OSHA Forklift Regulations

forklift driver following osha regulationsIn the first quarter of 2023, OSHA discovered that one workplace’s safety violations led to a trench collapse that resulted in a worker’s death. The company in charge was fined over $375,000. The level of negligence was so high that criminal charges were brought against both the company owner and the equipment operator!

Forklift OSHA regulations are in place to help prevent similar incidents when forklifts are in use. While not every forklift accident can be avoided, most can be prevented when workers know common risks and are empowered with the proper knowledge to navigate those risks safely.

OSHA forklift regulations save lives. Learn more about these important rules and regulations and how they’ll impact your workplace if you need to use a forklift below.

What is OSHA?

OSHA, or the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, was created back in 1970 by the U.S. Congress. The agency was designed with U.S. workers in mind. The main premise of founding the agency was that no worker should choose between earning money and risking their lives.

According to OSHA, workplace safety is a human right.

That being said, OSHA is the federal agency responsible for ensuring that job sites are safe. To accomplish these goals, they’ve passed several different rules and regulations. When it comes to forklifts, OSHA’s website explains how dangerous these machines can be and how to navigate those risks as an employer properly.

OSHA has rules dictate how employees should get trained and how often employees need to recertify. OSHA also has the authority to levy fines and other consequences when they discover employers and businesses in violation of OSHA’s standards.

OSHA Forklift Regulations and Training Requirements

OSHA’s forklift operator training requirements outline who needs forklift certification, the types of forklifts covered, and how training needs to be completed. Here’s an overview of some of these essential standards:

  • Every forklift operator must follow safe operating rules at all times
  • Every forklift operator must be properly trained and certified to operate forklifts
  • Employers have a legal duty to ensure employees are sufficiently trained
  • Training must consist of formal written instruction, practical training, and an in-person skills evaluation
  • Certified trainers must lead the course

Refresher courses must be taken every three years to remain compliant with these requirements. Refresher courses might also be necessary before that time if the forklift operator is involved in an accident or a near-accident.

OSHA Forklift Safety Standards

On top of regulations surrounding forklift operator training, OSHA also has very important safety standards for the equipment. The OSHA forklift standards help ensure that the forklifts operate safely. In general, equipment must be maintained and inspected for safety regularly. You must follow OSHA’s safety standards for maximum efficiency when heavy loads or hazardous materials are involved. Pedestrians are also a concern when your workplace is in a public area. When you follow OSHA’s rules, you ensure the safety of employees and pedestrians.

Forklift Operator Certification Process:

To get your team certified, you must know the proper process OSHA requires. The training program must have the following elements: written instruction, practical training, and an evaluation. There are several training options. Your team can fulfill the written instruction requirement with our online program by going through our online course material. A certified trainer can fulfill the practical training and evaluation requirements. If you don’t have a certified trainer on your team yet, consider ourtrain-a-trainer course, which can help you certify an employee to conduct evaluations. With this kit, you can certify your whole team onsite.

OSHA Inspection and Enforcement

Forklift OSHA requirements also mean that OSHA can randomly inspect your workplace anytime. When an inspection occurs, OSHA will look for potential violations and allow you to correct them.

The best way to stay compliant with OSHA’s rules and regulations is to stay informed. Research what laws apply to your job site or industry, keep checklists, and ensure that employees constantly learn and grow.

The most common OSHA violations in the construction industry include failing to provide fall protection, ladder safety violations, failure to provide respiratory protection, and scaffolding problems.

Benefits of OSHA Compliance

OSHA forklift safety rules are in place for good reason. They help save lives. When employers adhere to safety standards, workplaces become safer, reducing accidents with injuries. While employee safety is most important, there are other benefits of complying, too.

For one, compliance with safety standards equates to reduced legal liability on an employer’s part. If employers aren’t complying, then they’ll likely be considered negligent and thus legally liable for any accident that does happen.

For another, compliance will reduce the chances of getting hit with an OSHA fine.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

Do you have more questions about how OSHA’s standards will impact your next job? Get answers to some of the most frequently asked questions below.

Do Certifications Expire?

Yes. Forklift operator certifications expire every three years. Renewals must be completed the same way the original certification was achieved. If you opt to work with us, you can seek out your team’s renewal for free.

Are You Complying With OSHA’s Standards?

It is of the utmost importance that you strictly adhere to OSHA forklift requirements if you plan to use this equipment on your job site. A failure to take the proper precautions could have serious consequences. For one, not following safety standards increases the chances of an accident. For another, OSHA could fine your company, shut down your worksite, or even prompt a criminal investigation.

One way to maintain compliance is to ensure any forklift operators on your site are fully certified and trained. Check out our products for more details on how they can help you adhere to OSHA’s rules.