Regulations (Preambles to Final Rules) - Table of Contents Regulations (Preambles to Final Rules) - Table of Contents
• Record Type: Powered Industrial Truck Operator Training
• Section: 7
• Title: Section 7 - VII. The Issues

VII. The Issues

In the January 30, 1996, Federal Register notices, 61 FR 3092 and 3094, OSHA asked for comment on four specific issues as well as any other relevant issues. These four issues were developed by OSHA after input from the Advisory Committee on Construction Safety and Health (ACCSH). The following is a restatement of each issue, a summary of the comments and hearing testimony received, and the Agency's decision on each issue.

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

OSHA specified in the proposals that all training must be conducted by a designated person. In those proposals, OSHA defined a designated person as one who has the requisite knowledge, training, and experience to train powered industrial truck operators and judge their competency. (See proposed §1910.178(l)(2)(iii) and the corresponding provisions of the other proposed standards.)(4) OSHA did not, however, specify that the training must be conducted by the employer, a supervisor, or any other particular person, but only that the training be conducted by a person who is qualified to do so.

There were 50 commenters who addressed this issue. (See Exs. 7-11, 7-15, 7-29, 7-38, 7-39, 7-48, 7-50, 7-51, 7-56, 7-64, 7-65, 7-70, 11-1, 11-3, 11-5, 11-6, 11-8, 11-9, 11-10, 11-15, 11-16, 11-18, 11-19, 11-24, 11-25, 11-28, 11-29, 11-31, 11-33, 11-34, 11-36, 11-37, 11-39, 11-40, 11-43, 11-46, Tr. pp. 20, 25-27, 52, 83, 92, 94, 104, 137, 153, 324, 333, 340-341, 384-386, 422.) These participants all agreed that trainers must have basic knowledge of training methods and/or powered industrial truck operations that enables them to conduct the training of these vehicle operators. There was, however, one comment (Ex. 7-11) that suggested specific requirements for a qualified trainer. This commenter stated:

* * * A competency standard for the "designated person" [should] be incorporated in the proposed rule change. Such a competency standard * * * could include, but would not be limited to:

1. Experienced and skilled in the safe and efficient operation of a powered industrial truck(s).

2. Is familiar with, comprehends, understands and employs applicable OSHA codes and all consensus standards as they apply to worker safety and economic impact on the employer.

3. Is skilled and practiced in the training of adults or has the ability, knowledge and desire to attain such skills.

Some commenters recommended that trainers be accredited by OSHA or have some other professional certification (see Exs. 7-29, 7-56, 7-64, 7-73, 11-5, 11-40, Tr. p. 326). One of these commenters (Ex. 11-5) stated:

The ASSE believes it is appropriate for OSHA and the ACCSH to create general qualification guidelines when establishing the criteria for lift truck trainers. However, we strongly recommend that OSHA not get into the business of "certifying" these trainers. The society believes that OSHA does not have the resources to undertake such an endeavor, and the private sector professional safety and health organizations have been certifying qualified safety and health professionals for decades. To have OSHA take on this responsibility would be equivalent to a "reinventing the wheel". Certified Safety Professionals (CSPs), as an example, could be recognized as a level of expertise appropriate to develop/ implement this type of training.

OSHA has decided not to include trainer accreditation requirements in the final rule for several reasons. First, OSHA believes that the training criteria are sufficiently detailed so that employers and professional trainers who follow the criteria will provide adequate training. Second, a large number of trainers and individual employers (potentially in the tens of thousands) would need to be accredited, which would overwhelm OSHA's resources. Finally, many small businesses choose to conduct their own training, and requiring them to become accredited to do so would be unnecessarily burdensome.

Since the proposal, OSHA has changed the language of the final rule to clarify that the employer does not need to administer the training but may have it provided by an outside training provider. The employer may need to provide additional training on site-specific or truck-specific matters. OSHA believes that this clarification of the language of the final rule responds to the suggestions of ACCSH and the needs of the construction industry. In addition, as a style change the term "designated" has been omitted. Instead "person" is used followed by the same qualifications that had been required of "designated person."

2. What type of testing should be conducted during initial training to judge the trainee's competency (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?

OSHA proposed that operators must successfully complete their training and be evaluated. OSHA believes that evaluation is an essential element of any training program. Evaluation provides a measure not only of the effectiveness of the training but also the trainees' ability to understand the need for and the important elements of the training. Evaluation also allows the trainer to reemphasize the most important points of the training.

Most of the 32 participants who commented on this issue agreed that some evaluation is necessary when training is conducted. (See Exs. 11-1, 11-3, 11-5, 11-8, 11-10, 11-18, 11-19, 11-24, 11-25, 11-28, 11-30, 11-33, 11-34, 11-36, 11-37, 11-39, 11-40, 11-41, 11-46, Tr. pp. 21, 35, 53, 77, 99, 130, 202, 254, 309, 326, 342, 385, 400.) There was general agreement on the need to conduct written as well as practical testing during the training.

One commenter (Ex. 11-10), in response to the question about written and performance testing, stated:

API [American Petroleum Institute] feels that the current proposed language in paragraph (5)(i) of the general industry standard adequately addresses any concerns of testing during initial training. Specific requirements for how to test operators would take away the flexibility allowed by the currently proposed language, convert the rule to a specification standard, and greatly increase the information collection burden without necessarily improving the safety performance of operators.

The Advisory Committee on Construction Safety and Health (ACCSH) recommended that OSHA establish a pass/fail requirement for written tests. Some commenters stated that OSHA should specify a passing percentage (such as 70 to 85 percent correct answers)(see Exs. 7-52, 11-19). On the other hand, six commenters generally supported the need for the trainee to perform all the necessary procedures correctly during practical tests. (See Exs. 11-8 and 11-19, Tr. pp. 78, 132, 427, 434.) Their concerns were that if the trainee cannot operate the vehicle safely when that trainee knows that an evaluation is being conducted, there is no guarantee that the trainee will perform the operation correctly under less controlled circumstances. Other commenters stated that OSHA should leave the evaluation of the trainees' grasp of the classroom instruction to the trainer (Exs. 11- 34, 11-36).

OSHA has concluded, as proposed, that the evaluation of the classroom part of the training should be left to the trainer. There are many ways to evaluate whether material has been learned, and this evaluation can be accomplished in a number of ways.

Consequently, OSHA has retained a performance-oriented approach that allows the employer to determine that the employee has successfully completed the training, including the classroom and practical training/demonstration elements. The employer may demonstrate this for the classroom element based on evidence that the employee has successfully completed a written or oral test, or by other appropriate means, such as an evaluation by the instructor. OSHA agrees with these comments that successful completion of the practical training requires the trainee to perform all required operations safely.

OSHA concurs with those commenters who recognize the need for both more formal and practical testing and evaluation. If training is conducted without the means to evaluate its effectiveness, there is no way to ensure that the material was adequately presented, that the trainee understood the material, and that the trainee will use the training when operating the vehicle.

OSHA does not believe, however, that it is possible, given the variety of powered industrial trucks, workplace conditions, employee backgrounds, and types of effective training, to specify standardized tests or methods, or to specify passing grades. Although ACCSH did recommend that OSHA specify passing grades, OSHA believes that, by listing topics and requiring demonstrations of proficiency and triennial evaluations, the rule will achieve the goal envisioned by ACCSH for effective training.

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

In developing this final rule, OSHA took its lead from the national consensus standard, ASME B56.1-1993, which contains a listing of those subject areas that the consensus committee felt were important for the trainee to know to successfully operate a powered industrial truck. These subjects were written in general terms so that the training program could be tailored to fit the employer's particular circumstances. The OSHA rule relies on ASME B56.1 and covers essentially the same subject areas.

There were 43 comments (Exs. 7-14, 7-16, 7-21, 7-22, 7-25, 7-28, 7-34, 7-39, 7-40, 7-47, 7-51, 7-53, 7-63, 7-64, 11-3, 11-5, 11-10, 11-11, 11-13, 11-15, 11-19, 11-25, 11-28, 11-29, 11-32, 11-33, 11-34, 11-36, 11-37, 11-38, 11-39, 11-43, 11-45, 11-46, 28, 29, 31, Tr. pp. 27, 40, 43, 79, 198, 255, 400) on the various subjects that were proposed and some additional subjects recommended by some commenters. These commenters, for the most part, supported the topics contained in OSHA's proposal.

For example, one commenter (Ex. 7-28) stated:

NAWGA/IFDA appreciates the concerns that have led OSHA to propose this rule, and believes that benefits can flow to companies and their workers through the dissemination of guidance on appropriate training for employees who operate powered industrial trucks. While we have comments and suggestions regarding certain aspects of the proposal's requirements, our organization believes that many of the training elements noted in the rule are appropriate topics to be covered in the instruction provided to powered industrial truck operators.

There were several suggestions for improving the language of the listed items. ACCSH suggested that most of the topics OSHA included were appropriate but urged OSHA to improve the wording that addresses the similarities to and differences from the automobile. In the final rule, OSHA has done so. (See discussion below.) OSHA has reviewed each comment and suggested change and has used those changes to improve the final rule, as discussed below.

4. Should an employee receive refresher or remedial training only if operating a vehicle unsafely or if involved in an accident? Is a one-year interval too frequent for retraining or recertification?

In the proposals that OSHA published in the Federal Register on March 14, 1995 and January 30, 1996, the Agency proposed that the employer conduct an evaluation of each powered industrial truck operator's performance at least annually to ensure the operator's continued safe operation of the vehicle(s) in the workplace. However, OSHA did not specify a fixed period for refresher training and evaluation but instead proposed that refresher training be provided when there is reason to believe that there has been unsafe operation, when an accident or near miss occurs, when an evaluation indicates that the operator is not capable of performing the assigned duties, or when a new type of truck has been introduced into the workplace.

Some commenters opposed the requirement for refresher training and evaluation unless there was documented evidence of employee misconduct or the training/evaluation was provided at a set interval. (See Exs. 7-13, 7-16, 7-20, 7-45, and 7-58.) Other commenters suggested that OSHA require refresher training on a regular basis, for example at three year intervals. For example, one commenter (Ex. 7-16) stated:

Refresher training should have an established time frame to ensure operators will be given up-to-date information on safe powered industrial truck operation. This supports the goal of OSHA to prevent the first accident and not serve as the source of consolation for the first victim. Refresher training should be required at least every three years, and sooner if there is just cause, as set forth by the proposed revision.

ACCSH commented that yearly retraining and evaluation are not as useful in the construction industry as other industries because relatively few employees remain with the same employer for an entire year. This also is the case for the longshoring industry.

OSHA has structured the final rule to address these commenters' concerns. First, the rule stipulates no fixed period for refresher training and evaluation; instead, such training is triggered when the triennial evaluation or an incident or workplace change indicates that it is necessary. OSHA concludes that this performance approach will ensure that the necessary refresher training occurs but does so in a way that is not overly burdensome.

Second, by requiring formal evaluations of operators' proficiency only at three year intervals, OSHA is addressing ACCSH's concerns and the concerns of employers in other industries with high turnover rates. If an employee stays less than three years with the same employer, no periodic evaluation is required (although the evaluation associated with initial training and any refresher training would be required). In addition, when an employee changes jobs, the final rule allows the employer to evaluate the employee's previous training adequacy and appropriateness to determine that the employee can do the job safely. As discussed below, duplicative training would not be required in this situation.



Footnote (4) Throughout this preamble, OSHA uses the reference to the general industry standard, §1910.178, when discussing this final rule. Because the provisions of the final rule also apply to construction, shipyards, marine terminals, and longshoring, the discussion applies equally to these other sections. (Back to Text)


[63 FR 66237, Dec. 1, 1998]


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