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Powered Industrial Truck Training

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29 CFR 1910.178

This OSHA standard specifies training requirements that must be complied with if powered industrial trucks (PIT) are used.  This standard was recently revised to spell out the training requirements and time frames involved

Training Program:

A mandated training program that bases the amount and type of training required on:

  • the operator's prior knowledge and skill;
  • the types of powered industrial trucks the operator will operate in the workplace;
  • the hazards present in the workplace; and
  • the operator's demonstrated ability to operate a powered industrial truck safely.

Training must be a combination of formal instruction (e.g., lecture, discussion, interactive computer learning, videotape, written material), practical training (demonstrations performed by the trainer and practical exercises performed by the trainee), and evaluation of the operator's performance in the workplace.


The training must be conducted by someone with the knowledge, training and experience to train operators and evaluate their performance.


Evaluations of each operator's performance are required as part of the initial and refresher training and at least once every 3 years.

Training Content:

The training program must include the following topics unless the employer can prove that the topic is not applicable.

I. PIT-related Topics:

  • Operating instructions, warnings, and precautions for the types of PIT the operator will be authorized to operate;
  • Differences between the PIT and an automobile;
  • PIT 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)
  • 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; and
  • Any other operating instructions, warnings, or precautions listed in the operator's manual for the types of PIT that the operator is being trained to operate.

II. Workplace-related Topics:

  • Surface conditions where the PIT will be operated;
  • Composition of loads to be carried and load stability;
  • Load manipulation, stacking, and unstacking;
  • Pedestrian traffic in areas where the vehicle will be operated;
  • Narrow aisles and other restricted places where the vehicle will be operated;
  • Hazardous locations where the vehicle will be operated;
  • Ramps and other sloped surfaces that could affect the vehicle's stability;
  • Closed environments and other areas where insufficient ventilation or poor vehicle maintenance could cause a buildup of carbon monoxide or diesel exhaust; and
  • Other unique or potentially hazardous environmental conditions in the workplace that could affect safe operation.

Refresher Training:

Refresher training is required if:

  • the operator is involved in an accident or a near-miss incident;
  • the operator has been observed operating the vehicle in an unsafe manner;
  • it is determined during an evaluation that the operator needs additional training;
  • there are changes in the workplace that could affect the safe operation of the powered industrial truck; or
  • the operator is assigned to operate a different type of truck.

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