June 14th, 2022 is annual National Forklift Safety Day (NFSD), an event sponsored by the Industrial Truck Association. If your facility uses forklifts, this is a great time to emphasize the importance of forklift safety and evaluate your forklift safety program.
Forklifts are regulated federally under OSHA’s Powered Industrial Trucks Standard (29 CFR 1910.178). Every year, forklift-related violations make the OSHA Top 10 Most Frequently Cited Standards list. Among the most commonly cited violations of the standard are deficiencies related to training.
The standard requires employers to develop and implement a training program based on the general principles of safe forklift operation, the types of forklifts being used in the workplace, the hazards of the workplace created by their use, and the general safety requirements of the OSHA standard.
Trained operators must know how to do the job properly and do it safely as demonstrated by workplace evaluation. A combination of formal (e.g., lecture, video, interactive computer learning, written material) and practical (demonstration and exercises) training must be provided. Required truck-specific training topics must also be included such as operating instructions, steering and maneuvering, and truck controls and instrumentation.
Before operating a forklift, the employer must evaluate the operator’s performance and determine that the operator is competent to operate it safely. All training and evaluations must be conducted by a person with the necessary knowledge, training, and experience to train operators and evaluate their competency.
Employers must also certify that each operator has received the training required by the standard. The certification must include the name of the operator, date of training, date of evaluation, and the names of the person(s) performing the training. Employers must evaluate each operator at least once every three years.
Refresher training is required when the operator has been observed operating the forklift unsafely; is involved in an accident or near-miss; has received an evaluation that reveals unsafe operation; is assigned to drive a different type of forklift; or if a condition in the workplace changes in a way that could affect safe operation. An operator evaluation is also required after refresher training.
For additional information on Forklift Safety Day, or for assistance evaluating your forklift safety program, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This blog was written by Beth Graham, Associate Director of Quality, Research, & Training at Safety Partners.