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Forklift Safety

By: Matt Schiefferly
Vice President Safety Services


Cal OSHA now requires all companies that use a forklift are required to have certified forklift operators. Every employee that uses the forklift must be certified. The certification process must include written and practical knowledge of the forklift. Many forklift manufacturers and service centers will supply the training to certify your employees.

OSHA mandates that several rules must be followed under the new guidelines. Beyond certification, each company must comply with the following.

It is critical that all employees operating a forklift are first given the proper training and have a good working knowledge of not only the forklift itself, but also, the material they will be handling.

To meet OSHA standards the following minimum requirements must be met.

Every employer using industrial trucks shall post and enforce a set of operation rules including the rules found on form S-503 (available from Paul Hanson Insurance Services or from Cal/OSHA). It is important to note that every location that has a forklift operating in it needs this poster. If you have two warehouses on a single site you must have a poster at each warehouse.

The basic rules covered in the OSHA poster include:

  1. No horseplay on or around the lift.
  2. Only drivers authorized and trained by the employer are allowed to use the lift trucks.
  3. No riders are permitted on the vehicle unless the vehicle is so equipped.
  4. Drivers shall inspect the vehicle at least once per shift.
  5. Grades shall be ascended and descended slowly and driven with the load upgrade.
  6. When a vehicle is left unattended the forks shall be lowered, the break set and the power turned off.
  7. When driving the vehicle loaded or unloaded the forks should be low and easy to see over.
  8. All lift trucks must have the rated capacity displayed so that the driver may see it at all times.
  9. Forklifts shall not be loaded beyond their rated capacity.
  10. Prior to driving into trucks, trailers, or railroad cars their floors shall be checked for cracks and weak spots before entering.
  11. To prevent trailers from moving when the truck enters block trailer wheels before entering the trailer.
  12. Combustion engines may not be driven in areas where exhaust fumes will not provide a dangerous concentration of gases.
  13. Vehicles will not be driven on floors, sidewalks, ramps or platforms that will not safely support their weight.
  14. Employees shall not be allowed to stand, pass or work under the elevated portion of any forklift.
  15. Vehicles shall not be operated above the authorized or safe speed. Load vehicles must be driven with extra caution.

Any questions or comments can be directed to Matt Schiefferly 800-852-1968 or e-mail matts@paulhanson.com.