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These are some highlights of the forklift standard, 29 CFR 1910.178, that requires training for many workers by Dec. 1, 1999:
- Employees may be allowed to operate forklifts and other powered industrial trucks while they undergo training and as part of their training, but only under certain conditions. The trainee must be under the "direct supervision" of others who have the knowledge, training, and experience to train forklift operators and evaluate their performance. The trainee must be operating the vehicle in an area where other workers are not endangered and where the setting does not pose a hazard to the trainee.
- The training must consist of a combination of formal instruction (such as lectures, videotapes, or written materials), practical training (such as demonstrations by the trainer and hands-on exercises by the trainee), and an evaluation afterward.
- The training program must contain these elements:
— operating instructions, warnings, and precautions for the types of truck the operator will be using;
— differences between the truck and an automobile;
— truck controls and instrumentation, including where they are located, what they do, and how they work;
— engine or motor operation;
— steering and maneuvering;
— visibility, including restrictions due to load;
— vehicle capacity;
— any vehicle inspection and maintenance that the operator will be required to perform;
— refueling and/or recharging of batteries;
— operating limitations;
— any other instructions, warnings, or precautions in the vehicle’s operating manual.
The standard also requires that the training includes a number of workplace-related issues, such as pedestrian traffic and narrow aisles in the employer’s workplace.
-Refresher training and re-evaluation is required in these situations:
— The operator is observed operating the vehicle in an unsafe manner.
— The operator has been involved in an accident or a near-miss.
— An evaluation reveals the employee is not operating the truck safely.
— The operator is assigned to drive a different type of truck than those on which he or she was trained.
— Conditions in the workplace change so that the operator needs further training for safe operation of the truck.
Note: Refresher training need not be a repeat of the entire training that the operator previously received. That is acceptable, of course, but the employer also can provide a refresher only on relevant topics.
Source: Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Washington, DC.