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Policy: Powered Industrial Truck (PIT) Operation 

Date: 07/25/05 Policy ID: SEC-026 Status: Final

Policy Type: University
Contact Office: Environmental Health and Safety
Oversight Executive: Vice President for Research
Applies To: 

Academic Division, the Medical Center and the College at Wise.

Table of Contents: 

Policy Statement
Training Requirements


Requirement for PIT Operator
PIT Operators and Work Environment
Accident Investigation and Incident Reporting

Reason for Policy:  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.
Policy Summary:  All Powered Industrial Truck (PIT) operators shall be educated and trained so that they are proficient in safely operating their assigned PIT.
Definition of Terms in Statement: 

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.

Accident Investigation: An investigation of an accident involving a PIT in order to determine the facts that caused or may have caused the accident and subsequent recommendations for appropriate action to prevent a similar accident from occurring.

Certification: 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. Both criteria must be met before qualification to operate the PIT without supervision. Documentation of the operator’s training and evaluation dates, including the trainer’s name, must be maintained in the operator’s personnel file.

Designated Department Safety Coordinator: The individual designated by the department to: coordinate PIT Operator training, safe operation of PITs and Incident Reporting. This individual will work in cooperation with Environmental Health & Safety (EHS).

Incidents with PITs: Incidents include any unsafe act performed by the operator, all near misses (i.e., passerby or operator could have been injured or property has been damaged) and all accidents involving PITs.

Refresher Training: Certified operators must participate in periodic refresher training to maintain certification that will include updates (internal and regulatory), review of accidents and near misses reported in the last year, operations and equipment issues and a skills proficiency evaluation. Infrequent PIT operators should participate in this type of training annually.  Frequent PIT operators will participate in training every three years.  Refresher training must be facilitated by a certified forklift Train the Trainer.

Retraining: Mandatory training is required by OSHA if an operator is involved in an incident (near misses and accidents) with a PIT. This training must be targeted to the specific incidence in a sufficient way to prevent the occurrence of similar incidences.

Supervised Hands-On Training: Training on the PIT that is supervised and facilitated by a certified forklift Train the Trainer in order to familiarize the operator on the fuel system, controls and safe PIT operation.

Train the Trainer (TtT): The designated department trainer who has the knowledge, training and experience to train others on how to operate safely the powered industrial truck used in the department.
Policy Statement: 

All PIT operators shall be educated so that they are informed, confident and proficient in safely operating the PIT to which they have been assigned. New (first-time) operators and operators reassigned to a different type of PIT with which they are unfamiliar must receive Supervised Hands-On training. If an operator’s skills are deemed deficient during ongoing evaluations, to maintain certification, Supervised Hands-On training is required to improve the operator's proficiency.

EHS will facilitate Operator Safety training to meet certification and refresher training requirements and be available for assistance in implementing policy requirements.

Designated Department Safety Coordinator or department designated forklift Train the Trainer (TtT), manager or supervisor will assist line management and EHS in coordinating all levels of operator safety training; and communicating any significant PIT incidences or trends that have occurred within the department to EHS.

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:

  1. Training Requirements:
    1. Verify or coordinate PIT Operator certification.
    2. Supervisors must ensure that their designated PIT Operators attend the appropriate Refresher training to maintain certification. An operator with deficient skills during an evaluation must attend additional Supervised Hands-On training to improve proficiency.
    3. Skills proficiency can be strengthened by requiring employees to perform routine PIT Operations. If this is not possible, then employees are encouraged to attend several abbreviated sessions of Supervised Hands-On training (at least two) yearly. These sessions will be coordinated by the Department Safety Coordinator, designated TtT, manager or supervisor. Contact EHS if assistance is needed.
    4. 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.
  1. Requirement for PIT Operator:
    1. All PIT Operators must be certified through proper training and successful evaluation of skills on the PIT they have been assigned to operate.
    2. All PIT Operators must participate in Refresher Training on an annual basis for infrequent operators and every three years for frequent operators, that includes an evaluation of hands-on operator skills to maintain certification.  Operators with deficient skills will not be re-certified until successful completion of Supervised Hands-On training.  Designated University trainers are qualified and available to assist with hands-on PIT training.  Training services are also available from the equipment manufacturer or representative.  Employees with deficient skills must participate in hands-on training until the training determines the employee’s operator skills are proficient.
    3. 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. Certified operators who do not routinely operate a PIT should participate in at least two sessions of Supervised Hands-On training yearly. These sessions will be coordinated by the designated department Safety Coordinator, TtT, manager or supervisor.
    4. 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.
    5. PIT Operators must report all incidents involving the PIT they are operating to their supervisor so as to prevent repeating incidents that could lead to serious injuries and property damage.
    6. Operators that have been involved in an incident with a PIT must participate in retraining.
    7. PIT Operators will perform Pre-Operations Safety Checks on their PIT that include, but 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.
    8. PIT Operators will wear assigned Personal Protective Equipment as required by their supervisor, EHS or the Equipment Instruction Manual, including personal restraint system if installed (e.g., seatbelt).
    9. 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.
    10. PIT Operators must follow the terms of the Commonwealth of Virginia’s Alcohol and Other Drugs Policy.

  2. PIT Operators and Work Environment:
    1. Pre Use Safety Check Lists – Supervisors must instruct designated employees to complete Pre Use Safety Check Lists as determined by the department. Routinely, PIT equipment manufactures have Safety Inspection Guidelines available in the Operator’s Manual. Assistance on Pre Use Safety Check Lists is available from EHS.
    2. Warning Labels and Guards – Supervisors 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.
    3. Unsafe Operations Prohibited – Supervisors 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 Alcohol and Other Drugs Policy.
    4. Hazards Assessment – Supervisors 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.

  3. Accident Investigation and Incident Reporting:
    1. Accidents – EHS must be contacted within two working days of accidents involving a PIT. The supervisor and EHS will determine if assistance is needed for an accident investigation.
    2. Incidents – All incidents involving a PIT must be documented and reported to the designated department Safety Coordinator, TtT, manager or supervisor.
    3. Retraining – Supervisors must provide retraining to their designated employee involved in an incident with a PIT. The purpose of the retraining is to be timely and focus on 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. Assistance is available from EHS.
    4. Documentation of Retraining – This training and/or action with the employee can be determined by the supervisor. A brief written summary of the training, discussion or action taken is adequate documentation.
Related Information: 

Occupational Safety and Health Code of Federal Regulation 1910.178 Powered Industrial Truck Operator Safety Training;
Virginia Administrative Code 16 VAC 25-60-10;
Part III Occupational Safety and Health Standards-Section 120 General Industry Standards – September 21st, 2006.

Policy Background: 
Major Category: Safety, Security and Environmental Quality
Category Cross Reference: 
Next Scheduled Review: 07/25/14
Approved By, Date: Policy Review Committee, 07/25/05
Revision History: Updated 9/2/11, 8/28/08.
Supersedes (previous policy):  Powered Industrial Truck (PIT) Operation XIV.S.1.