trucks may operate a truck for the purposes of training only, and only under the direct supervision of the trainer. This training should be conducted in an area away from other trucks, obstacles, and pedestrians.

4.19.2   The operator training program should include the user's policies for the site where the trainee will operate the truck, the operating conditions for that location, and the specific truck the trainee will operate. The training program shall be presented to all new operators regardless of previous experience.

4.19.3   The training program shall inform the trainee that:

(a) The primary responsibility of the operator is to use the powered industrial truck safely following the instructions given in the training program.

(b) Unsafe or improper operation of a powered industrial truck can result in: death or serious injury to the operator or others; damage to the powered industrial truck or other property.

4.19.4   The training program shall emphasize safe and proper operation to avoid injury to the operator and others and prevent property damage, and shall cover the following areas:

(a) Fundamentals of the powered industrial truck(s) the trainee will operate, including:

(1) characteristics of the powered industrial truck(s), including variations between trucks in the workplace;

(2) similarities to and differences from automobiles;

(3) significance of nameplate data, including rated capacity, warnings, and instructions affixed to the truck;

(4) operating instructions and warnings in the operating manual for the truck, and instructions for inspection and maintenance to be performed by the operator;

(5) type of motive power and its characteristics;

(6) method of steering;

(7) braking method and characteristics, with and without load;

(8) visibility, with and without load, forward and reverse;

(9) load handling capacity, weight and load center;

(10) stability characteristics with and without load, with and without attachments;

(11) controls -- location, function, method of operation, identification of symbols;

(12) load handling capabilities; forks, attachments;

(13) fueling and battery charging;

(14) guards and protective devices for the specific type of truck;

(15) other characteristics of the specific industrial truck.

(b) Operating environment and its effect on truck operation, including:

(1) floor or ground conditions including temporary conditions;

(2) ramps and inclines, with and without load;

(3) trailers, railcars, and dockboards (including the use of wheel chocks, jacks, and other securing devices);

(4) fueling and battery charging facilities;

(5) the use of "classified" trucks in areas classified as hazardous due to risk of fire or explosion, as defined in ANSI/NFPA 505;

(6) narrow aisles, doorways, overhead wires and piping, and other areas of limited clearance;

(7) areas where the truck may be operated near other powered industrial trucks, other vehicles, or pedestrians;

(8) use and capacity of elevators;

(9) operation near edge of dock or edge of improved surface;

(10) other special operating conditions and hazards which may be encountered.

(c) Operation of the powered industrial truck, including:

(1) proper preshift inspection and approved method for removing from service a truck which is in need of repair;

(2) load handling techniques, lifting, lowering, picking up, placing, tilting;

(3) traveling, with and without loads; turning corners;

(4) parking and shutdown procedures;

(5) other special operating conditions for the specific application.

(d) Operating safety rules and practices, including:

(1) provisions of this Standard in Sections 5.1 to 5.4 addressing operating safety rules and practices;

(2) provisions of this Standard in Section 5.5 addressing care of the truck;

(3) other rules, regulations, or practices specified by the employer at the location where the powered industrial truck will be used.

(e) Operational training practice, including;

(1) if feasible, practice in the operation of powered industrial trucks shall be conducted in an area separate from other workplace activities and personnel;

(2) training practice shall be conducted under the supervision of the trainer;

(3) training practice shall include the actual operation or simulated performance of all operating tasks such as load handling, maneuvering, traveling, stopping, starting, and other activities under the conditions which will be encountered in the use of the truck.

4.19.5   Testing, Retraining, and Enforcement

(a) During training, performance and oral and/or written tests shall be given by the employer to measure the skill and knowledge of the operator in meeting the requirements of the Standard. Employers shall establish a pass/fail requirement for such tests. Employers may delegate such testing to others but shall remain responsible for the testing. Appropriate records shall be kept.

(b) Operators shall be retrained when new equipment is introduced, existing equipment is modified, operating conditions change, or an operator's performance is unsatisfactory.

(c) The user shall be responsible for enforcing the safe use of the powered industrial truck according to the provisions of this Standard.

Note: Information on operator training is available from such sources as powered industrial truck manufacturers, government agencies dealing with employee safety, trade organizations of users of powered industrial trucks, public and private organizations, and safety consultants.

Since 1971, the national consensus committee has adopted other volumes (2) for specific types of vehicles that fall within the broad definition of a powered industrial truck. Supplementary volumes have been developed and adopted for: guided industrial vehicles; rough terrain forklift trucks; industrial crane trucks; personnel and burden carriers; operator controlled industrial tow tractors; and manually propelled high lift industrial trucks. The training provisions OSHA is adopting are performance-oriented and could be applied to operator training for all types of industrial trucks. However, this final rule covers only those types of powered industrial trucks that fall within the scope of 29 CFR 1910.178(a) for general industry, construction, and shipyards. That scope includes some types of powered industrial trucks that have supplementary ASME volumes, such as rough terrain forklift trucks, but does not include earth moving equipment or vehicles for over-the-road haulage, for which ASME has also developed specific volumes.



Footnote (1) The use of a single characteristic to describe a truck, such as "high lift" truck, does not fully describe a single type of truck but rather defines a group of different trucks that have that same characteristic. A given truck can only be accurately described by referring to all of its characteristics. For example, the common type of truck used in a warehouse is a high lift, counterbalanced, sit-down rider truck. (Back to Text)



Footnote (2)The national consensus committees call the standards for different pieces of equipment "volumes" and all of the volumes produced by the committee the "standard." (Back to Text)


[63 FR 66237, Dec. 1, 1998]


Regulations (Preambles to Final Rules) - Table of Contents Regulations (Preambles to Final Rules) - Table of Contents