Safer Times: The Good Day's Work Blog

Safety Training 101: Powered Industrial Trucks

Posted by Good Day's Work on Mar 10, 2016
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Depending on the size of your operation, chances are good that you need to move heavy loads around. Whether they be skids of seeds, tanks, or other common farm equipment, it is probably a powered industrial truck (PIT) – commonly called a forklift – that you’re going to use for the job.  It may also be a skid steer, payloader or telehandler.  And just like any other heavy farm equipment, operating a forklift comes with its own hazards and concerns.


PIT-animate.jpgConsider the Basics

According to OSHA, forklift operators must undergo a PIT training program and evaluation. This includes on-site training so that the operator can become familiar with the particular conditions with which they will be faced at their worksite. In ag operations such conditions can include aisle ways and pedestrians, operating around other equipment and machinery, and driving on uneven ground, to name just a few. Additionally a forklift operator must be certified by qualified personnel within your operation.

Other Concerns

  • Pedestrian safety. Many forklift accidents involve pedestrians. It’s a good idea to establish clear pathways for forklift and personnel alike in order to minimize blind spots and opportunities for people to cross paths with a forklift while it is in operation.
  • Seatbelts and restraint systems should always be used when operating a forklift, in the event of a tip over.
  • Balanced loads. An improperly balanced load is often the cause of forklift tip overs. Some tips to keep in mind to prevent these kinds of accidents include not exceeding the forklift’s capacity (displayed on its data plate), minimizing the distance between the front wheels and load center, and loading as close to the front wheels as possible. These and other guidelines are available at OSHA’s website.

Care and attention are mandatory when operating powered industrial trucks. By applying both principles, unnecessary accidents can be avoided.

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Topics: powered industrial trucks, OSHA law & compliance

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