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                                                                       Forklift Safety Guide

                                 Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3

                                 Types of Forklifts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4

                                 Training . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8

                                 How a forklift works . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10

                                 Using a forklift . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17

                                 Hazardous Locations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29

                                 Maintenance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32

This book is not designed to substitute for operator training in the operation of
specific forklifts in a specific workplace as required by OSHA regulations. Special
thanks to the state of Washington for the materials they provided in the creation
of this workbook.

Whenever you see this symbol in the book, it means that failure to follow
the instructions can result in serious injury or death.

OSHA standard that regulate forklifts

Safety rules developed under the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA)
regulate the safe use of forklifts and other "powered industrial trucks" in the
workplace can be found in 29 CFR 1910.178. This standard is available at the
OSHA web site:

Forklift Safety 11/03                                                                           Page 2
                                                                 Forklift Safety Guide

A forklift is a powerful tool that allows
one person to precisely lift and place
large heavy loads with little effort.
Using a tool such as a forklift, cart or
hand truck instead of lifting and
carrying items by hand can reduce the
risk that you will suffer a back injury.

However, there is great risk of injury or
death when a forklift operator:

    has not been trained in the principles of physics that allows it to lift heavy

    is not familiar with how a particular forklift operates,

    operates the forklift carelessly, or

    uses a forklift that is not safe due to malfunctioning or missing parts.

Every year nearly 100 workers are killed and 20,000 are seriously injured in
forklift mishaps. According to the National Traumatic Occupational Fatalities
(NTOF) Surveillance System 1530 workers field from forklift related accidents
between 1980 and 2001. At least 22% of these deaths were caused by forklift
overturns and another 20% to workers on foot being struck by the forklift. With
well over one million forklifts in operation today, emphasis must be placed on
both worker and pedestrian safety.

Forklift Safety 11/03                                                                 Page 3
                                                                    Types of Forklifts

A forklift is a type of "powered industrial truck" covered by OSHA standards. Like
other powered industrial trucks, its purpose is to move carry, push, pull, and lift a
material load then stack it or place it in a storage rack (tier). Forklifts come in
many sizes and capacities. They can be powered by batteries, propane, gasoline
or diesel fuel. Some are designed to be used in a hazardous location or
atmosphere where an ordinary forklift might cause a fire or explosion.

Powered industrial trucks are classified into seven types based on their
characteristics. On the next pages are some illustrations of common forklifts that
fit these classes.

     q    Class 1 - Electric Motor, Rider, Counter-Balanced Trucks (Solid &
          Pneumatic Tires)
     q    Class 2 - Electric Motor Narrow Aisle Trucks (Solid Tires)
     q    Class 3 - Electric Motor Hand Trucks or Hand/Rider Trucks (Solid Tires)
     q    Class 4 - Internal Combustion Engine Trucks (Solid Tires)
     q    Class 5 - Internal Combustion Engine Trucks (Pneumatic Tires)
     q    Class 6 - Electric and Internal Combustion Engine Tractors (Solid &
          Pneumatic Tires). There are no forklifts in this class.
     q    Class 7 - Rough Terrain Forklift Trucks (Pneumatic Tires)



                                                                                                  Straddle Leg


    Stand Up Rider: Forklift has a counterbalance          Stand Up Rider Narrow Aisle: The forklift has straddle
    weight in the body. The rider stands inside the body   legs on both sides of the forks to provide stability in the
    of the forklift.                                       absence of a counterweight in the body.

    Example of:                                            Example of: Class 2 Electric Narrow Aisle Truck
    Class 1 Electric Rider Counterbalanced Truck

Forklift Safety 11/03                                                                                         Page 4

                                                                                              Operator Platform

    Stand Up Reach Rider Narrow Aisle: Forks           Stand Up Rider Order Picker: The operator stands
    extend in and out as well up, down, and tilt.      on a platform in front and along with the controls is
                                                       transported to the elevated location.
    Example of: Class 2 Electric Narrow Aisle Truck    Example of: Class 2 Electric Narrow Aisle Truck

                                     Solid Tire

  Sit Down Rider: The forklift has a counterbalance   Motorized Hand Pallet Jack: A low lift (ground
  in the rear.                                        level) unit has forks or a platform. Some models
                                                      allow the operator to stand on the back. Others, like
  Example of:                                         this one are walked.
  Class 1 Truck if electric powered.
  Class 4 Truck if internal combustion (gas, diesel   A high lift version has a mast and straddle legs.
                or LP gas) powered with solid
                tires.                                Example of:
  Class 5 Truck if internal combustion powered        Class 3 Electric Motor Hand/Rider Truck
                with pneumatic tires.

Forklift Safety 11/03                                                                                         Page 5
                         Forklift Operators Must Be Trained

An untrained operator of a forklift can be as dangerous as an unlicensed
operator of a motor vehicle.

OSHA standards require that the employer ensure that a forklift operator is
competent to operate the forklift he or she is assigned to use. The employer must
document operator training and an evaluation of the operator's performance
while using the forklift.

Refresher training must be given if the operator is observed operating the truck in
an unsafe manner, is involved in an accident, near miss, or is assigned a
different type of truck.

                 Forklift operators must be trained
                 in the operating instructions,
                 warnings and precautions for the
                 types of forklifts they will be
                 authorized to use.

Forklift Safety 11/03                                                            Page 8
                                                 How a Forklift Works

Driving a forklift is different than driving a car

In a car or truck the front wheels steer the vehicle. A
forklift has the steering wheels in the rear. The rear end
of the forklift swings in a circle around the front wheels
that support most of the load. The operator must check
that there is room for the rear end to swing when making
turns. This clearance can be maintained in your
workplace by permanently marking aisles with painted
lines or arranging storage racks in a way that creates
obvious aisles for travel. However, these marked aisles
will only be effective if you keep them clear of stored              Mark aisles to help keep
                                                                     adequate clearance for
materials, which can gradually encroach as space is                  forklifts.

A forklift is not as responsive as a car when turning
the steering wheel. Rear steering makes it difficult to
stop a forklift quickly or swerve and still maintain
control. It is important, then not to drive a forklift fast
                                                                                     3,000 lbs
or round corners quickly.
                                                                   9,000 lbs

Driving with the load downhill can result in loss of            A forklift is different from a
the load and control of the forklift.                           car.
                                                                 It's much heavier than a
                                                                     car. The average car
                                                                     weighs about 3,000
                                                                     pounds; an average
                                                                     forklift weighs 9,000
                                                                 A forklift is easier to tip
                                                                     over on a turn whether it
                                                                     is loaded or not.
                                                                 A forklift is not as
                                                                     responsive as a car as it
                                                                     is turned by moving the
                                                                     rear wheels.
                                                                 A forklift can be driven
                                                                     backwards or forwards
      Keep the load uphill to maintain                               equally well.
      control of the forklift.

If you drive a forklift on an incline, you must keep the load on the uphill side.
Otherwise, you may have no weight on the wheels that steer and can lose
control! The load could also fall off or cause the forklift to tip.

Forklift Safety 11/03                                                                            Page 9
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