Forklift Operator Safety

Safe operation is critical for any business with employees who use forklifts or other powered industrial trucks. Accidents are a constant – and very real – threat.

To help reduce the risk of accidents, OSHA’s Powered Industrial Trucks Standard 29 CFR 1910.178 requires operators to receive the following forklift training:

  • Formal instruction (e.g. forklift training video, discussion, lecture, written materials, etc.)
  • Practical training (demonstrations and practical exercises)
  • Evaluation of the operator’s performance in the workplace

Learn more about forklift training requirements, forklift certification and lift truck operator certification below. Plus, browse our variety of essential safety solutions.

Essential Forklift Safety Solutions

Forklift Training

Forklift Training

Forklift operator training and certification is essential to ensure a safe, compliant work environment. For proper forklift certification, operators must be trained on topics such as:

  • Vehicle capacity and stability
  • Operating instructions
  • Vehicle inspection and maintenance requirements
  • Load manipulation, stacking and unstacking
  • Pedestrian traffic in areas where the vehicle will be operated
  • Operating in narrow aisles and restricted places
  • The requirements of OSHA’s forklift standard

OSHA requires that the person doing the powered industrial truck training have the knowledge, training, skills, and experience to train operators and evaluate their competence. It is the employer’s responsibility to determine who has the knowledge, training, skills and experience.

OSHA does not deem it necessary to require accreditation of the trainer, stating that trainers and evaluators with different backgrounds can achieve the level of ability necessary to teach and evaluate trainees. This can be the employer, an employee, or an outside training source.

For more details, view our Forklift Training FAQs.

Top Powered Industrial Truck Violations

Forklift Safety Violations

Forklift safety violations consistently appear on OSHA’s list of Most Cited Standards. Below are the most common violations.

General Industry Violations:

  1. 1910.178(l)(1)(i) - Operator not properly trained (initial)
  2. 1910.178(l)(4)(i) - Operator not properly trained (refresher training)
  3. 1910.178(l)(6) - Not keeping safe distance from edge of platform
  4. 1910.178(p)(1) - Not taking defective truck out-of-operation
  5. 1910.178(q)(7) - Failing to properly inspect forklift before operation

Construction Violations:

  1. 1926.602(c)(1)(vi) - Non-compliance with ANSI B56.1-1969
  2. 1926.602(c)(1)(ii) - Modifications without manufacturer’s approval
  3. 1926.602(c)(1)(viii)(A) - Improper attachment of safety platform
  4. 1926.602(c)(1)(vii) - Allowing unauthorized personnel to ride forklift
  5. 1926.602(c)(1)(viii)(B) - No means for personnel on the platform to shut off power

Get quick access to OSHA's word-for-word Part 1910 workplace safety regulations in our 1910 OSHA Guide. Check out our Construction Regulatory Guide for full-text Part 1926 and applicable 1910 regulations.