Occupational Safety and Health Topics Pages
The Alliance offers a wealth of information on the following occupational safety and health topics to assist you in protecting the safety of your workers. Click on any of the links below for detailed information on your regulatory compliance obligations and tips on how to create and maintain a safe and healthy environment for your employees.

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General Operations

• Load-engaging means are fully lowered, with controls neutralized, power shut off, and brakes set when a forklift is left unattended.

• Operators maintain a safe distance from the edge of ramps or platforms while using forklifts on any elevated dock, platform, or freight car.

• There is sufficient headroom for the forklift and operator under overhead installations, lights, pipes, sprinkler systems, etc.

• Overhead guards are provided in good condition to protect forklift operators from falling objects.

• Operators observe all traffic regulations, including authorized plant speed limits.

• Drivers are required to look in the direction of and keep a clear view of the path of travel.

• Operators drive their forklifts at a speed that will permit the vehicle to stop in a safe manner.

• Dock boards (bridge plates) are properly secured when loading or unloading from dock to truck.

• Stunt driving and horseplay are prohibited.

• All loads are stable, safely arranged, and fit within the rated capacity of the forklift.

• Operators fill fuel tanks only when the engine is not running.

• Replacement parts of forklifts are equivalent in terms of safety with those used in the original design.

• Forklifts are examined for safety before being placed into service and unsafe or defective forklifts are removed from service.

• Train, evaluate, and certify all operators to ensure that they can operate forklifts safely.

• Do not allow anyone under 18 years old to operate a forklift.

• Properly maintain haulage equipment, including tires.

• Before using a forklift, examine it for hazardous conditions which would make it unsafe to operate.

• Follow safe procedures for picking up, putting down, and stacking loads.

• Drive safely, never exceeding 5 mph, and slow down in congested areas or those with slippery surfaces.

• Ensure that the operator wears a seatbelt installed by the manufacturer.

• Never drive up to a person standing in front of a fixed object such as a wall or stacked materials.

• Do not handle loads that are heavier than the weight capacity of the forklift.

• Remove unsafe or defective forklifts from service until the defect is properly repaired.

• Maintain sufficiently safe clearances for aisles and at loading docks or passages where forklifts are used.

• Ensure adequate ventilation either by opened doors/windows or using a ventilation system to provide enough fresh air to keep concentrations of noxious gases from engine exhaust below acceptable limits.

• Provide covers and/or guardrails to protect workers from the hazards of open pits, tanks, vats, and ditches.

• Train employees on the hazards associated with the combustion byproducts of forklift operation, such as carbon monoxide.

• No person shall be allowed to stand or pass under the elevated portion of any forklift, whether loaded or empty.

• Unauthorized personnel shall not be permitted to ride on forklifts.

• The employer shall prohibit arms or legs from being placed between the uprights of the mast or outside the running lines of the forklift.

• When a forklift is left unattended, load engaging means shall be fully lowered, controls shall be neutralized, power shall be shut off, and brakes set. Wheels shall be blocked if the truck is parked on an incline. A forklift is unattended when the operator is 25 feet or more away from the vehicle which remains in his view or whenever the operator leaves the vehicle and it is not in his view.

• When the operator of a forklift is dismounted and within 25 feet of the truck still in his view, the load-engaging means shall be fully lowered, controls neutralized, and the brakes set to prevent movement.

• A safe distance shall be maintained from the edge of the ramps or platforms while on any elevated dock, platform, or freight car. Forklifts shall not be used for opening or closing freight doors.

• Brakes shall be set and wheel block shall be in place to prevent movement of trucks, trailers, or railroad cars while loading or unloading. Fixed jacks may be necessary to support a semitrailer during loading or unloading when the trailer is not coupled to a tractor. The flooring of trucks, trailers, and railroad cars shall be checked for breaks and weaknesses before they are driven onto.

• There shall be sufficient headroom under overhead installations, lights, pipes, sprinkler systems, etc.

• An overhead guard shall be used as protection against falling objects. It should be noted that an overhead guard is intended to offer protection from the impact of small packages, boxes, etc., representative of the job application, but not to withstand the impact of a falling capacity load.

• A load backrest extension shall be used whenever necessary to minimize the possibility of the load or part of it from falling rearward.

• Only approved industrial trucks shall be used in hazardous locations.

• Fire aisles, access to stairways, and fire equipment shall be kept clear.

Additional Resources

OSHA Forklift Standards and Other Related Information
Sample Daily Checklist for Powered Industrial Trucks
Forklift Training Materials





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