Avoiding Common OSHA Forklift Violations

Assure forklift safety to avoid OSHA citations.
Despite massive campaigns to encourage the safe use of forklifts, OSHA says that forklift safety violations are still common.
(Courtesy: IRRI Photos at flickr.com)

As people in the warehouse industry are well aware, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is the federal government agency that is tasked for assuring safety in the workplace. In that vain, it has authority to issue violations of forklift safety on warehouses.

Although there have been massive campaigns enticing warehouse managers to take steps to assure that forklift operators are well trained and understand and abide to OSHA safety standards, it appears that forklift violations are still common. In fact, according to OSHA, forklift violations are the most frequent standards cited by the agency.

Since more and more forklift violations are cited, it must be obvious that more needs to be done to alert forklift operators on the importance of complying with the rules.

It would probably help to acknowledge the most common forklift violations so that warehouse managers can have a leg up in educating their workforce.

Common violations include:

• Inspection violations
• Neglect to take precautions when operating a forklift on ramps
• Lack of appropriate fire protection equipment associated to forklifts
• Training

Inspection Violations

It is the responsibility of each forklift operator to continuously maintain and assure the upkeep of the forklift he drives. The most ignored OSHA standard when it pertains to forklift inspection is the failure to perform pre-operation checks of the lift. If a forklift is discovered to need repair or is defective and the pre-operation inspection is commonly not performed, then the warehouse is libel and can be cited. According to OSHA, any forklift that is damaged or otherwise impaired must be removed from use until repairs are completed.

Neglecting To Take Precautions When Operating A Lift On Ramps

Forklift manufacturers suggest that warehouse managers mark travel routes and ramp use. OSHA considers this suggestion so important, it can invoke violations if the warehouse does not comply.

First, it is important for warehouse managers and forklift operators to be aware of OSHA requirements and recommendations concerning this aspect of safe forklift operations. To avoid being cited, warehouses are advised to use high-quality steel dock ramps, curb guards, and a graduate grade of the ramp to avoid forklift accidents. It is also recommended that some kind of secondary precaution be taken including nets for employees working machinery 6 feet or more above the floor.

Lack Of Appropriate Fire Protection Equipment

A fire is always possible in any workspace. And it is incumbent on the director of workplace safety to assure that all equipment necessary to deal with fires are on hand in the workspace. Businesses are required to offer fire protection sets and safety equipment for electric and gas-powered forklifts. Forklift operators must be easily accessible to fire extinguishers and other emergency equipment. The equipment must be visible and labeled. Moreover, forklift operators must be trained in the correct use of the fire and safety equipment and know emergency response procedures.


Warehouse managers are obligated to provide initial and refresher training courses for all forklift operators. An initial training program for new forklift operators is not enough. Often the workplace environment goes through changes and employees must be aware of these changes as they go about there business. In order to comply with OSHA rules on this aspect of your safety requirements be certain to keep extensive documentation concerning the training and refresher training of forklift drivers. These records should show how performance standards are being met, offer driver certification information, and have information on a driver’s training session attendance.

(Source: nfe-lifts.com)