Forklift & Powered Industrial Truck Safety

Using forklifts to safely move material is a significant safety concern. During the movement of products and materials there are numerous opportunities for personal injury and property damage caused by improper forklift operations or safety procedures. Safety programs for forklifts, powered industrial tucks, hoists & lifting gear are essential.

Forklift Safety Training

Step 1 Review Information

OSHA Standard 1910.178 and equipment manufacturer's operator and maintenance manuals

Step 2 Review Information

Operators - Anyone who is expected to ever operate a forklift or other "Powered Industrial Truck" such as manlifts, pallett jacks, etc., must be training and certified as an operator.

Equipment - There are many different types of powered industrial trucks. Typically, these types of vehicles are known as forklifts or lift trucks. If your employees will be expected to operate several different types of powered industrial trucks, then training is required on the unique handling characteristics of the vehicles.

Step 3 - Define Training Methods

OSHA required that forklift training be conducted by a competent person. Your company decides the level of competency. The trainer must know the equipment, be able to conduct training and evaluate trainee performance. Training must consist of a combination of formal instruction and practical training.

Formal instruction may include lectures, conferences, classroom discussions, demonstrations, and written or oral tests. To make the training more understandable to the employee, consider using movies, slides, computers, video tapes and other visual presentations. being used.

A Forklift Safety or Powered Industrial Truck program is required by OSHA if your company has any mechanized-wheeled equipment for moving material or employees. OSHA's standard also covers motorized pallet jacks.

Ensure that the type motor or engine for each type forklift in service is compatible with the environment in which it will be used.

Refueling or recharging stations for forklifts must be designed with proper ventilation - petroleum or LP gas refueling areas must be outside - battery charging areas require a well ventilated area with eye-wash/showers and material for battery acid spill cleanup. Forklift Battery charging creates hydrogen gas which is highly explosive.


Look at the forklift operational environment for both the forklift and the operator. Select the type of forklift motor and classification that is compatible with potential and existing hazards.

Check paths of travel to ensure they are not restrictive and are well lit. Forklift traffic paths should be marked on the floor areas to warn pedestrians. Protect unguarded drop-offs and utility areas. Look at areas where forklifts must make corners - ensure stair landings or doorways do not exit blindly into forklift traffic paths.

Place signs and mirrors along traffic paths. Set and enforce a safe forklift speed limit both inside and outside.

Establish routine daily forklift operator inspections and documentation. Establish procedures for identification, removal from service, replacement and control of unsafe forklifts and equipment.

Install seatbelts on all seats and attachments for lanyards & harnesses for any equipment used to elevate a worker above floor level. All attachments must be authorized for the specific fork truck by the manufacturer. Label attachments to show with what equipment they can be used.

Shipping Docks - check all areas for forklift clearance. Conduct routine inspections of dock & bridge plates. Set up a key control system to prevent trailers from being pulled away from docks while loading with a forklift is in progress.

Purpose of Meetings

• Encourage awareness
• Promote participation
• Provide motivation
• Introduce new procedures
• Reinforce existing policies

Pre-Planning Whether a formal or informal meeting, being well prepared with an understanding of the topic will ensure that the training session time is not wasted. If you find yourself simply reading the material, you will probably loose their attention very quickly

Personalize It! If you want others to use the training you provide you must make it applicable to their situation and job conditions. Use examples from day to day operations.

Show & Tell. If the topic includes use of equipment such as locks, tags, safety glasses or tools, use these as props to show their proper use and the hazards of misuse.

Use Audience Knowledge. Many employees you will be teaching have years of experience. Keep them from getting bored by using active techniques such as, "John, tells us about the time.....".

Keep it Short. Most safety meeting topics can be completed in 15 to 20 minutes. Don't try to fill the time time.

Nuts & Bolts. Use a basic outline to keep your session flowing. An outline need only be reminder points to ensure you have covered all required areas. This will also help with a smooth opening and closing.

• Introduce yourself
• Introduce the topic
• Present your facts
• Discuss the applicable hazards
• Discuss hazard control
• Demonstrate the "How To"
• Ask questions during session
• Ask "What if...."
• Start a discussion• Summarize key points

Check Your Attitude! People will quickly pick up on the fact if you are just going through the motions because management says you must have a safety meeting. They will have less respect for you if you do not control the session as they know you should. Be positive, be animated.... allow your professional approach to catch on with others.

All materials in the members area for this topic index

Program Material

Programs (written)
MS-WORD Forklift And Motorized Pallet Jack Safety Program
Program Development
MS-WORD Forklift Program Development
Fact Sheets
MS-WORD Forklift Safety Primer Safety Topic Fact Sheet
MS-WORD Preventing Injuries And Deaths Of Workers Who Operate Or Work Near Forklifts Safety Topic Fact Sheet
MS-WORD Safetyrules Forklift Rules
MS-WORD Suspension Trailer Inspection Safety Topic Fact Sheet

Forms & Documents

MS-WORD Forklift Pit Pre Shift Checklist
MS-WORD Forklift Powered Industrial Trucks Daily Checklist
MS-WORD Forklifts Supervisor Safety Checklist
MS-WORD Forklift Operator Required Training Form
MS-WORD Forklift Pit Operator Certificate Form
MS-WORD Suspension Trailer Inspection Form
MS-WORD Forklifts And Industrial Trucks Inspection General Form

Training Material

Accident Reports
MS-WORD Forklift Accidents
MS-WORD Standup Forklift Accident Report
Crossword Puzzle
MS-WORD Forklift Crossword Answer Key
MS-WORD Forklift Crossword
MS-WORD Forklift Training Handout Korean
MS-WORD Forklift Training Handout Spanish
MS-WORD Forklift Training Handout
MS-WORD Forklift Safety Training Outline
MS-PPT Battery Safety PowerPoint
MS-PPT Forklift Powered Industrial Trucks Training Overview PowerPoint
MS-PPT Forklift Safety PowerPoint Spanish
MS-PPT Forklift Safety PowerPoint
MS-WORD Forklift Safety Quiz Answer Key
MS-WORD Forklift Safety Quiz
MS-WORD Forklift Dock Reminder
MS-WORD Forklift Hazards Reminder
MS-WORD Forklift Parking Reminder
MS-WORD Forklift Pre Use Reminder
MS-WORD Forklift Traveling Reminder
MS-WORD Forklift Safety Session
MS-WORD 2 Minute Safety Forklifts
MS-WORD Empty Skids And Pallets
MS-WORD Maint Battery Charging Talk
MS-WORD Opps Forklift Talk
MS-WORD Opps Pallet Jack Talk
MS-WORD Opps Wood Pallets Talk
OnLine Forklift Carbon Monoxide Hazard
OnLine Forklift Tipover
OnLine Forklifts and Pedestrians


Safety Comic Strip
MS-WORD Comic Archive Forklift Safety Comic Strip

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