Forklift Operator Training
29 CFR 1910.178

Is Forklift Training Necessary?
About 100 deaths each year
About 95,000 accidents each year
training standard

Forklift Operating Goals
Hazards and forklift stability
Inspecting and operating a forklift

Authorized Operator
Only trained and authorized personnel are permitted to operate a forklift
Keep unauthorized employees off of forklifts
Keep pedestrians away from the operating zone of a forklift
Lock out unsafe lifts as determined in a preoperation inspection

Operating Hazards
Workplace hazards:  ramps, railroad tracks, slippery floors, poor lighting, congestion
Loads:  large or bulky, uneven weight, broken pallets, poorly stacked
Pedestrians:  horseplay, unaware of forklift areas, not paying attention

OSHA requires a legible nameplate
Includes modifications & attachments
Load center

Center of Gravity
Balance point

Load Center
Distance from vertical face of the forks
to the load’s center of gravity
A: Load center = 24"
B: Load center = 40"

Stability Triangle
3-point suspension

Combined Actions
Center of gravity moves
 side to side

operator training
Weight of
load center

Tipping Over
Do not jump
Hold onto the steering wheel
Brace your feet
Lean away from the fall

Forklift Operating Goals
Hazards and forklift
Inspecting and
operating a forklift

Preoperation Inspection
As an authorized operator, it is your responsibility to make sure your forklift functions properly
OSHA requires preoperation inspections
Company wants to comply with OSHA and be sure equipment is maintained

Walk Around
Forklift properly disengaged
Forks down, key off, neutral gear, parking brake on
Left/right side
Tire condition, tight lug nuts, no debris around axle, overhead guard is solid, no debris behind the mast
Forks in good shape, fork pins in place, backrest solid, mast & chains greased, hoses in good shape
Counterbalance bolt is tight, radiator clear of debris

In the Seat
Nonmoving checks
Gauges, lights, horn, back-up alarm, blinking warning light, operate the tilt & lift mechanism, check the parking brake
Moving checks
Put on the seat belt, check the running brakes,
check the steering
Look for oil or water leaks on the floor

Operating a Lift Truck
Only trained, authorized operators
Immediately report forklift-related accidents
Seat belts must always be worn
No person should stand under elevated
portion of lift truck
Forklift controls operated only from
driver’s seat
Never block exits or emergency equipment
Smoking is not permitted

Before raising a load, understand:
Approximate weight of the load
Location of the load’s center of gravity
Inspect load for stability, projections,
damaged pallets before lifting
Restack unstable loads
Never place weight on the back of
a lift truck to increase its capacity
Towing always done from rear towing pin

Always look in the direction of travel
Keep body inside the cage
When moving, the mast must not be raised
Sound the horn
Operate at safe speeds
When turning, watch rear end swing
Clearance under overhead installations

Traveling (cont.)
Avoid loose objects or holes
If load blocks view, travel in reverse
Never carry passengers
Pedestrians always have the right-of-way
Safe distance from edge of ramps or docks
Never eat or drink
No stunt driving or horseplay

Ramps and Railroads
Never turn on a ramp
On ramps the load should be upgrade
Ascend or descend ramps slowly
Railroad tracks are crossed diagonally
Never park within 8 feet of the center of railroad tracks

Inspect the dock plate
Check the trailer floor condition
Trailer wheels are chocked
Nose of the trailer is supported
by the tractor or a fixed jack

Lower the forks
Set gear to neutral
Set the parking brake
Turn off the key

Propane Refueling
Propane is a combustible, compressed gas
Propane leaks are detected by:
Distinct odor
Hissing sound
Frost on fittings
PPE:  gloves, safety glasses

Battery Charging
Inspect battery connectors for damage
No smoking in battery-charging area
Immediately clean up electrolyte spills
PPE includes face mask, acid-resistant
gloves, and an apron

Forklift Operating Goals
Hazards and Forklift Stability
Inspecting and Operating a Forklift

Facility hazards
Load center and capacity
Preoperation inspection
Rules of the road

1. If your forklift has a rearview mirror,
looking behind you is not necessary.   True or False
2. Name two of the three ways to detect
a propane leak: _______________, _______________
3. Describe the four items that must be completed
prior to driving your forklift into a trailer.
4. If a load blocks your vision, it is OK to raise
the load while moving to see under it.  True or False
5. Preoperation inspections are done only
because OSHA says we have to do them. True or False

Quiz (cont.)
6. Attachments reduce capacity by increasing
the load center and adding weight. True or False
7. Minimum PPE items required when refueling
a propane tank are ___________, ____________.
8. The most important differences between a
forklift and a car are weight and steering. True or False
9. Name at least one condition that when
combined with turning sharply may cause a tipover.
10. Pedestrians have the right-of-way only
while in designated pedestrian lanes.       True or False

Quiz Answers
1. False.  You must always look behind you before backing up.
2. Hissing sound, distinct odor, or frost on fittings.
3. Chock the wheels, support the nose of the trailer, inspect the dock plate, check the trailer floor.
4. False.  Never drive with the load up. Drive in reverse when the load obstructs forward vision.
5. False.  Inspections are also done so that the operator can prevent mechanical failure accidents and because the company needs to prove compliance with OSHA’s requirement.

Quiz Answers (cont.)
6. True.  Attachments are heavy, and they cause
the load center to move away from the forklift.
7. Gloves and safety glasses are the minimum PPE required.
8. True.  There are many differences, but the most significant are weight and steering.
9. Hitting a pothole, carrying an off-center load,
getting a flat tire, having a raised & tilted back
load, or being on a ramp.
10. False.  Pedestrians always have the right of way.