OSHA Regulations Pertaining to Powered Industrial Trucks – Part III

In my first of a series of articles on the OSHA rules pertaining to powered industrial trucks, I discussed responsibilities of all parties in the warehouse including management, supervisor, and employees

(Courtesy: Kokonutpacific at flickr.com)
(Courtesy: Kokonutpacific at flickr.com)

on proper operation of lifts.

In Part II, I covered requirements for warehouse programs involved in the training of powered industrial truck operators.

In part III, I will discuss requirements of the OSHA rules as they pertain to pre-use inspections and operating procedures.

OSHA Rule 1910.178 requires that a powered industrial vehicle must be inspected prior to use. Inspection is supposed to be performed at least once a day when the lifts are used on a 24-hour basis and that the inspections must occur at the beginning of each shift. If a lift operator detects a defect, then he must report it to his supervisor immediately. Inspections must include:

·      Checking all fluid levels and pressures
·      Leaks
·      Steering
·      Brakes
·      Fuel and battery levels
·      Tires
·      Hoses, belts, and cables
·      Horns and alarms
·      Masts and forks
·      Gauges and controls
·      Overhead cage

Each review must be documented using an inspection checklist. If the examination finds something unsafe, than the vehicle must be removed from operation until the defect is repaired.

Certain operating procedures must also be followed including the proper way to mount and dismount a forklift. The operator is supposed to face the vehicle and use a three-point stance with two hands on the truck and one foot in contact with the floor or truck. Never jump on or off the lift.

In addition, the lift operator is required to get familiar with the location and functions of all the controls of a forklift. The operator is required to wear a seatbelt if one is included while operating the truck. Operating procedures the forklift driver should be familiar with incudes picking up, traveling with, and placing a load and entering a trailer, truck or railcar.

Picking up a load

·      Assure that the load does not exceed the capacity of the truck.
·      Make certain that the forks are positioned properly.
·      Make sure that the load is balanced and secure.
·      Check for the existence of overhead obstructions.
·      Raise the forks to the proper height.
·      Drive into the load as far as possible.
·      Tilt the load back slightly and then lift it.
·      Look over both shoulders prior to backing up and lower the load 2-inches to 4-inches from the floor before moving.

Traveling with a load.

·      Pedestrians always have the right-of-way.
·      Never allow anyone else to ride the lift.
·      If the load blocks the operator’s vision, then drive the vehicle backwards to ensure a clear field of view.
·      Keep the forks about 2-inches to 4-inches above the floor.
·      Keep the load tilted back slightly.
·      Always drive at a safe speed and slow down when going around corners.
·      Sound the horn when approaching aisles and corners.
·      Drive up and back down ramps and inclines.
·      Do not brake suddenly.
·      Lift or lower the load only when the lift is completely stopped.

Placing a load.

·      The forklift should be completely stopped before raising a load.
·      Move slowly when the load is raised.
·      Never allow anyone to walk or stand under a raised load.
·      Tilt the load forward only when over a stack or rack.
·      Maker certain that the forks clear the pallet before turning or changing height.
·      Always stack a load square and straight.
·      Check behind and on both sides for pedestrians or other traffic before backing the lift.
·      Unusually shaped loads including rolls may require special staking. Be aware of requirements before lifting up these loads.

Entering a trailer, truck or railcar.

·      Employees are prohibited from driving a vehicle into a trailer, truck or railcar unless authorized and trained to do so.
·      Make sure that the brakes are properly set before entering a trailer, truck or railcar. Place wheel chocks at both rear wheels to prevent movement of the trailer away from the dock. Chocks should always be used on trailers regardless of the status of the truck.
·      Before driving into a trailer or truck, check the deck of the trailer for signs of weakness or breakage.
·      Use a dock board, dock plate or dock-leveling device to assure safe access into the trailer.
·      Make certain that the load and the lift’s mast clear the trailer or railcar before entering.
·      If the trailer is not secured to a tractor, then make certain that the trailer jacks are secured at the front corners of the trailer to prevent upending or corner dipping.
·      If dock locks or other fixed trailer restraining equipment is used, make certain it is fully engaged before entering the trailer.

(Next time: Unattended Vehicles, Maintenance and Fueling Procedures)