SEC-026: Powered Industrial Truck (PIT) Operation
To prevent injury and damage resulting from the misuse of powered industrial trucks (PITs) through operator safety training and following procedures for safe operations, equipment maintenance and awareness of the work environment.
All Powered Industrial Truck (PIT) operators shall be educated through classroom and hands-on training so that they are proficient in safely operating their assigned PIT.
Powered Industrial Truck (PIT):
Any mobile power-propelled (e.g., electric or fuel) truck used to carry, push, pull, lift, stack or tier materials. PITs can be ridden or controlled by a walking operator. Earth-moving and over-the-road haulage trucks are not included in this definition. Examples of PITs include: forklift trucks, narrow aisle rider trucks, straddle stackers and walking pallet trucks.
Train the Trainer (TtT):
The designated department trainer who has the knowledge, classroom training certification and experience to train others on how to safely operate the powered industrial truck used in the department. The TtT is responsible for investigating any incident that may occur with the department’s PIT and resolving how to prevent any future reoccurrence.
All Powered Industrial Truck (PIT) operators shall be educated through classroom and hands-on training so that they are informed, confident and proficient in safely operating the PIT to which they have been assigned.
Certification requirements include successful training in the fundamentals and operation of the PIT and evaluation of sufficient skills for safe operation upon completion of Supervised Hands-On training by the designated Train the Trainer (TtT). Both criteria must be met before qualification to operate the PIT without supervision. Supervised Hands-On training consists of training on the PIT that is supervised and facilitated by a certified forklift TtT in order to familiarize the operator on the fuel system, controls and safe PIT operation. Documentation of the operator’s training and evaluation dates, including the trainer’s name, must be maintained in the operator’s personnel file.
Certified operators must participate in a hands-on re-evaluation every three (3) years by the TtT to maintain certification. The Operator will drive the PIT and perform operations as determined by the TtT such as moving a load and maneuvering through a course with cones. The TtT should alert the Operator of any known incidents (any unsafe act performed by the operator, all near misses - passerby or operator could have been injured or property has been damaged - and all accidents involving PITs) and make the Operator aware of how to prevent this situation from reoccurring. If the TtT determines the operator’s skills are deficient during the re-evaluation, additional Supervised Hands-On training is required to improve the Operator's proficiency to maintain certification.
Infrequent PIT Operators should participate in Supervised Hands-on re-evaluations more frequently to maintain proficiency (i.e. annually). Operators reassigned to a different type of PIT with which they are unfamiliar must receive Supervised Hands-On training by the TtT for certification on the new PIT.
EHS can assist the department’s designated TtT with information on classroom certification to carry out TtT oversight and training duties. EHS will do the TtT’s three-year hands-on re-evaluations so that he/she can maintain certification. EHS will also provide resources for the TtT to do classroom training for new Operators who need to become certified.
Department heads, management, supervisors and any designated department forklift TtT must provide a safe working environment for employees under their direction. To facilitate providing safe work conditions for designated PIT Operators, department line management must meet all of the following:
- Training Requirements:
- Verify or coordinate PIT Operator certification. Supervisors must ensure that their designated PIT Operators participate in the three-year hands-on re-evaluations to maintain certification. An operator with deficient skills during an evaluation must attend additional Supervised Hands-On training to improve proficiency.
- Additional training is required whenever there are modifications or attachments made to the PIT. All modifications and attachments must be approved by the manufacturer and any new information on Load Capacity must be posted on the PIT. Departments should contact the equipment manufacturer (or equipment representative) who made the modifications or sold the attachments for assistance and training needs.
- All PIT Operators must be certified through proper training and successful evaluation of skills on the PIT they have been assigned to operate. All PIT Operators must participate in hands-on re-evaluations to maintain their certification; every three years for routine operators and more frequent re-evaluations are encouraged (i.e., annual basis) for infrequent operators. Operators with deficient skills will not be re-certified until successful completion of Supervised Hands-On training by the department’s designated TtT. Training services are also available from the equipment manufacturer or representative.
- All certified PIT Operators are strongly encouraged to maintain their training knowledge and skills. This can be accomplished by operating the PIT to which they have been assigned on a routine basis.
- Additional training is required whenever there are modifications or attachments made to the PIT. All modifications and attachments must be approved by the manufacturer and any new information on Load Capacity must be posted on the PIT.
- PIT Operators must report all incidents involving the PIT they are operating to the department TtT. The TtT will investigate and resolve how to prevent repeating incidents that could lead to serious injuries and property damage. The Operator is encouraged to participate in the investigation.
- Operators that have been involved in an incident with a PIT must participate in retraining as required by OSHA. Retraining must be targeted to the specific incident in a sufficient way to prevent the re-occurrence of similar incidents.
- PIT Operators will perform Pre-Operations Safety Checks on their PIT that include, but are not limited to, the fuel system, controls and warning systems, as required by regulations and the PIT Equipment Manufacturer. During Pre-Op Safety Checks, operators will make sure all warning labels are posted and legible and all guards are in place.
- PIT Operators will wear assigned Personal Protective Equipment as required by their supervisor, the TtT, EHS or the Equipment Instruction Manual, including personal restraint system if installed (e.g., seat belt).
- PIT Operators are prohibited from using a PIT in an unsafe manner or outside of the specifications and guidelines determined by the PIT Equipment Manufacturer.
- PIT Operators must follow the terms of the Commonwealth of Virginia’s Policy 1.05, Alcohol and Other Drugs.
- Pre-Use Safety Check Lists – Supervisors or the TtT must instruct designated employees to complete Pre-Use Safety Check Lists as determined by the department. Routinely, PIT equipment manufacturers have Safety Inspection Guidelines available in the Operator’s Manual. Assistance on Pre-Use Safety Check Lists is available from EHS.
- Warning Labels and Guards – Supervisors or the TtT must ensure that all the equipment manufacturer’s warning labels (i.e., capacity, operation and maintenance plates, pinch points, etc.) are legibly posted and all guards are in place and functional. Modifications or additions to PIT(s) are not allowed unless they have been specified by the equipment manufacturer. All appropriate plates and tags for any modifications or additions approved by the manufacturer must be posted on the PIT.
- Unsafe Operations Prohibited – Supervisors or the TtT must oversee that designated operators do not perform any operations on PIT(s) that are prohibited or outside of the specifications or guidelines of the equipment manufacturer. Operators must comply with the terms of the Commonwealth of Virginia’s Policy 1.05, Alcohol and Other Drugs.
- Hazards Assessment – Supervisors or the TtT must perform/request a Hazards Assessment of the work area and conditions where the operator will be handling and loading materials. Specific concerns include but are not limited to: handling potentially toxic materials, fueling or battery charging, fall protection and overhead stacking. This assessment will help determine the need for personal protective equipment or emergency shower and eyewash units. Assistance is available from EHS.
- Accident Investigation and Incident Reporting:
- Accidents – EHS is available to assist the department and TtT with an accident investigation involving a PIT. In the event of an injury, provide immediate medical assistance to the employee. Contact the Human Resources Workers Compensation Specialists for assistance and access to forms.
- Incidents – All incidents involving a PIT must be reported to the TtT, manager or supervisor so that the TtT can complete an investigation.
- Retraining – Operators that have been involved in an incident with a PIT must participate in retraining as required by OSHA. Retraining should be carried out in a timely manner and must be targeted to the specific incident in a sufficient way to prevent a re-occurrence. Work practices to be performed by the operator, or changes that can be made in the work environment that will prevent similar incidents from occurring, should be the focus.
- Documentation of Retraining – This training and/or action with the employee can be determined by the supervisor and the TtT. A brief written summary of the training, discussion or action taken is adequate documentation.