What are powered industrial trucks?

Powered industrial trucks, commonly called forklifts or lift trucks, are used in many industries, primarily to move materials. They can also be used to raise, lower, or remove large objects or a number of smaller objects on pallets or in boxes, crates, or other containers. Powered industrial trucks can either be ridden by the operator or controlled by a walking operator. Over-the-road haulage trucks and earth-moving equipment that has been modified to accept forks are not considered powered industrial trucks.

Training Program Content

Powered industrial truck operators shall receive initial training in the following topics, except in topics which the employer can demonstrate are not applicable to safe operation of the truck in the employer's workplace. [29 CFR 1910.178(l)(3)]

Truck-related Course Topics: [29 CFR 1910.178(l)(3)(i)]

  • Operating instructions, warnings, and precautions for the types of truck the operator will be authorized to operate.
  • Differences between the truck and the automobile.
  • Truck controls and instrumentation: where they are located, what they do, and how they work.
  • Engine or motor operation.
  • Steering and maneuvering.
  • Visibility (including restrictions due to loading).
  • Spotter & hand signal evaluation.
  • Fork and attachment adaptation, operation, and use limitations.
  • Vehicle capacity.
  • Vehicle stability.
  • Any vehicle inspection and maintenance that the operator will be required to perform.
  • Refueling and/or charging and recharging of batteries.
  • Operating limitations.

Employers must certify that each operator has been trained and evaluated in accordance with the OSHA standard. [29 CFR 1910.178(l)(6)]

The certification must include:

  • Operator name, Evaluation date, Training date, Name of person(s) performing the training or evaluation.

Refresher training and evaluation: [29 CFR 1910.178(l)(4)]

Refresher training, including an evaluation of the effectiveness of that training, shall be conducted to ensure that the operator has the knowledge and skills needed to operate the powered industrial truck safely. Refresher training in relevant topics shall be provided to the operator when:

  • The operator has been observed to operate the vehicle in an unsafe manner.
  • The operator has been involved in an accident or near-miss incident.
  • The operator has received an evaluation that reveals that the operator is not operating the truck safely.
  • The operator is assigned to drive a different type of truck.
  • A condition in the workplace changes in a manner that could affect safe operation of the truck.

Each operator's performance must be evaluated at least once every three years.

Target Audience: This program is for any person who operates any of the powered industrial trucks 7 class types of Forklift or any person who intends to operate a Forklift, from the new hire to the supervisor.


Workers should take a refresher training if any of the following conditions occur:

  • An accident occurs during forklift use,
  • Workplace hazards involving an forklift are discovered, or
  • A different type of forklift is used.

Employers are also required to retrain workers who they observe operating an forklift improperly.

Instructor to Student Ratio: 1:10

Length: 4-6 Hours

Pre Requisites: 18+ Years of age.