Powered Industrial Truck Rule Will Be UpdatedMay 03, 2022
This year, OSHA is proceeding with scores of regulatory projects to bring agency standards in line with current versions of international standards and national industry standards. In keeping with this commitment, OSHA recently announced its intentions to update its powered industrial truck rule.
OSHA defines a Powered Industrial Truck (PIT) as a vehicle controlled by a riding, walking, or remote operator. The rule applies to vehicles powered by both electrical and internal combustion engines. In addition to the typical forklift, the new regulation covers other types of vehicles — like powered pallet jacks, shopping card caddies, order pickers, and other machines used in general industry.
Stakeholders can make comments on the proposed rule through May 17, 2022.
Are Golf Carts PITs?
ANSI/National Golf Car Manufacturers Association defines a golf cart as “a vehicle used to convey a person or persons and equipment to play the game of golf in an area designated as a golf course.” Golf carts are considered recreational vehicles by design and are exempt from 1910.178. It’s the design that makes a vehicle a PIT rather than how it’s used. In other words, if it’s designed to haul and move materials, it’s likely a PIT.
Golf carts are mainly used to move people, but it doesn’t take much imagination to see how they can transport materials. OSHA doesn’t regulate scooters, golf carts, and other kinds of personal conveyances. OSHA does, however, require such vehicles to be used safely on a job site. To be on the safe side, if you use golf carts to haul materials — even though they aren’t technically covered by 1910.178 — you should include them in your PIT program.
OSHA’s Top 10 Violations List
Citations that involved PITs ranked 9th on OSHA’s top 10 list in 2021. The OSHA believes that PIT hazards vary widely, depending on the type of machine and working conditions. Employers are responsible for regularly assessing work assignments and PIT utilization, conducting scheduled maintenance, and training (and re-training) workers in safe operating practices.
Common accidents and injuries reported each year involve a worker driving a PIT off a loading dock — or falling between the loading dock and an unsecured trailer. Being struck by a lift truck or falling from an elevated pallet are other common mishaps reported each year.
Other than establishing baseline design, manufacturing, and maintenance practices, the rule establishes employee training and evaluation requirements as per 29 CFR 1910.178(l)(1).
Industry Consensus Standards
The proposed standard update for powered industrial trucks will add references to the latest requirements published by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and the Industrial Truck Standards Development Foundation (ITSDF). Specifically, ANSI/ITSDF B56.1 – 2020, the industry consensus standard for standard low- and high-lift powered industrial trucks, has been updated to reflect the latest safety parameters governing the design, operation, and maintenance of all low lift and high lift powered industrial trucks.
The new rule will also include the design and construction requirements specified in ANSI/ITSDF B56.5 – 2019 (Safety Standard for Driverless, Automatic Guided Industrial Vehicles and Automated Functions of Manned Industrial Vehicles) and ANSI/ITSDF B56.6—2021 (Safety Standard for Rough Terrain Forklift Trucks).
Industrial trucks manufactured before the effective date of the final rule can remain in service as long as employers “can demonstrate that the truck was designed and constructed in a manner that provides employee protection that is at least as effective as the national consensus standards [ANSI B56.1] incorporated by reference in OSHA’s standards.”
OSHA acknowledges that ANSI/ITSDF continually updates the national consensus standards based on emerging technology and manufacturing practices. Given this reality, it is difficult for the agency to provide timely updates through the regular “notice and comment” rulemaking process.
OSHA clarified the relationship between the ever-emerging ANSI consensus standards and OSHA requirements in a 2001 memo, stating that “where OSHA has adopted an earlier consensus standard, employers who are in compliance with the updated version will not be cited for a violation of the old version as long as the new one is at least equally protective.”
If you have any compliance questions about your powered industrial trucks — or have received a citation for any reason — please don’t hesitate to contact us for assistance.
About the Author: James Laboe