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OSHA Proposes Modernized Forklift Design Standards

Posted on 2/22/2022 by Lauren Scott

OSHA proposed to revise its standards for the design and construction of powered industrial trucks (e.g., forklifts) in the Federal Register on February 16.

OSHA adopted its first regulations concerning powered industrial trucks in 1971, based on 1969 consensus standards. Those consensus standards have been updated a dozen times since then, most recently in 2020. 

OSHA's proposed rule takes into account “the most relevant national consensus standards from the American National Standards Institute/Industrial Truck Standards Development Foundation (ANSI/ITSDF),” the agency says. 

The rule would allow exceptions if the employer can demonstrate that the forklift in question was designed and constructed in a way that offers the same level of protection or more than ANSI/ITSDF standards.

OSHA will accept comments on the proposed rule until May 17. Comments may be electronically submitted via the Federal eRulemaking Portal.

More Than Forklifts

OSHA defines powered industrial trucks as vehicles:

  • Controlled by a riding operator, or
  • Remotely controlled, or
  • Controlled by an operate standing alongside

In addition to the typical forklift, the powered industrial truck regulations can apply to vehicles like powered pallet jacks, shopping cart caddies, order pickers, and other similar machines.

OSHA commonly lists forklift accidents as one of the top ten workplace health and safety concerns in the US each year (Top 10 OSHA Violations of 2021). 

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