11.12 – Forklift Policy

POLICY: It is the policy of Spoon River College to ensure that all individuals responsible for operating a forklift or any other type of powered industrial truck using OSHA standards as a guideline.


This policy applies to all employees operating a forklift (aka powered industrial vehicle).


  1. General Requirements and Maintenance: Modifications and additions, which affect capacity and safe operation, shall not be performed by the user without manufacturer’s prior written approval.  All scheduled and unscheduled maintenance shall be performed by a qualified person.
  2. Operation: Spoon River College has provided the following guidelines for operation of any forklift or other type of powered industrial truck:
    1. Forklift operators must be trained and qualified to operate the assigned equipment.
    2. Forklift operators must inspect their equipment prior to use and report any damage or faulty operation to their supervisor immediately.
    3. Unauthorized personnel shall not be permitted to ride on forklift.
    4. Fuel tanks (if applicable) shall not be filled while the engine is running.
    5. Seatbelts must be worn, where seatbelts are provided.
    6. Forklifts shall not be driven up to anyone standing in front of a bench or other fixed object.
    7. When a forklift is left unattended, load engaging means shall be fully lowered, controls shall be neutralized, power shall be shut off and brakes set.
    8. Operators must avoid lifting or hitting anything if it appears that it could fall on the operator or a bystander.
    9. Operators must be aware of clearance areas such as wiring, roofing, door heights, etc.
    10. Forklifts must never be turned on an incline.
    11. No riders are allowed on any forklift unless the forklift is equipped with passenger seating.
    12. Operators must keep arms, legs, and head fully inside of the operator’s compartment at all times.
    13. Operators shall ensure that all personnel are clear of lifting mechanisms before operating their forklift.
    14. No one is allowed to walk or stand under a load elevated in the air.
    15. When getting off a forklift, the operator shall make sure the carriage has been completely lowered, the parking brake has been set, and the engine has been shut off.
    16. Forklifts shall be operated slowly when turning corners and while traveling in reverse.
    17. Operators shall avoid bumps, holes, slick spots, and loose materials that may cause the equipment to swerve or tip. If unavoidable, the operator shall slow down the speed.
    18. Racing or horse-play is prohibited.
    19. Sudden starts or spinning wheels on dry pavement or gravel is prohibited.
    20. Forklift operators shall not lift personnel in the air with the forklift forks unless a personnel rack is used.
    21. Operators must know their loads and carry them properly. The following load handling procedures must be observed:
      1. Handle loads within the rated capacity shown on the nameplate.
      2. Ensure that all loads are stable prior to lifting.
      3. Center the weight of loads between forks.
      4. Be alert for “swing” when handling long loads.
      5. Be sure that the load is against the carriage when lifting with forklifts.
      6. Always keep loads positioned upgrade on grades of 10% or more.
      7. Travel in reverse if necessary to maintain upgrade position.
      8. Always lift and lower a load with the upright in a vertical position or tilted slightly back.
      9. Tilt elevated loads forward only when directly over an unloading place. If the load or lifting mechanism is elevated to pick up or deposit a load, keep the tilt in either direction to a minimum.
      10. Operate the forklift with the lifting mechanism raised only enough to clear the ground or obstacles.
      11. If it is necessary, because of obstacles, to operate a forklift with the load elevated high in the air, the forklift must proceed at a slow speed must not make any sharp turns, and the load should be well balanced and tilted back.
  3. Training: Spoon River College will ensure that all forklift operators receive proper training with regard to safe operation of forklifts and other types of powered industrial trucks.
    1. Content: Training shall consist of a combination of formal instruction, practical training, and evaluation of the operator’s performance in the workplace.  Re-training shall be conducted every three years.  Training shall be conducted by a qualified person.  Training Topics shall include:
      1. Operating instructions, warnings and precautions for forklift operation
      2. Forklift controls and instrumentation
      3. Engine or motor operation
      4. Steering and maneuvering
      5. Visibility
      6. Fork and attachment adaptation
      7. Vehicle capacity
      8. Vehicle stability
      9. Vehicle inspection
      10. Operating limitations
      11. Work related topics
    2. Refresher training and evaluation shall be performed under the following conditions:
      1. When the operator has been observed to operate the vehicle in an unsafe manner;
      2. When the operator has been involved in an accident or near-miss incident;
      3. When the operator has received an evaluation that reveals that the operator is not operating the forklift safely;
      4. When the operator has been assigned to operate a different type of powered industrial truck, or;
      5. When a condition in the workplace changes in a manner that could affect safe operation of the forklift or powered industrial truck.
    3. Certification: Spoon River College will certify that each operator has been trained and evaluated as required.  The certification shall include:
      1. the name of the operator
      2. the date of the training
      3. the date of the evaluation, and
      4. the identity of the person(s) performing the training or evaluation