1. Purpose

a) Our "Powered Industrial Truck Program" has been established in accordance with OSHA 1910.178 in order to establish operator certification, to establish safe operating procedures, and to establish minimum maintenance practices.

2. Scope

a) This program applies to all employees having responsibility for operating or maintaining powered industrial trucks.

b) A powered industrial truck is defined as any forklift, powered pallet jack, platform lift, tractor, or other specialized industrial truck powered by electric motors or internal combustion engine.  This program does not apply to any farm equipment or any vehicle intended primarily for earth moving or over-the-road hauling.

3. Responsibilities

a) The ESCO Group Safety Director is the administrator of our Power Industrial Truck program

b) Administrator’s responsibilities will include:

i. Ensuring that this program is implemented at their facility.

ii. Ensure that only trained and authorized employees are permitted to operate powered industrial trucks.

iii. Ensure that operators who have completed the training be evaluated while they operate the powered industrial truck in the workplace.

iv. Ensure operators are re-certified every three years, or in the event of an accident, near miss, unsafe use of powered industrial trucks, or any change in the workplace or equipment that affect the operation of the powered industrial truck.

v. Ensure that an operator’s manual for the powered industrial truck is available on the powered industrial truck.

vi. Ensure that all powered industrial trucks are operated and maintained in accordance with this program.

vii. Ensure that daily inspections, using an inspection checklist are performed and recorded.

viii. Ensuring that any defect affecting the safety of the powered industrial truck is corrected before the truck is returned to service.

ix. Ensure that this program is maintained to current applicable regulations and/or laws.

x. Ensure that the forklift instructor maintains his/her qualifications to be a qualified instructor.

c) Operator Responsibilities will include:

i. Adhering to all policies and procedures outlined in the program.

ii. Follow all operating practices and procedures when operating powered industrial trucks.

iii. Being familiar with the information contained in the Powered Industrial Truck Operator’s manual.

iv. Conduct daily inspections (using Appendix 8) and recording the daily inspection on the inspection checklist.

v. Immediately report any defect that adversely affects the safety of the Powered Industrial Truck to the supervisor or plan administrator.

4. Training

a) Only trained and authorized operators are permitted to operate a powered industrial truck.  Training will at a minimum, include:

i. Classroom Training

1. A review of our written powered industrial truck program and operator's manual for the powered industrial truck.  This will include all applicable warnings and precautions for the type of truck to be operated.

2. Safe operating maintenance practices and procedures (Page 3).

3. Daily inspection procedures/reporting requirements.

4. Characteristics and specifications of the individual powered industrial trucks to be operated by the employee, including truck controls and instrument procedures and controls.

5. General and specific hazards of the workplace.

6. Fueling/battery changing and charging procedures.

ii. Written Test (Appendix 8)

iii. Operator’s Skills Test (Page 11)

1. Truck operations

2. Traveling skills

3. Loading procedures - i.e., selecting, moving and stacking loads

4. Powered industrial truck inspection

5. Refueling or battery changing/charging

iv. Refresher Training

1. Training of the operators of powered industrial trucks will be repeated every three years or in the event of an accident, near miss, unsafe operation, or change in workplace conditions.

5. Powered Industrial Truck Operations

a) Overview: Powered industrial trucks, or forklifts, are specialized vehicles designed for heavy lifting, moving, stacking or tiering, and loading or unloading of various materials or loads. Some hazards associated with forklift operations include tipping over, falling off loading docks and driving into equipment or other employees.  A forklift is driven differently than a car, unloaded they are generally heavier than a car and due to their rear wheel steering offer a tighter turning radius.

i. Unauthorized personnel are not permitted to operate or ride on powered industrial trucks.

ii. Stunt driving and horseplay is not permitted.

iii. Fire exits, access to stairways, and fire equipment shall remain accessible.

iv. When the operator dismounts the powered industrial truck, the forks shall be lowered to floor level, controls neutralized, and hand or parking brake set.

v. When the operator is more the 25 feet away from or out of direct view of the powered industrial truck, the forks shall be lowered to floor level, controls neutralized, hand or parking brake set, and ignition turned off. The wheels shall be blocked if parked on an incline. 

vi. All powered industrial trucks shall have an overhead guard to protect the operator against falling objects. This guard is intended to offer protection from small objects, packages, or items that make up the load. This guard is not designed to protect from the entire load.

vii. A load backrest shall be used to prevent the load from falling rearwards.

viii. All traffic regulations must be observed, including plant speed limits. A distance of at least three truck lengths must be maintained between moving powered industrial truck.

ix. The right of way shall be yielded to ambulances, fire trucks, or other vehicles in emergency situations.

x. The operator must slow down and sound the horn when crossing intersections or other locations where vision is obstructed. 

xi. The driver must look in the direction of, and keep a clear view of the line of travel.

xii. Under all travel conditions the truck must always be operated at a speed that will allow it to be brought to a stop in a safe manner.

xiii. The driver should avoid wet or slippery floors, and drive slowly if unable to do so.

xiv. All personnel must avoid standing or walking beneath any elevated portion of the truck, whether loaded or not.

xv. The operator must keep arms and legs within the running lines of the forklift at all times.

xvi. Running over hoses, cords or loose objects must be avoided.

xvii. While negotiating turns, speed shall be reduced to a safe level and the steering wheel shall be turned at a moderate, even rate.

xviii. Only approved powered industrial trucks will be used in hazardous locations.

xix. Passengers are not permitted to ride on the forklift unless the forklift is properly equipped with additional seat and restraint.

6. Loading and Unloading

a) The greatest danger is during the process of loading, moving, and unloading the powered industrial truck. The operator of the truck must consider the size and shape of the cargo or load, adjustments to the lifting apparatus, destination and route to be taken. A loaded fork truck will have its center of gravity shifted forward from point ‘A’ to point ‘B’, if the load capacity is exceeded point ‘B’ will shift beyond the front axle and cause the truck to tip forwards. The same precautions must be taken when considering the center of gravity to each side of the forklift, an unevenly distributed load or unstable road surface can cause the trucks center of gravity to extend outside the wheel base area and cause the unit to tip sideways.

i. Only stable or safely arranged loads shall be handled. Caution shall be exercised when handling loads that cannot be centered.

ii. Only loads within the rated capacity of the truck shall be handled.

iii. A load engaging means shall be placed under the load as far as possible; the mast shall be carefully tilted backwards to stabilize the load.

iv. If the load being carried obstructs forward vision, the operator shall be required to drive with the load trailing.

v. Operate on grades slowly and keep the load upgrade when descending or ascending grades in excess of 10%.

vi. Powered industrial trucks must enter elevators or other confined areas with the load end forward.

vii. Extreme care shall be used when tilting the load forward or backward, particularly when high tiering. Tilting forward with the load engaging means elevated shall be prohibited except to pick up a load. An elevated load shall not be tilted forward except when the load is in a deposit position over a rack or stack. When stacking or tiering, only enough backward tilt to stabilize the load shall be used.

viii. No person shall be allowed to stand or pass under the elevated portion of any truck whether loaded or unloaded.

ix. A safe distance must be maintained from the edge of ramps or platforms while on any elevated dock, or platform or freight car. Trucks shall not be used for opening or closing freight doors.

x. When loading or unloading trailers, trucks or rail cars brakes must be set and wheel blocks must be in place to prevent movement of the trailer or car. Fixed jacks may be necessary to support a semi-trailer during loading and unloading if the trailer is not coupled to a truck. All trailer, truck, rail car floors and dock plates shall be inspected for cracks or faults before they are driven onto. Dock plates must be properly secured before they are driven over.

xi. When placing dock plates manually they shall be lowered or slid into place, never dropped. When moving large plates, ask for help or use a fork truck to assist.

xii. Dock plates shall have a raised edge or a 3-inch painted stripe on each side to warn the fork truck operator away from the sides of the dock plate.

7. Fueling and Battery Changing

a) Any refueling or recharging operation presents special hazards.  The electrolyte in a battery can cause an accidental spill just as the transfer of gasoline or diesel fuel.  Battery charging will produce explosive hydrogen gas and gasoline will create an explosive vapor.

i. Facilities shall be provided for fueling or recharging forklifts which allow for spill containment, fire protection, ventilation, and equipment protection from damage due to trucks.

ii. Forklifts shall be properly positioned with brakes applied and engine off before attempting to fuel or recharge.

iii. Smoking shall be prohibited in fueling and recharging stations. Precautions shall be taken to prevent open flame, sparks. Or electrical arc in fueling and recharging stations.

iv. Personal protective equipment, including but not limited to safety glasses and protective gloves, shall be worn when fueling or recharging forklifts.

b) Gas or Diesel Powered Units

i. Know which fuel to use.

ii. Do not overfill tanks. In the event of a fuel spill follow procedures to contain and remove spill.  Do not operate a truck in any area where a fuel spill on leak has occurred until it has been cleaned up and the source corrected.

iii. Replace fuel cap.

c) Propane Powered Units

i. Allow engine to run while closing tank valve to prevent propane from being left in line. Shut off ignition after engine stops.

ii. Inspect tank valve and line seal prior to installing new tank.

iii. If a propane leak is detected on a unit, that forklift is to be immediately removed from service. A leak can be detected by smell. 

iv. All propane tanks are to be stored in an open, well-ventilated area to prevent gas accumulation. Propane is a heavier then air gas that will accumulate at floor level. Outdoor secured storage is highly advisable.

d) Electrical Powered Units

i. Uncover battery compartments to prevent heat buildup and hydrogen gas accumulation.
ii. Ensure vent caps are not blocked

iii. Ensure battery-charging unit is off when connecting or disconnecting cables or leads.

iv. Precautions shall be taken to prevent tools or metal objects from contacting exposed battery terminals during recharging or maintenance.

v. Use overhead hoist, conveyors, or similar equipment when removing batteries to prevent personal injury.

8. Maintenance of Forklifts

a) Powered industrial trucks are designed and manufactured to operate within specific limits as defined by the manufacturer. The powered industrial truck should never be altered or modified in a manner that attempts to change the design characteristics without written approval from the manufacturer. The operator will be responsible for the powered industrial truck and ensuring it is returned in good condition.  The maintenance crew for the powered industrial truck must be trained authorized.

i. Inspections shall be performed daily using the inspection checklist (Appendix II). Forklifts shall not be placed in service if the inspection shows any condition adversely affecting the safety of the truck. 

ii. If at any time a forklift is found to be in need of repair, defective, or in any way unsafe, the forklift shall be taken out of service until it has been restored to a safe operating condition.

iii. All repairs shall be made by authorized personnel only.

iv. Repairs to forklift fuel systems will be performed in locations so designated as to provide adequate fire protection and appropriate ventilation.

v. Repairs the forklift electrical systems shall be performed only after the power supply has been disconnected.

vi. All forklift replacement parts shall provide equal or greater safety then the original part.

vii. Forklift modifications including but not limited to the removal or addition of equipment, altering center of gravity or the addition of counter weight shall not be permitted unless approved by the forklift manufacturer in writing.

viii. Water mufflers shall be inspected daily to ensure they are at a safe level (3/4 full minimum). Forklifts equipped with mufflers having screens, baffles or other parts that may become clogged shall not be operated when these parts show residue buildup.

ix. Any vehicle that emits sparks, flame or excessive fumes or heat shall immediately be removed from service.

x. All forklifts shall be kept in a clean condition, free of oil, grease, rags or other unnecessary material. Cleaning shall be performed with consideration given to the solvent being used and the ventilation, drainage, and fire hazards associated with the solvent.

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