Since 1998, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has mandated that all forklift operators in General Industry must be at least 18 years of age and must also have successfully completed a forklift safety certification program before they are allowed to operate a powered industrial lift truck – or forklift. The intent is to reduce the number of injuries and deaths that occur as a result of inadequate operator training. This standard applies to all industries (general industry, construction, shipyards, marine terminals, and long shoring operations) utilizing powered industrial lifts; the exception is agricultural operations.dreamstime_xxl_30842576

OSHA enacted its most current forklift training regulation – 29CFR1910.178(l) – in December, 1998, and began to enforce this standard through mandatory employer compliance in March, 1999. This same standard, with few changes, remains in effect today. Our company, Forklift Certs On-the-Go, has flexible, full-service forklift Operator Training Programs that will help your organization maintain full compliance with these OSHA requirements for training your forklift operators in the safe operation of your powered industrial lifts. Additionally, our training improves operator safety, productivity, and efficiency.

One of the unique services we offer is that we will automatically notify your company a couple months prior to the (three-year) expiration date(s) of your operators’ certifications, thus allowing you to manage your training requirements more timely. As you know, these certifications are time-sensitive and do expire.

You may also be interested in our supervisory skills training program, developed by Crown, for your line or warehouse supervisors. This four-hour course focuses on how to spot and correct forklift operator deficiencies in day-to-day operations, thus helping you to further promote forklift safety. Companies tell us that operators who sense that their employers are observing them tend to be more keenly aware of their performance and job hazards, thereby decreasing incidents from carelessness and complacency.

OSHA has defined seven specific Forklift Classifications which it recognizes. Following is a short description of each type:

  • Class I: Electric Motor Counterbalance Rider Trucks
  • Class II: Electric Motor Narrow Aisle Trucks
  • Class III: Electric Motor Hand Trucks or Hand/Rider Trucks
  • Class IV: Internal Combustion Engine Counterbalance Trucks (Solid/Cushion Tires)
  • Class V: Internal Combustion Engine Counterbalance Trucks (Pneumatic Tires)
  • Class VI: Electric and Internal Combustion Engine Tractors
  • Class VII: Rough Terrain Forklift Trucks

OSHA website

AWP (Aerial Work Platforms)

The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) along with the Scaffolding Institute of America (SIA) have developed best practices for operators of powered scaffolds. These practices are outlined in specific documents for the four major categories of Aerial Work Platforms (AWP’s) as follows:

  • ANSI 92.2 – Truck-mounted boom lifts
  • ANSI 92.3 – Manually-propelled Lifts
  • ANSI 92.5 – Self-propelled boom lifts
  • ANSI 92.6 – Scissor type lifts

OSHA Standards that apply:

  • 29 CFR 1910.67
  • 29 CFR 1910.269(p)
  • 29 CFR 1926.21
  • 29 CFR 1926.451, 452(w), 453
  • 29 CFR 1926.502

The following hazards associated with Aerial Lifts can lead to personal injury or death:

  • Fall from elevated level
  • Objects falling from lifts
  • Tip-overs
  • Ejections from the lift platform
  • Structural failures (collapses)
  • Electric shock (electrocutions)
  • Entanglement hazards
  • Contact with objects
  • Contact with ceilings and other overhead objects

Only trained and authorized persons are allowed to operate an aerial lift. Training should include:

  • Explanations of electrical, fall, and falling object hazards
  • Procedures for dealing with hazards
  • Recognizing and avoiding unsafe conditions in the work setting
  • Instructions for correct operation of the lift (including maximum intended load and load capacity)
  • Demonstrations of the skills and knowledge needed to operate an aerial lift before operating it on the job
  • When and how to perform inspections
  • Manufacturer’s requirements

Workers should be retrained if any of the following conditions occur:

  • An accident occurs during aerial lift use
  • Workplace hazards involving an aerial lift are discovered
  • A different type of aerial lift is used

Employers are also required to retrain workers whom they observe operating an aerial lift improperly, or who have been found to be unsafe during an evaluation.

dreamstime_xxl_37700403If employees are exposed to a fall hazard, a body harness must be used in conjunction with a fall arrest system. Although OSHA stipulates that fall protection is
mandatory for operators of all Boom-Supported machines, fall protection is recommended whenever operating any elevated work platform. Neither 1926.451 or 1926.452(w) require employees to be tied-off when working from scissor lifts that have properly maintained guardrails.

There has been some confusion as to which OSHA standards apply to the use of scissor lifts. The aerial lift requirements (1926.453) incorporate by reference the definition of aerial lifts used in the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) A92.2-1969 standard. Therefore, the requirements in 1926.453 apply to equipment identified in that 1969 ANSI consensus standard as aerial lifts. The ANSI standard definition includes the following vehicle-mounted elevating and rotating work platforms: “extendable boom platforms,” “aerial ladders,” “articulating boom platforms,” “vertical towers,” and “a combination of any of the above.”

Scissor lifts, including those with platforms that extend beyond the equipment’s wheelbase, do not fall within any of these categories. Therefore, scissor lifts are not addressed by the aerial lift provisions of Subpart L. While there are no OSHA provisions that specifically address scissor lifts, they do meet the definition of a scaffold (1926.451 – general requirements for scaffolds). Employers must therefore comply with the other applicable provisions of Subpart L when using scissor lifts. For example, since scissor lifts are mobile, the specific requirements for mobile scaffolds in the scaffold standard (1926.452(w) – mobile scaffolds) must be met.

We offer forklift driver training and certification that will empower your employees to stay safe. Each forklift training course is created with care and aligns with OSHA requirements.

Contact us to learn about our forklift classes!