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OSHA Standard 29 CFR 1910.178: Powered Industrial Trucks

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The Risks

Powered industrial trucks, commonly called forklifts or lift trucks, are used in many industries, primarily to move materials. They can also be used to raise, lower, or remove large objects or a number of smaller objects on pallets or in boxes, crates, or other containers. Powered industrial trucks can either be ridden by the operator or controlled by a walking operator. Different types of powered industrial trucks present 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. Retail establishments often face greater challenges than other worksites in maintaining pedestrian safety. Beyond that, many workers can also be injured when (1) lift trucks are inadvertently driven off loading docks; (2) lifts fall between docks and an unsecured trailer; (3) they are struck by a lift truck; or (4) they fall while on elevated pallets and tines.

Major Provisions of the Standard

  • All new powered industrial trucks acquired and used by an employer shall meet the design and construction requirements for powered industrial trucks established in the “American National Standard for Powered Industrial Trucks, Part II, ANSI B56.1-1969,” except for vehicles intended primarily for earth moving or over-the-road hauling.
  • Approved trucks shall bear a label or some other identifying mark indicating approval by the testing laboratory. See paragraph (a)(7) of this section and paragraph 405 of “American National Standard for Powered Industrial Trucks, Part II, ANSI B56.1-1969.”
  • Modifications and additions which affect capacity and safe operation shall not be performed by the customer or user without manufacturers prior written approval. Capacity, operation, and maintenance instruction plates, tags, or decals shall be changed accordingly.
  • If the truck is equipped with front-end attachments other than factory installed attachments, the user shall request that the truck be marked to identify the attachments and show the approximate weight of the truck and attachment combination at maximum elevation with load laterally centered.
  • The user shall see that all nameplates and markings are in place and are maintained in a legible condition.
  • As used in this section, the term, approved truck or approved industrial truck means a truck that is listed or approved for fire safety purposes for the intended use by a nationally recognized testing laboratory, using nationally recognized testing standards.
  • Designations. For the purpose of this standard there are eleven different designations of industrial trucks or tractors as follows: D, DS, DY, E, ES, EE, EX, G, GS, LP, and LPS.
  • The D designated units are units similar to the G units except that they are diesel engine powered instead of gasoline engine powered.
  • The DS designated units are diesel powered units that are provided with additional safeguards to the exhaust, fuel and electrical systems. They may be used in some locations where a D unit may not be considered suitable.
  • The DY designated units are diesel powered units that have all the safeguards of the DS units and in addition do not have any electrical equipment including the ignition and are equipped with temperature limitation features.
  • The E designated units are electrically powered units that have minimum acceptable safeguards against inherent fire hazards.
  • The ES designated units are electrically powered units that, in addition to all the requirements for the E units, are provided with additional safeguards to the electrical system to prevent emission of hazardous sparks and to limit surface temperatures. They may be used in some locations where the use of an E unit may not be considered suitable.
  • The EE designated units are electrically powered units that have, in addition to all the requirements for the E and ES units, the electric motors and all other electrical equipment completely enclosed. In certain locations the EE unit may be used where the use of an E and ES unit may not be considered suitable.
  • The EX designated units are electrically powered units that differ from the E, ES, or EE units in that the electrical fittings and equipment are so designed, constructed and assembled that the units may be used in certain atmospheres containing flammable vapors or dusts.
  • The G designated units are gasoline powered units having minimum acceptable safeguards against inherent fire hazards.
  • The GS designated units are gasoline powered units that are provided with additional safeguards to the exhaust, fuel, and electrical systems. They may be used in some locations where the use of a G unit may not be considered suitable.
  • The LP designated unit is similar to the G unit except that liquefied petroleum gas is used for fuel instead of gasoline.
  • The LPS designated units are liquefied petroleum gas powered units that are provided with additional safeguards to the exhaust, fuel, and electrical systems. They may be used in some locations where the use of an LP unit may not be considered suitable.

Compliance Resources

An OSHA Alert entitled, Protect Workers Operating and Working Near Forklifts is available at https://tinyurl.com/ywp392xj. It contains a safety checklist that includes the use of seatbelts, adherence to rated loads and speed limits, and making sure loads are balanced and there is sufficient clearance when raising and loading materials. WMHS

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