The Finer Points of Powered Industrial Truck Safety
May 2008 ASSE San Francisco Chapter Meeting
Presented by Bob Jasinski
LiftSafe Inc. Forklift Safety Training
What is a Powered Industrial Truck?
According to OSHA:
Any power–propelled truck used to carry, push,
pull, lift, stack, or tier materials. Can be ridden or
controlled by a walking operator. Does not include
farm or earthmoving equipment.
Powered Industrial Trucks are
Categorized by Class (ITA)
Class 1- Electric Counterbalanced
Class 2- Electric Narrow Aisle
Class 3 -Powered Walk Behinds
Class 4 – Counterbalanced, Internal Combustion, Cushion Tires, Gas,
LPG, Diesel Powered
Class 5 – Counterbalanced, Internal Combustion, Pneumatic Tires, Gas,
LPG, Diesel Powered
Class 6 – Tow Tractors - Internal Combustion, Gas, LPG, Diesel Powered
Class 7 – Rough Terrain - Internal Combustion, Gas, LPG, Diesel Powered
• OSHA 1910.178 covers operations, design,
• CalOSHA: Title 8, GISO 3649-3668; 3650 covers
operating rules, GISO 3668 covers training
• ANSI B56.1, Class 1-5 Warehouse Forklifts
• ANSI B56.9 Class 6 Tug Tractors
• ANSI B56.6 Class 7 Rough Terrain Forklifts
Safety Considerations of Powered
Industrial Truck Use
• Operator training. Must be equipment and site specific
• Loading dock hazards, trailer and railcar loading
• Warehouse design and housekeeping. Operating aisles, floors
and storage systems
• Machine ergonomics
• Fuel Storage and handling. Includes lead acid batteries, diesel,
LPG and gasoline
• Emissions created by the operation of the truck, and
recharging of batteries
• Equipment Maintenance
• Hazardous atmospheres and locations. Fire or explosion of
combustibles caused by improper application and/or improper
use of the truck.
Statistical Data con’t
Old Law Vs: New Law
• Old law: “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.”
• New law: “ The employer shall ensure that each
powered industrial truck operator is competent to
operate a powered industrial truck safely, as
demonstrated by the successful completion of the
training and evaluation specified in this section.
Training shall consist of a combination of formal
instruction…and evaluation of the operator’s
performance in the workplace.”
• Training in the general hazards associated with lift truck use as
well as the specific hazards of the particular truck he or she will
operate. Examples include vehicle capacity, stability, load
centers, attachment adaptation, pre-shift inspections,
• The specific hazards of the workplace, including surface
conditions, load composition,load manipulation, pedestrian
traffic, narrow aisles, hazardous (flammable) locations, ramp
operation, truck trailer operation at loading docks etc.
• Must be done on-site, in the workplace, on the same forklift
he/she will be using to do their job or one equipped just like it
• Operator must pass driving evaluation that demonstrates driver
proficiency in truck operation that duplicates how the truck will
be used in the workplace. Typically this includes picking up
and placing loads, traveling with loads, passing through blind
intersections, loading dock and/or ramp operation; whatever
applies to normal use in the workplace.
Refresher Training and Evaluation
Refresher training and evaluation is required under the
• Operator is observed operating in an unsafe manner
• Operator is involved in an accident or near-miss
• Operator fails an evaluation
• Operator is assigned to operate a different type of
• A condition in the workplace changes that could
affect safe operation of the truck
• At least once every 3 years
Written documentation must include:
• Name of the operator
• Date of training
• Date of evaluation
• Identity of the person(s) doing the training and
Loading Dock Safety
• Trailers/Railcars must be
• Floors must be checked
Loading Dock Safety cont.
plates must be used
• Jacks must be placed
under spotted trailers
Forklift Accidents – Early departures
Warehouse Design and Housekeeping
• Forklift aisles must be clearly defined
and pedestrian traffic kept away
• Running over a loose object could
cause the truck to tip or send the object
flying towards a pedestrian
• Mirrors at intersections help
• Pedestrians must be kept away from lift
operations where objects could fall and
Warehouse Design and Housekeeping cont.
•The interface of the rack system and the
forklift is important to ensure operator
safety. Rack load beams set at a height
that allows the beam to enter the
operator’s compartment while backing
can crush an operator.
• Operation in coolers and freezers
presents a low temperature exposure
hazard to the operator and
equipment, and must be addressed in
both design and use to protect the
worker and ensure proper equipment
Warehouse Design and Housekeeping cont.
• Storage methods need to be well
planned, and thought be given to the
proper placement of loads.
• Long loads such as pipe or lumber
that could extend out and impale an
operator or pedestrian must be
placed in a rack or location that
minimizes or eliminates the hazard.
• Bulk stacking of cube shaped loads
makes good use of space but also
significantly limits visibility.
• Good design must be comfortable, intuitive, non
fatiguing and promote good visibility
Fuel Storage and Handling
•Storage and handling must be
according to "NFPA Liquids
Code“ or "NFPA Storage and
Handling of Liquefied Petroleum
•LPG is always under pressure
and subjects the employee to
hazards during the refueling
procedure unlike liquid fuels.
•PPE such as leather gloves and
•Any liquid fuel spills such as
those that could occur with
gasoline or diesel, must be wiped
up completely and fuel caps
replaced prior to any restart of
Battery Charging/Changing Areas
Hoist for lifting
battery from truck
change out system
with battery and
Battery lifting charger stands
Battery Charging/Changing Areas cont.
Overhead Crane changing system with battery wash rack
• Unclassified – General storage
• Class I – Locations which flammable gases or vapors are or may be
present in the air in quantities sufficient to produce explosive or
• Class II – Locations which are hazardous because of the presence of
• Class III – Locations where easily ignitable fibers or flyings are present
but not likely to be in suspension in quantities sufficient to produce
• Trucks rated D, E, G, and LP are rated for use only in non-hazardous,
• Trucks rated DY, DS, EE, ES, EX, GS, and LPS are designed for use in
EX (explosion proof) Walk Behind Forklift
• Internal combustion engine powered industrial trucks produce emission
concentrations that can cause injury or death to employees
• OSHA addresses this concern by mandates that concentration levels of
carbon monoxide gas shall not exceed the levels specified in 1910.1000
which limits exposure to 50 PPM
• Only electric forklifts should be used in enclosed spaces such as
freezers, coolers and indoor operations.
• Best practice would dictate that internal combustion trucks are only
used in out door applications.
• While it is true that electric trucks are zero emission vehicles while in
use, the lead acid batteries that provide power do emit hydrogen,
oxygen, and very small quantities of sulfuric acid vapor while being
• Battery charging areas must be located in an area with adequate
ventilation so that hydrogen generation during the charging process
does not build up to combustible levels, considered to be 4% or above.
Hydrogen detectors should be installed in areas where hydrogen
buildup is possible.
• Equipment maintenance exposes the worker to hazards from chemical
used for cleaning purposes, as well as other issues. OSHA addresses
these concerns in 1910.178 (q). Excerpts pertaining to industrial
hygiene are as follows.
• Repairs to the fuel and ignition systems of industrial trucks, which
involve fire hazards, must be conducted only in locations designated
for such repairs. Any vehicle that emits hazardous sparks or flames
from the exhaust system must immediately be removed from service
and not returned to service until the cause has been eliminated.
• When the temperature of any part of any truck is found to be in excess
of its normal operating temperature, thus creating a hazardous
condition, the vehicle must be removed from service and not returned
to service until the cause has been eliminated.
• Industrial trucks must be kept in a clean condition, free of lint, excess
oil and grease. Noncombustible agents should be used for cleaning
trucks. Only solvents with a flash point above 100 degrees F. may be
used for cleaning. Precautions regarding toxicity, ventilation and fire
hazard must be appropriate for the agent or solvent used.
• Operators must be aware of the general hazards
associated with forklift use and the specific hazards that
exist in their workplace.
• Operators must be trained in the specific forklift type they
will be expected to operate and demonstrate driver
proficiency on the equipment, in the workplace.
• Equipment and storage systems must be designed to
work together. Each must be carefully selected and/or
designed to fit the application
• An efficient, well planned, materials handling system
provides for a clean, safe and productive work