The Basics of Powered Industrial Truck (Fork Truck) Safety

What are powered industrial trucks?

Powered industrial trucks, also known as forklifts or lift trucks, are used in many industries to move materials, as well as raising, lowering, or removing large objects or a number of smaller objects onpallets or in boxes, crates, or other containers. Powered industrial trucks can either be ridden by the operator or controlled by a walking operator.

The hazards associated with operating powered industrial trucks

As there are various types of powered industrial trucks. Each truck 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. 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.

What can be done to reduce the hazards related to powered industrial trucks?

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. Employers must 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 29 CFR 1910.178(I)(1).

If you would like more information on powered industrial truck safety, contact Trevor Reschny at 800-788-7036 or email him at treschny@safetylinks.net

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