Powered Industrial Trucks


Powered industrial trucks (PITs), commonly called forklifts or lift trucks, are used in many different types of industries. PITs are primarily used to move large objects or a number of smaller objects on pallets or in boxes, crates, or other containers.

The hazards commonly associated with PITs vary depending on the vehicle type and the workplace where the truck is used. Property damage to objects such as overhead sprinklers, walls, piping, and equipment can result from unsafe procedures and/or the lack of, or inadequate, operator training.

Applicable Regulation:

29CFR 1910.178

Management Requirements

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires employers to ensure the safe use and operation of PITs. Management must make certain all operators are properly trained, equipment inspections are conducted and documented prior to each vehicle use, and damaged/malfunctioning PITs are removed from service until they are repaired or replaced.

Contractors are required to follow their company’s PIT program requirements and provide their PIT driver certification prior to operating PIT(s) while on the RIT campus.

Training Requirements

All powered industrial truck operators are required to have initial training prior to operating any PIT vehicle. Refresher training is required every three years after the initial training/certification is complete. OSHA requires the following topics be covered during PIT training:

  • General principles of safe PIT operation;
  • The various types of PITs used at RIT;
  • Workplace hazards created by the use of the vehicle(s); and
  • General safety requirements of the PIT standard.


Trained operators must know how to operate PIT(s) properly and safely as demonstrated by workplace evaluation. This training consists of a combination of the following:

  • Formal instruction (e.g.: lecture, discussion, interactive computer learning, video tape, 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.

NOTE: Only authorized persons who have the knowledge, formal training, and experience will train PIT operators and evaluate their competence. Training sessions will be coordinated through the RIT EH&S Department.

Retraining is required when: unsafe practices are observed; an incident/near miss involving a PIT occurs; inadequacies in an employee’s knowledge/understanding of PITs are noted, and/or when there are changes in the type(s) of PITs used in the workplace.

Contact the RIT Environmental Health and Safety Department with any questions at (585) 475-7092.