How to Comply with OSHA Forklift Regulations

September 30, 2020

Complying with OSHA forklift regulations helps to prevent dangerous workplace accidents. Trained operators ensure the safety and efficiency of everyone involved in your business.

Warehouse forklift operated by a worker with an OSHA forklift certification

To prevent common hazards, all operators must have an OSHA forklift certification. They will also need to perform forklift inspections before operating the equipment.

Forklifts themselves are a hazard. These heavy lifting machines weigh thousands of pounds and are difficult to maneuver. Plus, they only have brakes in the front, making it harder for them to stop.

That’s why operators must stay up-to-date with OSHA forklift training requirements. Employees need to understand and apply OSHA forklift regulations every time they operate. If they don’t, the consequences fall back on your business.

Failing to follow OSHA forklift regulations leads to large fines. Serious violations can cost you well over $10,000. Willful or repeated violations are even worse, reaching a whopping $130,000.

Forklift Inventory is here to help your business succeed. Learn more about forklift safety rules and how to remain OSHA compliant. Find tips for creating a forklift checklist. Get started establishing a safe work environment today.

OSHA Forklift Training Requirements

Forklift operation comes with tons of responsibility. That’s why OSHA forklift training requirements are so heavily enforced.

To complete OSHA forklift certification, operators must complete both formal and practical training. At the end of the training, they will undergo operational evaluation.

Companies are responsible for ensuring that operators are properly trained. Your business can provide a designated trainer to cover OSHA forklift training requirements on site. Be sure to complete hands-on instruction in an area that will not endanger anyone. Keep the trainee under direct supervision the entire time.

To keep their OSHA forklift certification, operators must be evaluated every three years. Employers will observe the operator in action. They will also ensure the operator is up-to-date on OSHA forklift training requirements.

Refresher training is necessary whenever an operator uses the equipment improperly. Supplemental training is ideal for any incidents of reckless operation.

Forklift Safety Rules

Forklift safety rules exist to keep employees and pedestrians safe. Consider posting a list of critical safety rules for employees to follow. Having everyone on the same page will keep your workplace safe.

Here are some basic forklift safety rules to cover:

  • Operate according to the manufacturer’s guidelines
  • Use forklift safety features when available (ex. seatbelt, mirrors, lights)
  • Do not raise/lower the load while driving
  • Watch out for other vehicles and pedestrians
  • Maintain clear visibility at all times
  • Keep a safe distance from platform edges
  • Never exceed the rated load weight

It’s up to employers to emphasize the importance of these rules. Keep directional signage, safety tips, and forklift checklists posted at all times.

Supervisor observing a forklift operator and performing a forklift inspection

Forklift Inspection

Even when operators act according to proper forklift safety rules, there is still room for error. Performing a daily forklift inspection will prevent any incidents caused by equipment condition.

Create a thorough pre-operation forklift checklist for operators to follow. If an operator finds an issue, take the forklift out of service until maintenance is complete.

During each forklift inspection, be sure to check:

  • Fluid levels
  • Leaks or cracks
  • Tire condition 
  • Tire pressure
  • Fork condition
  • Finger guards
  • Safety features
  • Load backrest extension

Keep in mind that these are only a few points of interest. Do not limit your forklift inspection to this outline. To view an example of a complete forklift checklist, review these samples from OSHA.

If your equipment is in constant need of maintenance, it may be time for a new forklift. No matter how many OSHA forklift regulations you follow, your business isn’t safe with unreliable equipment.

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