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Powered Industrial Trucks, General Industry – Regulation 29 CFR 1910.178

Enforcement from October 2021-September 2022

Total citations: 1,875

Total inspections: 1,289

Total proposed penalties: $6,251,441

Most Frequently Violated OSHA Standard Ranking – Number 7

Industries most often violating the powered industrial trucks standard:

  • Manufacturing: 815 citations, 553 inspections, $2,509,776 in proposed penalties
  • Wholesale Trade: 313, 192, $992,527
  • Construction: 186, 161, $587,020
  • Transportation and Warehousing: 162, 149, $636,495
  • Retail Trade: 143, 104, $557,026
  • Administrative and Support and Waste Management and Remediation Services: 58, 39, $188,363
  • Other Services (except Public Administration): 23, 19, $84,076
  • Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services: 21, 14, $59,827
  • Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing and Hunting: 13, 11, $64,650
  • Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation: 13, 8, $39,886
  • Mining, Quarrying, and Oil and Gas Extraction: 9, 7, $51,300

About Powered Industrial Trucks

The term “powered industrial truck” (PIT) refers to any mobile power-propelled truck used to carry, push, pull, lift, stack or tier materials. The category includes forklifts, pallet trucks, rider trucks, fork

trucks or lift trucks, but not over-the-road haulage trucks and earth moving equipment – even if it has been modified to accept forks. PITs can be controlled by a walking operator or ridden.


There are many types of PITs. Each type presents different operating hazards. For example, a sit-down, counterbalanced high-lift rider truck is more likely than a motorized hand truck to be involved in a falling load accident, because the sit-down rider truck can lift a load much higher than a hand truck. Workplace type and conditions are also factors in hazards commonly associated with powered industrial trucks. For example, retail establishments often face greater challenges than other worksites in maintaining pedestrian safety. A worker can also be injured when:

  • A PIT is inadvertently driven off loading docks
  • A truck falls between docks and an unsecured trailer
  • A worker is struck by a PIT
  • A worker falls while on elevated pallets and tines.
  • Overloading or unbalanced loading causes the load to fall
  • The operator has an obstructed view in the direction of travel.
  • The vehicle is being operated at an excessive rate of speed.
  • The truck is operating in areas where there are narrow aisles.
  • The PIT is operating where there are employees in the vicinity of its path.
  • The operator has failed to ensure the wheels are properly blocked with wheel chocks.

Reducing Hazards

Determining the best way to protect workers from injury largely depends on the type of truck operated and the worksite where it is being used. OSHA provides an eTool1 that explains the types and fundamentals of different forklift classifications, including:

  • Class I: Electric motor rider trucks
  • Class II: Electric motor narrow aisle trucks
  • Class III: Electric motor hand trucks or hand/rider trucks
  • Class IV: Internal combustion engine trucks (solid/cushion tires)
  • Class V: Internal combustion engine trucks (pneumatic tires)
  • Class VI: Electric and internal combustion engine tractors
  • Class VII: Rough terrain forklift trucks
  • Class I: Electric motor rider trucks
  • Class II: Electric motor narrow aisle trucks
  • Class III: Electric motor hand trucks or hand/rider trucks
  • Class IV: Internal combustion engine trucks (solid/cushion tires)
  • Class V: Internal combustion engine trucks (pneumatic tires)
  • Class VI: Electric and internal combustion engine tractors
  • Class VII: Rough terrain forklift trucks

Employer Responsibilities

Only authorized personnel are allowed to operate a powered industrial truck. It is a violation of Federal law for anyone under 18 years of age to operate a forklift or anyone over 18 who is not properly trained and certified to do so. 29 CFR 1910.178 requires employers to 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. A performance test should be conducted to determine whether an employee can operate the assigned truck through the functions necessary to perform the required work should.

The employer must evaluate the potential operator on:

  • Operating ability.
  • Knowledge of the equipment.
  • Knowledge of daily checks.

Refresher training must be provided every three years. Interim training should be given if the employee is observed operating his or her powered industrial truck incorrectly.

If a PIT is found to be in need of repair, or is defective or unsafe in any way, it must be taken out of service until it has been restored to a safe operating condition by authorized personnel.

Employee Responsibilities

An employee must operate a PIT as trained and must keep the safety of co-workers in mind at all times. Additionally, each operator is required to be aware of the truck specifications on the nameplate and what they mean. If there is a special attachment, it must be listed on the nameplate.

Safety Measures for PIT Operators to Follow2

  • Use seatbelts if they are available
  • Report to your supervisor any damage or problems that occur to a forklift during your shift
  • Do not jump from an overturning, sit-down type forklift. Stay with the truck, holding on firmly and leaning in the opposite direction of the overturn
  • Exit from a stand-up type forklift with rear-entry access by stepping backward if a lateral tip over occurs
  • Use extreme caution on grades or ramps
  • On grades, tilt the load back and raise it only as far as needed to clear the road surface
  • Do not raise or lower the forks while the forklift is moving
  • Do not handle loads that are heavier than the weight capacity of the forklift
  • Operate the forklift at a speed that will permit it to be stopped safely
  • Slow down and sound the horn at cross aisles and other locations where vision is obstructed
  • Look toward the travel path and keep a clear view of it
  • Do not allow passengers to ride on forklift trucks unless a seat is provided
  • When dismounting from a forklift, set the parking brake, lower the forks or lifting carriage and neutralize the controls
  • Do not drive up to anyone standing in front of a bench or other fixed object
  • Do not use a forklift to elevate workers who are standing on the forks
  • Elevate a worker on a platform only when the vehicle is directly below the work area
  • Whenever a truck is used to elevate personnel, secure the elevating platform to the lifting carriage or forks of the forklift
  • Use a restraining means such as rails, chains, or a body belt with a lanyard or deceleration device for the worker(s) on the platform
  • Do not drive to another location with the work platform elevated WMHS




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