Chapter 23: Powered Industrial Truck Program


Forklifts and powered industrial trucks are an important part of UMW operational support. We are committed to a program that provides total safety for employees and ensures that our powered industrial trucks meet the requirements for safety and reliability. Every employee must be trained and evaluated prior to being allowed to drive these vehicles.

This program has total management support and will never be compromised for expediency or monetary concerns. If you have any questions, comments, or critiques of this program, please direct them to your supervisor or UMW OEMS.



Management has the following responsibilities:

  1. To provide powered industrial trucks and related equipment that is OSHA and ANSI compliant.
  2. To identify employees who are affected by this policy and ensure that they receive the required training.
  3. To provide required Personal Protective Equipment to affected employees.
  4. To ensure that UMW is operating in accordance with this policy by performing periodic reviews and audits.
  5. To review this policy for effectiveness periodically and when program deficiencies are discovered.
  6. The UMW Safety Department will review this program annually and adjust as appropriate with the support of the areas affected.


The University’s Powered Industrial Trucks program will be administrated by UMW OEMS and the UMW Warehouse Manager. They will be responsible for the proper implementation, oversight, inspection, and training program. The program administrator will have the following duties:

  1. Assist in acquiring proper ANSI approved vehicles.
  2. Ensure that the vehicles are being operated in accordance with 29 CFR 1910.178.
  3. Coordinate periodic inspections.
  4. Coordinate training and evaluation of employees.
  5. Coordinate an annual evaluation of the powered industrial trucks program


Supervisors have the following responsibilities:

  1. To ensure that no employees perform work on or near powered industrial trucks without receiving the required safety training.
  2. To provide communication between employees and management on safety issues.
  3. To make sure that employees have available and use all required Personal Protective Equipment.


Employees have the following responsibilities:

  1. To complete all required safety training prior to operating powered industrial trucks.
  2. To operate in accordance with the requirements of this program.
  3. To wear all required personal protective equipment.
  4. To immediately report any safety issues to a supervisor.


Areas with forklifts in use will be clearly marked with forklift warning signs. Mirrors and other devices will be installed to assist drivers in making safe turns. Areas with frequent forklift travel will be marked on the floors to assist employees in avoiding hazardous areas.



All new powered industrial trucks acquired and used by the company must meet the design and construction requirements for powered industrial trucks, established in the “American National Standard for Powered Industrial Trucks, Part II, ANSI B56.l-1969.”


Powered industrial trucks must be labeled as being accepted by a nationally recognized testing laboratory and compliant with ANSI standards. All labels, nameplates, and markings must be maintained in a legible condition.


The company will obtain written approval from the manufacturer prior to making any modifications or additions that affect capacity or safe operation of the vehicle. Capacity, operation, and maintenance instruction plates, tags, or decals shall be changed accordingly.


If the truck is equipped with front end attachments other than factory installed attachments, the truck will be marked to identify the attachments and show the approximate weight of the truck attachment combination at maximum elevation with the load latterly centered.


OSHA recognizes 11 different types of powered industrial trucks. UMW, with the assistance of the program administrator, will select the appropriate vehicle and its fuel type that matches the hazard abatement requirements of the work environment.


Powered industrial trucks may only be operated in locations where the atmosphere is suitable and safe. If the atmosphere in which a powered industrial truck will be working is suspected to have any higher than normal concentrations of gases, vapors, dust particles, or any other contaminants, steps will be taken to make sure that the proper vehicle is being operated for that hazard environment. UMW will comply with the requirements for vehicle operation in hazardous atmospheres as listed by OSHA regulation 29 CFR 1910.178(c).


The storage and handling of liquid fuels such as gasoline and diesel fuel shall be in accordance with NFPA Flammable and Combustible Liquids Code (NFPA 30). The storage and handling of liquefied petroleum gas fuel shall be in accordance with NFPA Storage and Handling of Liquefied Petroleum Gases (NFPA 58).


Battery charging shall be performed in areas that are designated for the purpose. This area will be provided with facilities for flushing and neutralizing spilled electrolyte, fire protection, protecting charging apparatus from damage by trucks, and adequate ventilation from dispersal of fumes from gassing batteries.

The following safety precautions are required for working with batteries:

  1. Trucks shall have the battery disconnected prior to any maintenance on electrical systems.
  2. A conveyor, overhead hoist, or equivalent material handling equipment shall be provided for handling batteries.
  3. Reinstalled batteries shall be properly positioned and secured in the truck.
  4. A carboy filter or siphon shall be provided for handling electrolyte.
  5. When charging batteries, acid shall be poured into water; water shall never be poured into acid.
  6. Trucks must be properly positioned and braked before attempting to charge or change batteries.
  7. Vent caps must be functioning, and compartment covers shall be open to dissipate heat.
  8. Tools and other metallic objects shall be kept away from the top of uncovered batteries.
  9. Precautions shall be taken to prevent open flames, sparks, or electric arcs in battery charging areas.
  10. Smoking is prohibited in battery charging areas.


When lighting is less than 2 lumen per square foot, auxiliary directional lighting will be provided on the truck. Forklift operators may not operate where lighting from the area or the vehicle is not sufficient.


Concentrations of carbon monoxide gas created by powered industrial trucks will not exceed 55 mg/m3. The Supervisors will take steps to ensure that proper ventilation is available in areas with emissions emitting vehicles. If high concentrations of carbon monoxide are suspected, UMW will conduct testing to ensure compliance and safety.


When loading or unloading highway trucks, the brakes shall be set, and wheel chocks placed under the rear wheels to prevent the trucks from rolling.



The following are common safety requirements that will be adhered to for all types of powered industrial trucks.

  1. Trucks shall not be driven up to anyone standing in front of a bench or other fixed object.
  2. No person will be allowed to stand or pass under the elevated portion of any truck, whether loaded or empty.
  3. Unauthorized personnel are not permitted to operate or ride on powered industrial trucks.
  4. Arms and legs may not be placed between the uprights of the mast or outside the running lines of the truck.
  5. When a truck is left unattended, loading engaging means shall be fully lowered, and trolls shall be neutralized, power shall be shut off, and brakes will be set.
  6. Trucks that are parked on an incline will have their wheels blocked.
  7. A safe distance shall be maintained from the edge of ramps and platforms while on an elevated dock, or platform or freight car.
  8. Trucks shall not be used for opening and closing doors.
  9. There must be sufficient headroom under overhead installations, lights, pipes, and sprinkler systems.
  10. An overhead guard shall be used as protection against falling objects.
  11. A loaded backrest extension shall be used whenever necessary to minimize the possibility of the load or part of the load from falling rearward.
  12. Fire aisles, access to stairways, and fire equipment shall be kept clear.
  13. Only approved industrial trucks will be used in hazardous locations.


Vehicle operators will perform inspections in accordance with the operator’s manual. These safety checks will be performed prior to the use of the vehicle. In addition to the requirements of the manual, these generic safety inspections will be performed on every vehicle prior to use.

  1. Overhead Guard
    1. Are there broken welds, missing bolts, or damaged areas?
  2. Hydraulic Cylinders
    1. Is there leakage or damage on the lift, tilt, and attachment functions of the cylinders?
  3. Mast Assembly
    1. Are there broken welds, cracked or bent areas, and worn or missing stops?
  4. Lift Chains and rollers
    1. Is there wear or damage or kinks, signs of rust, or any sign that lubrication is required?
    2. Is there squeaking?
  5. Forks
    1. Are they cracked or bent, worn, or mismatched?
    2. Is there excessive oil or water on the forks?
  6. Tires
    1. Are there large cuts that go around the circumference of the tire?
    2. Are there large pieces of rubber missing or separated from the rim?
    3. Are there missing lugs?
    4. Is there sufficient air pressure?
    5. Is there bond separation that may cause slippage?
  7. Battery Check
    1. Are the cell caps and terminal covers in place?
    2. Are the cables missing insulation?
  8. Hydraulic Fluid
    1. Check level?
  9. Gauges
    1. Are they all properly working?
  10. Steering
    1. Is there excessive free play?
    2. If power steering, is the pump working?
  11. Brakes
    1. If pedal goes all the way to the floor when you apply the service brake that is the first indicator that the brakes are bad. Brakes should work in reverse, also.
    2. Does the parking brake work? The truck should not be capable of movement when the parking brake is engaged.
  12. Lights
    1. If equipped with lights, are they working properly?
  13. Horn
    1. Does the horn work?
  14. Safety Seat
    1. If the truck is equipped with a safety seat is it working?
  15. Load Handling Attachments
    1. Is there hesitation when hoisting or lowering the forks, when using the forward or backward tilt, or the lateral travel on the side shift?
    2. Is there excessive oil on the cylinders?
  16. Propane Tank
    1. Is the tank guard bracket properly positioned and locked down?
  17. Propane Hose
    1. Is it damaged? It should not be frayed, pinched, kinked, or bound in any way.
    2. Is the connector threaded squarely and tightly?
  18. Propane Odor
    1. If you detect the presence of propane gas odor, tum off the tank valve and report the problem.
  19. Engine Oil
    1. Check levels.
  20. Engine Coolant
    1. Visually check the level.
      1. Note: Never remove the radiator cap to check the coolant level when the engine is running or while the engine is hot. Stand to the side and tum your face away. Always use a glove or rag to protect your hand.
    2. Transmission Fluid
      1. Check levels?
    3. Windshield Wipers
      1. Do they work properly?
    4. Seat Belts
      1. Do they work?
    5. Safety Door – Found on Stand-Up Rider Models
      1. Is it in place?
    6. Safety Switch – Found on Stand-Up Riding Tow Tractors)
      1. Is it working?
    7. Hand guards
      1. Are they in place?
    8. Tow Hook
      1. Does it engage and release smoothly?
      2. Does the safety catch work properly?
    9. Control Lever
      1. Does the lever operate properly? Safety Interlock – (found on order pickers) If the gate is open, does the vehicle run?
    10. Gripper Jaws – Found on Order Pickers
      1. Do the jaws open and close quickly and smoothly?
    11. Work Platform – Found on Order Pickers
      1. Does the platform raise and lower smoothly?


The following are safety requirements for traveling in powered industrial trucks:

  1. The load shall be tilted back and raised only as far as necessary to clear the road surface.
  2. The truck will be operated at a speed that will permit it to be brought to stop in a safe manner.
  3. Horseplay and reckless driving is not tolerated, and it will result in the immediate disciplinary action, up to and including termination of the employee.
  4. The driver will slow down on wet and slippery surfaces.
  5. Dock boards or bridge plates will be properly secured before they are driven over.
  6. The driver will avoid running over loose objects on the roadway.
  7. While turning, speed will be reduced to a safe level, and will occur at a moderate and even rate.


The following are safety precautions for the loading of powered industrial trucks:

  1. Only stable or safely arranged loads shall be handled.
  2. Only loads within the rated capacity of the trucks shall be handled.
  3. Trucks that are equipped with attachments will be operated as partially loaded trucks when not handling a load.
  4. A load engaging means shall be placed under the load as far as possible, and the mast shall be carefully tilted backwards to stabilize the load.


UMW will follow the maintenance program detailed in the powered industrial trucks operations and maintenance manual. A record will be kept of all maintenance activities for each vehicle. The maintenance log will be stored at the UMW Warehouse Manager’s office or in a location easily accessible by all truck handlers for review and update.


Only employees that have been trained and evaluated by a competent person will be allowed to drive powered industrial trucks. Operators must be at least 18 years old and be in possession of a valid Driver’s License. The program administrator will coordinate with management to identify authorized trainers who have the knowledge, training, and experience to teach and evaluate industrial truck operators. All trainees will operate vehicles only under the direct supervision of their instructor. The UMW Warehouse manager is responsible for the designation of trainer capability and will authorize those accordingly.


The powered industrial truck training program will consist of a combination of formal instruction, practical training, and evaluation of the operator’s performance in the workplace.

The training content will include:

  1. Operating instructions, warnings, and precautions for the types of trucks, the operator will be authorized to operate.
  2. Differences between the truck and the automobile.
  3. Truck controls and instrumentation.
  4. Engine and motor operation.
  5. Steering and maneuvering.
  6. Visibility.
  7. Operation and limitation of fork and attachments.
  8. Vehicles capacity and stability.
  9. Inspection and maintenance requirements.
  10. Refueling and recharging.
  11. Operating limitations.
  12. Surface conditions where the vehicle will be operated.
  13. Compositions of loads and load stability.
  14. Load manipulation, stacking, and un-stacking.
  15. Pedestrian traffic in areas where the vehicle will be operated.
  16. Restricted places where the vehicle will be operated.
  17. Hazardous locations where the vehicle will be operated.
  18. Ramps and other sloped surfaces that could affect the vehicle’s stability.
  19. Closed environments where insufficient ventilation or poor vehicle maintenance could cause a buildup of carbon monoxide or diesel exhaust.
  20. Requirements of 29 CFR 1910.178.


Once an employee has completed the training program, he or she will be evaluated for adequate understanding and skill. The evaluation will include:

  1. A demonstration of proper inspection procedures.
  2. A demonstration of understanding of the hazards of the workplace.
  3. Demonstrations of the ability to drive the vehicle, load the vehicle, and unload the vehicle in a manner that is safe and proper.
  4. A demonstration of understanding of the requirements of this program.


Each powered industrial truck operator must have their performance evaluated at least once every three years. Refresher training will be assigned when any of the following occurs:

  1. The operator has been observed to operate the vehicle in an unsafe manner.
  2. The operator has been involved in an accident or a near miss.
  3. The operator is assigned to drive a different type of vehicle.
  4. The operator has received an evaluation that reveals deficiencies.
  5. A condition in the workplace has changed in a manner that could affect safe operation.


UMW Safety Department and the UMW Warehouse Manager will retain documentation of successfully completed training for every employee. This documentation will include:

  1. Training subjects.
  2. Name a trainer.
  3. Signature of trainer.
  4. Name of the employee.
  5. Signature of employee.
  6. Date of training and of evaluation.


The powered industrial trucks program will be reviewed on a yearly basis. UMW OEMS, in conjunction with the UMW Warehouse Manager, will evaluate the effectiveness of the program, and correct any deficiencies discovered. Employees will have an opportunity to review and comment on this program.