Safety of Powered Industrial Trucks
No matter what type of facility you’re operating in, the chances are good that there will be a variety of different powered industrial trucks that are being used. This could be anything from a small fork lift inside a warehouse to a large dump truck at a construction site.
Despite the fact that these vehicles can be so dramatically different, they are all the same in that they can be a major hazard to people working in the area. In an effort to minimize the danger associated with these vehicles, OSHA has come up with section 1910.178 in their set of standards. This section deals with the safety of powered industrial trucks.
What is covered?
This set of standards is used to improve safety related to trucks that are powered both electrically and through internal combustion engines. It is not, however, applicable to vehicles that run on compressed air or other nonflammable gases. Farm vehicles are also covered in other OSHA standards, and are therefore exempt from these.
Some of the most common vehicles that fall in this category include the following:
- Fire protection vehicles
- Fork lifts
- Motorized hand trucks
Depending on the specifics of the facility, there may be other powered industrial trucks that must follow the rules listed in this set of standards.
Labeling Industrial Trucks
One of the most important sections of these standards covers the labeling of the trucks that are being used in a facility. This falls under OSHA standards 1910.178(a)(3), and discusses the fact that all approved trucks need to have a label, or another type of marking, that meets the American National Standard for Powered Industrial Trucks Part II, ANSI B56.1-1969.
While this may sound complicated, it really simply means that the trucks must have a clear indication on them concerning things like what the truck contains. Any other pertinent safety information should also be clearly displayed directly on the truck.
Depending on the size and type of the vehicle, it can be displayed on the side or rear of the truck. Ideally you can place labels on both sides and the rear so that it is easy to see all the information from virtually any angle.
One of the most important things that must be on any labeling or marking for powered trucks is the OSHA designation. There are a total of eleven designations that identify these trucks, and how they are powered. The designations are:
- D – D indicates that the truck is diesel powered.
- DS – The DS designation means that it is a diesel powered truck which has extra safeguards to the exhaust, electrical and fuel systems.
- DY – This designation has all the safeguards of a DS truck, plus they don’t have any temperature limitation features for the electrical equipment.
- E – E labeled trucks are electrically powered.
- ES – These are electric trucks that have safeguards regarding the electrical system that will help to prevent sparks and also limit the surface temperatures.
- EE – This type of truck is electrically powered, and in addition to all the safeguards from the ES designation, EE means that the electrical equipment on the truck is entirely enclosed for added protection.
- EX – This designation means that the electrically powered truck is made in such a way that the unit can operate properly in atmospheres that contain flammable dust or vapor.
- G – This is a gasoline powered truck.
- GS – This gasoline powered truck also has safeguards in place for the electrical systems, fuel system and exhaust system.
- LP – This is a truck that operates on liquid petroleum.
- LPS – Just like the LP designation, except it has safeguards for the exhaust, fuel and electrical systems.
These are all the powered truck variations defined by OSHA. Knowing what each of these designations means, and having the letters clearly included on any labeling will help everyone be more aware about each truck that is in use.
Once the labeling is in place, the facility is responsible for a number of things in order to remain in compliance. The following items can be managed either by one central area within the facility, or each individual driver can take responsibility for keeping the vehicles they use in compliance. These are the requirements that must be addressed regarding the truck labeling:
- Legibility – All labels and markings on powered industrial trucks must be easily legible. This means keeping them clean so the dirt doesn’t cover them up. It also means making sure the labels were printed properly so the text and any pictograms are easy to understand.
- Good Condition – These labels need to be in good condition at all times to ensure they don’t come off while in operation. Inspecting the labeling to ensure it is not peeling off before starting a job, for example, can be very helpful in keeping the truck in compliance.
- Accurate – If a truck is modified, or the things that it is used for changes, the labeling will likely need to be updated. Removing any existing labeling and printing off new labels for the trucks is often essential.
One of the best ways to make sure your facility keeps the powered truck labeling up to date is to have a LabelTac industrial label printer on site and available for use. This way new labels can be printed off at any time to keep the truck labeling easy to read and accurate.
However you choose to manage the labeling, it is important that you do all you can to help remain in compliance with the Powered Industrial Trucks – 1910.178 set of standards from OSHA.