Forklift Safety Program
Last Updated: 03/06/2018
The purpose of the Injury Illness Prevention Program (IIPP) is to outline Cal Maritime's environmental health and safety requirements, expectations, and responsibilities in order to achieve effective campus safety performance through Integrated Safety Management (ISM). The Forklift Safety Program is a subject specific component the supports the overall University IIPP.
Note: Training Ship Golden Bear (TSGB) is regulated under MARAD. For operations pertaining to the TSGB - Refer to Shoreside Administration Manual (SAM) and Vessel Operations Manual (VOM).
Description: This program guides all aspects of the Forklift and Industrial Lift Truck Safety Program for Cal Maritime. As mandated by Cal/OSHA and other regulatory compliance codes, this program guides compliance with, and application of, all legal requirements for Cal Maritime departments, field stations and work / research operations that use these types of equipment.
Departments that own, lease, rent and/or otherwise operate forklifts and other types of industrial lift trucks must:
- Select and then purchase, lease or rent appropriate equipment for job tasks based upon an work-environment and job-task hazard analysis,
- Train and license personnel who operate the specific type(s) of owned / rented equipment,
- Conduct documented safety inspections and preventive maintenance of the equipment,
- Assure operators adhere to specific safe-work practices whenever using these types of powered industrial equipment, and
- Approve Contractors / Vendors to use forklifts and industrial lift equipment on their premises, and only allow properly licensed contractor / vendor personnel to use Department-owned equipment.
California State University Maritime Academy relies on power industrial trucks for loading, transporting and many other functions.
This program establishes the guidelines to be followed whenever any of our employees work with powered industrial trucks. Cal Maritime will ensure that the requirements of the OSHA Standard are followed. This program is intended to comprehensively address the issues of employee training, authorization, safety requirements, fire protection, new purchase design, maintenance, and other operation of forklift trucks, tractors, platform lift trucks, motorized hand trucks, and other specialized industrial trucks used within our facilities. This program has been established to:
- Provide a safe working environment,
- Govern operator use of powered industrial trucks, and
- Ensure proper care and maintenance of powered industrial trucks.
The procedures here establish uniform requirements designed to ensure that PIT safety training, operation, and maintenance practices are communicated to and understood by the affected employees. These procedures are also in place to safeguard the health and safety of all employees as well as student operators.
This program will be maintained in accordance with 29 CFR 1910.178 and California Code of Regulations, Title 8, section 3668 updated as required. Where no update is required, this program will be reviewed annually. Effective implementation of this program requires support from all levels of management within the company and will be communicated to all employees that are affected by it, regardless of the number of workers employed or the number of shifts worked.
Electric Pallet Jack – An Electric Powered Lift that the operator walks behind that is made for carrying palletized material. It is designed to lift the load 6" or less, and not for stacking or placing the load up into storage racks. Refer to for Pre-Operation Inspection Checklist
Walkie-Stacker – An electric powered device that the operator walks behind that is designed with a mast and is made for transporting palletized materials, with the option of stacking pallets up to four (4) high. Refer to for Pre-Operation Inspection Checklist
High Lift Truck / "Common Forklift" – The most commonly used Powered Industrial Lift. Also referred to as a cantilever type forklift, because it has a counter weight to offset the load it is designed to carry. See Attachment 7 Pre-Operation Inspection Checklist for diesel, gasoline, or propane powered equipment; or Attachment 8 Pre-Operation Inspection Checklist for electric / batteries powered equipment.
Narrow Aisle Lift – The Narrow Aisle Lift operates differently from other lifts in that the operator stands while riding on the lift, with a steering wheel and other controls located near their waist area on most models. The load scissors in and out of the racking system. Powered by propane or electricity / batteries depending upon design / use. Refer to for Pre-Operation Inspection Checklist.
Order Pickers and Stock Pickers – A lift that the operator rides on and can be raised up/down on a platform adjacent to the forks to retrieve items from storage racks. Operators using this device must wear proper fall protection (Body-Harness and Lanyard) in compliance with Cal/OSHA Fall Protection codes. Powered by propane or electricity / batteries depending upon design / use. Refer to for Pre-Operation Inspection Checklist
Peti-Bone – Used to lift large/heavy loads, this lift is all-wheel drive and is made for rough, uneven or steep terrain. Powered by diesel or gasoline. Refer to for Pre-Operation Inspection Checklist
Rough Terrain Lift – These lifts are used mostly on construction sites for their ability to conquer rough terrain and telescope to reach high locations. Powered by diesel, gasoline, or propane depending upon design / use. Refer to for Pre-Operation Inspection Checklist.
The Department identifies specific Department Personnel and others who are allowed to operate the Department's Industrial Lift Trucks. This Operator Roster is used to identify training needs and to identify and limit equipment to safe use for department business activities. This list is updated periodically as the Department manages compliance with this program, when lifting needs and/or equipment changes, and when personnel are enrolled or leave this program. The Department may enroll personnel in the University's Learning Management System.
SRM provides training resources and materials for forklift training and certification. As specified in all forklift truck operators must complete initial training and be evaluated for operation performance prior to being assigned to operate a forklift truck. Refresher performance evaluation is required every three years. Training is to be conducted "under the direct supervision of persons who have the knowledge, training, and experience to train operators and evaluate their competence" within each department.
Assuring Training/Qualification/Retraining of Department Personnel
CalOSHA codes require all powered industrial truck operators employed at Cal Maritime are enrolled in this Forklift / Industrial Lift Truck Program and receive initial training and retraining at a minimum of every three (3) years. The Department enrolls their select personnel in the program, and SRM conducts training and maintains records of all forklift / industrial lift training given at Cal Maritime.
Competent to Operate
Before beginning training, the Operating Department, SRM and Human Recourses will assess if the potential PIT operator is capable of performing duties necessary to be competent and safe driver.
These capabilities include the level at which the operator must:
The operator must first enroll in the authorized University Vehicle Safe Operator Program.
- This requires the operator to be of a minimum age of 18 and in possession of a valid motor vehicle driver's license and complete the defensive driver training course.
Then the operator must:
- See and hear within reasonable acceptable limits. This includes the ability to see at a distance and peripherally. In certain instances, it is also necessary for the driver to discern different colors, primarily red, yellow, and green;
- Endure the physical demands of the job; and
- Endure the environment extremes of the job, such as the ability of the person to work truck, to sit on the vehicle for extended periods of time, and to turn his/her body to look in the direction of travel when driving in reverse.
Once it has been determined that a potential operator is capable of performing PIT duties, the designated PIT trainer will conduct initial training. This instructor must have the necessary knowledge, training and experience to train new PIT operators. It is the responsibility of each supervisor/manager to ensure that all PIT operators in their environment have successfully completed ALL required training.
Written, classroom or online training consists of content as outlined in Cal/OSHA training requirements for Industrial Lift Trucks, is general in nature and includes familiarization with equipment types and components, hazard assessment and mitigation, equipment inspection requirements, load positioning and securing techniques, and other requirements of this program.
Whether classroom or online training is used, a written final exam is administered demonstrating the trainee's understanding of basic Industrial Lift Truck operation and safety. Completion of this final exam with a passing grade of 70% or higher is required before the scheduling of the hands-on/field training. Records of successfully completed exams are kept by the LMS and also optionally by the Department in the trainee's personnel file.
The "Hands-On" training and testing is conducted using the specific Industrial Lift Equipment for which training is occurring under the direct supervision of the SRM trainer who has the knowledge, training and experience to train powered industrial truck operators and evaluate their competence. Field training using a Powered Industrial Lift Truck includes demonstrations performed by the trainer, practical exercises performed by the trainee and observed by the trainer, as well as evaluation of the trainee's successful performance on a standard "skills assessment" course.
Once the classroom portion has been completed, the trainee will complete hands-on training and then must pass the practical exercise with a 90% of better. The corresponding practical test paperwork must be forwarded to the SRM as well as retained within the operating department. All PIT trainees are tested on the equipment they will be driving.
The practical exercise must be dated within 30 calendar days of the completion of classroom training. If that time period expires, the classroom written test becomes void and the training process must be repeated.
In conjunction with hands-on training, the practical instruction should cover the operational hazards of PIT's and their environment, including:
- General hazards that apply to the operation of all or most PITs;
- Hazards of the workplace in general; and
- Hazards of the particular workplace where the vehicle is operated
Training Certification & Licensing
After an employee has completed the classroom and practical training programs, the instructor will issue the operators a license. This card will identify the types of equipment he/she has been certified to use. It will also indicate whether the operator is a certified training. The license must be carried by the operator at all times of PIT operation.
When the trainee successfully completes both written and hands-on testing, SRM certifies and Licenses‟ that the Operator has been trained and evaluated as required by this program and Cal/OSHA law.
The license includes the following:
- The name of the Operator,
- The completion date of the training,
- The date of the evaluation,
- The identity of the person(s) performing the training or evaluation,
- The date the certification expires, and
- The types of industrial trucks the operator(s) is/are "licensed" to operate.
An Operator's License is issued by SRM, is credit-card size, is valid for three years, and must be carried by the Operator whenever he/she is operating an Industrial Lift Truck on Cal Maritime property. Within 90 days of expiration, the Operator is responsible to schedule re-training/licensure with SRM through the LMS, or with their Department's designated person.
Each certified PIT operator is re-certified annually in both classroom and performance tests to verify that he/she has retained and uses the knowledge and skills needed to drive safely.
Refresher training may be triggered by any of the following situations:
- If the operator is involved in an accident or a near-miss accident
- If the operator has been observed driving the vehicle in an unsafe manner
- When the operator is assigned to a different type of truck for which he/she is not currently certified
- When there are changes in the workplace that could affect safe operation of the truck. This could include a different type of paving, reconfiguration of the storage racks, new construction leading to narrower aisles, or restricted visibility.
Refresher training content is determined by the Department Management and/or SRM and is based upon observed hazards, type of equipment, Department need, and work requirements. If an Operator has successfully completed classroom training in the past three years, and such training is appropriate to a new truck and/or working conditions, additional classroom training is not required for the new equipment if the operator has been evaluated in a "hands-on" field training and found competent to operate the new truck or perform in the new working conditions safely.
Current Certified Truck Operators
Under no circumstances shall an employee operate a PIT until he/she has successfully completed this Company's PIT training program. Regardless of claimed previous experience. A current list of employees who are certified as operators is maintained by the Department of Safety & Risk Management.
The operator will still be required to enroll in the University Vehicle Safe Operator Program, complete the defensive driver training course and finally complete the practical demonstration of skills on the equipment they intend to operate.
Per Operation Inspection
OSHA requires operators to perform pre-operational equipment checks on powered industrial trucks prior to the beginning of each shift in which those trucks will be utilized to ensure the safe operating condition of the vehicle. The pre-operational check is performed by completing the Operator's Daily Safety Checklist.
If an item on the inspection checklist does not apply, the employee will check or write N/A. Cal Maritime requires that operators fill out the comment section thoroughly and accurately if there are any operational or visual defects. In doing so, repairs can be made before the truck becomes unsafe to operate. The area supervisor is responsible for keeping all daily truck inspection checklists for each vehicle for 6 months.
At the beginning of each work shift, or prior to using an Industrial Lift Truck for a new work assignment, the Operator conducts a documented "Pre-Operation Inspection". This inspection is specific to the type of lift equipment, and includes visual and auditory inspection of all safety and operational components of the equipment. Results of this inspection are documented on inspection checklists. Please refer to Inspection Checklists to be used for daily inspections of various types of Lift Trucks covered by this program.
Periodic Inspection Procedures
Periodic inspections are in conjunction with the particular PIT's maintenance or service schedule. Maintenance schedules are normally expressed in days and operating or running hours. The Maintenance Department performs these inspections and maintenance.
Most manufacturers' operator instruction manuals contain the recommended maintenance schedule. Inspections and maintenance or repair beyond the recommended service schedules must be done by authorized maintenance and/or third-party service technicians.
Safe Operating Practices
Prior to operation or at the beginning of each shift, review/confirm planned use and needed functions, assess work conditions and document.
1. Check the work area for hazards, and remove/control them prior to operation.
2. Only use a truck designed to safely work in the work-area conditions observed.
3. Review operating instructions, warnings, and precautions for the types of truck being operated.
4. Remember the differences between the lift-truck drive-train/steering and an automobile.
5. Review truck controls and instrumentation. Where are they located, what do they do, and how do they work?
6. Check engine or motor operation.
7. Assure safety systems are working properly i.e. horn, backing alarm, warning lights, etc…
8. Check steering and maneuvering as being sound and solid.
9. Familiarize yourself with visibility (including restrictions due to loading and truck components).
10. Review fork and attachment adaptation, operation, and use limitations.
11. Review vehicle capacity and vehicle stability.
12. Complete vehicle inspection and maintenance that the Operator is required to perform.
13. Check fuel and/or charging and recharging of batteries, and refuel/recharge as needed.
14. Review Lift Truck operating limitations.
15. Review other operating instructions, warnings, or precautions listed in the operator's manual for the types of vehicle that the operator will operate.
16. Alert all persons in the work area of intended work activities and hazards
Securing the Load
- Always place the load against the backrest to help stabilize the load.
- Always place the larger or heaviest part of the load closest to the backrest.
- If carrying wide loads such as lumber or steel, adjust the forks as wide as possible.
- Use ropes or straps to secure the load as needed. But only attach to the Backrest Extension or Apron Carriage.
- Use clamps or wood blocks to keep round objects such as pipes from rolling during transport.
- Never have a person walk in front of the forklift to stabilize a load while the forklift is being driven.
- Use shrink wrap or tape as needed to secure items stacked on pallets.
Conducting the Lift/Carry
- Always evaluate the situation before making a lift.
- Always pickup an object with the heaviest side against the backrest.
- If the load is too large to see around, always drive in reverse.
- Never allow a person to walk or stand between the Lift Truck/load and another object.
- Always carry the load as low as possible and watch for overhead obstructions.
- Always honk the horn at intersections, blind spots, corners, or where pedestrians are near.
To prevent fire or explosion hazards, trainees must be instructed to:
- • Not fuel tanks while the forklift engine is hot, running or smoking.
- • Keep fuels away from ignition sources.
- • Never smoke when near a fuel source or while fueling the forklift.
- • Always wear the proper personal protective equipment while fueling a forklift.
- • Fuel forklifts in a location that has been designated as safe for fueling.
- When changing a liquid petroleum gas (LPG) tank, operators must relieve pressure in the line before disconnecting it by shutting off the tank and running the engine to empty the line.
No Forklift equipment is to be used until any deficiency(s) discovered during a Pre-Operation Inspection are corrected. If a hazardous deficiency is discovered during a Pre-Operation Inspection, the Operator alerts their Supervisor of the condition, and "Tags Out" the equipment from being used by controlling all keys for the vehicle, and placing a "Warning Tag" in the area near the controls with the following information:
- Person's name that has "Tagged Out" the vehicle and has the keys in their possession as well as their contact information.
- Date vehicle was "Tagged Out".
- Reason(s) for "Tagging Out" the vehicle including all noted deficiencies. (A photocopy of the completed inspection form may be taped to the basket or steering wheel if on a vehicle-mounted lift for this purpose.)
- Name and contact information for the Department's responsible person for implementation of this program.
- No repairs are made on any AL/EWP until the equipment and its components are blocked, tagged, locked out or otherwise made safe for repair work to commence according to application of the Hazardous Energy Control Safety Program
High Rack Storage
Freight stored on high racks can be 20 feet or more above the ground which presents special hazards. The lighting in high rack storage areas must be adequate, the floor surface must be smooth and free of cracks, and the forklift operator must have ample space in which to maneuver the forklift. The loads must be balanced, stacked safely, and n forklift operator must take extra care to safely and slowly while stacking or un-st ot tiered too high. The maneuver the forklift acking freight stored on high racks. All forklifts that are used in high rack storage operations must be equipped with overhead protection
Forklift operators should never move a loaded forklift if he or she cannot see in the direction of travel. Travel with the load trailing, if the load blocks the operator's front view. When traveling with a load, the forks should always be carried as low as possible. Operators must be aware of the height of the forklift mast and should watch for low-hanging lights, pipes, ducts, and doorways that could present a hazard. When ascending or descending inclines or ramps, operators should be instructed to drive the forklift slowly with the load upgrade. All employees should be reminded to never pass or stand under the elevated part of a forklift, even when it is unloaded.
Lockout, Tagout, and Blockout
Many workers are injured or killed by failing to lockout, tagout, and blockout the equipment they are operating. Forklift trainees should be given lockout/tagout safety training for cleaning, inspecting and repairing forklifts or when clearing it of obstructions. They should be taught to disconnect the battery during repairs to the primary electrical system and, if the forklift can store residual energy, to discharge the energy before beginning work on the electrical system. Trainees could be pinned or entangled in the equipment if the proper precautions are not taken.
Pedestrians and forklifts are a dangerous combination. If possible, forklift traffic areas should be separated from pedestrian traffic areas by a barrier. All employees should receive training about the dangers of working near forklifts. Forklift operators should use their horns to alert others when they are in the proximity of pedestrians. If the workplace noise level is high, forklifts should be equipped with flashing lights to alert others of their presence
Starting and Dismounting
Before starting the forklift engine, the operator should be seated in the forklift, with the seatbelt fastened. Operators should never start their forklift while standing to the side. Before dismounting, the forklift should be completely stopped with the controls in neutral, the parking brake engaged, and the forks fully lowered. When the operator travels more than 25 feet away from the forklift or if the forklift is out of the operator's sight, it is considered by Cal/OSHA to be "unattended." The power must be shut off with the controls in neutral, the parking brake set, and the forks fully lowered to the ground
Keep work environment as clean and hazard-free as possible. One way to help endure safe workplace conditions is to conduct safety inspections. An employee who has the authority to make corrections should conduct a safety inspection regularly. All floor-to-ground surfaces should be free of cracks, crumbling edges, and other defects. All workplaces should be well lit and free of clutter. If a blind corner is present, it should be eliminated if possible. When operating a forklift outdoors, operators should keep the forklift away from ditches, embankments, and holes.
Required Forklift Safety Postings
All forklift operators must be informed about required forklift safety posting regulations. Cal/OSHA GISO Section 3664 states that: (a) Every employer using industrial trucks or industrial tow tractors shall post and enforce a set of operating rules including the appropriate rules listed in Section 3650(s).
The California State Department of Industrial Relations, Division of Occupational Safety & Health, CCR Title 8 Regulations references the following recommendations regarding personal protective equipment.
- Title 8, California Code of Regulations, General Industry Safety Orders
§1670. Personal Fall Arrest/Restraint Systems
§3384. Hand Protection
§3385. Foot Protection
§3650. Industrial Trucks. General
§3651. Agricultural and Industrial Tractors
§3653. Seat Belts
§3655. Overhead Guards
§3656. Order Pickers and Stock Pickers
§3657. Elevating Employees with Lift Trucks
§3659. Back Guards
§3660. Rated Capacity
§3661. Brakes and Warning Devices