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Powered Industrial Trucks

Powered Industrial Trucks

Hazard Overview

Hazard Overview

What is a powered industrial truck?

Powered industrial trucks, commonly called forklifts or lift trucks, are used in many industries, primarily to move materials. Powered industrial trucks can either be ridden by the operator or controlled by a walking operator. Over-the-road haulage trucks and earth-moving equipment that has been modified to accept forks are not considered powered industrial trucks.

What are the hazards associated with powered industrial trucks?

Each type of powered industrial 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. 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. In addition, the use of a powered industrial truck in a location for which that type of powered industrial truck is not designated for use, for example due to a flammable atmosphere, can result in a fire or explosion.

Solutions

Solutions

What can I do to protect myself?

When working in or walking through areas where powered industrial trucks are being used, especially forklifts, be mindful of traffic patterns and do not cross immediately in front of a moving forklift. Do not pass under the raised portion of a forklift, regardless of the presence or absence of a load.

If you are a forklift operator, be sure to fasten your seat belt before moving the equipment. Do not use a forklift for any purpose for which it was not designed. Do not exceed the load limit of any type of powered industrial truck, especially a forklift.

Never leave a forklift unattended with forks raised and engine running. Be sure that forks are fully lowered, controls neutralized and the engine shut off.

What resources are available to assist employers?

In addition, the NCDOL Library offers free safety and health videos and related research assistance on consensus standards (i.e., ANSI, NFPA, NEC). The education, training and technical assistance bureau provides free online safety and health training and outreach services (i.e., speaker's bureau requests, safety booths) upon request.

Regulations

Regulations

Which standards apply?

OSH has adopted the following standards for powered industrial trucks in North Carolina:

Learn More

Learn More

Where can I learn more?

If you would like to receive interpretive guidance on this or any other OSH standard or topic, you can submit your questions using the Ask OSH web form, by e-mail to ask.osh@labor.nc.gov or by calling 919-707-7876.