Powered Industrial Vehicles(or Trucks) are used across many industries. Unfortunately many businesses, big and small, fail to follow OSHA guidelines when it comes to these types of machines.
What is considered a powered industrial vehicle?
This can be a piece of equipment that gets power from batteries, propane, gasoline, or other fuel source. The tires can be solid, pneumatic, or cushion. It can be driven inside, outside, or over rough terrain.
OSHA has 7 distinct classes of powered industrial vehicles, and you can see them here.
Electric Motor Rider Trucks is an overly broad classification, let’s look in-depth
Electric Motor Rider Trucks: These are any battery powered vehicle, in which the operator can sit or stand, in which product in handled with forks. Within this class there are many commonly used pieces of equipment:
- Forklift: this is your standard, sit or stand equipment in which the forks go up and down. Some of these can only go to a height of 10-12′, commonly called a dock stocker for use within semi trailers, or other height limited areas. Some of these trucks can reach 300 inches high, commonly called high reach trucks, these are used in warehouses with high racking. The best and safest of these include cameras near the fork guards, so the operator can see where product is going high up.
- Reach Truck: these are generally standing operator trucks, and besides the forks traveling up and down, the forks also travel forward, 2-3 feet. These trucks are good in narrow areas, such as warehouse or store aisles. The height of these trucks can range from short(10-12′) or tall(300″).
- Swing Reach Truck: These are commonly called “Turret Trucks”, in which the operator travels in the air with the load. The forks travel up and down like a standard reach truck, they also move forward like a reach truck, but the forks also swing from side to side, so product can be moved on the sides without turning the truck.
Now, with the equipment better defined, let’s look at the importance of a powered industrial vehicle policy.
A powered industrial vehicle policy is the basis for safe operation of powered industrial equipment within a facility. It establishes standards for operating, training, and discipline. This policy has to be more than lip service, as powered equipment is heavy and dangerous.
The below policy goes further than the basics and includes a short sections on changing/charging batteries, dock safety, and maintenance. This ensures employees are aware of the additional hazards of this equipment.
If your company desires a more robust program, The EHS Center has additional policies, trainings and forms available here.