This program applies to all NC State powered industrial trucks (PIT) operators and their supervisors and provides safety and compliance requirements and guidelines for the safe operation of PITs. It provides safe operating procedures, training and retraining requirements, inspection checklists, and operator evaluation checklists.




  • Fork Truck – A fork truck is a small vehicle with two power-operated prongs at the front that can be slid under heavy loads and then raised for moving and stacking. Fork Trucks can be powered by electricity, compressed natural gas, liquid petroleum gas, diesel fuel or gasoline.
  • Powered Industrial Truck- Any mobile power propelled truck used to carry, push, pull, lift, stack or tier materials. Powered industrial trucks can be ridden or controlled by a walking operator.
  • Attachment – Any equipment, device, or tool designed and manufactured to attach to a powered industrial truck. Examples include: personnel basket or cage, carriage side shifter, height extender, backrest extender, drum lifter, or other. Attachments must be provided by, or approved in writing by, the PIT manufacturer and must be referenced on the load plate.
  • Load Plate, Name Plate – An information plate or card mounted to the PIT at the operator station which provides important operator information such as lift category, lifting capacity and load center (with and without attachments), PIT dimensions, swing radius, counterweight mass, fuel source, etc.

  Roles and Responsibilities

  • EHS: Ensures a written program is in place for the safe operation of powered industrial trucks. The program shall be reviewed periodically to ensure compliance with this program.
  • Manager/Supervisor: Ensures that only authorized and trained employees operate PITs, and that operators comply with the procedures in this program. The manager/supervisor ensures that designated employees successfully complete the qualification procedure outlined in the program prior to operating any equipment.
  • Employees: Employees who operate PITs are responsible for complying with this program. Employees are also responsible for reporting equipment defects and discontinuing PIT operations when unsafe conditions exist.


  • PIT Operator Training & Qualifications: Operators must demonstrate their driving competence by passing a written test and completing a practical driving test for forklifts. Operators must demonstrate acceptable competence and knowledge in performing each task.
  1. Forklift Safety Training, EHPS-OS500, Reporter Deep Link:
  2. Training in the operation of the forklift is two parts which includes forklift safety fundamentals, stability and capability, load handling, safe driving practices, and inspections and maintenance. Part one is online training via Reporter (Moodle)
  3. Part two is in-person competency demonstration and performance evaluation. (Appendix A) This evaluation is done by EHS or by personnel designated by EHS.
  4. Refresher training, including an evaluation of each operator’s performance, shall be conducted at least every 3 years.
  5. Refresher training shall also be required if:
    • The operator has been observed to operate the vehicle in an unsafe manner.
    • The operator has been involved in an accident or near miss incident.
    • The operator has received an evaluation that reveals that the operator is not operating the truck safely.
    • The operator is assigned to operate a different vehicle or a condition in the workplace changes in a manner that could affect safe operation.
  6. Operators on elevating forklifts, including those operating order pickers, shall be authorized to work at elevation, properly trained, provided appropriate PPE, and shall operate in accordance with NC State’s Fall Prevention & Protection program
  • General Safety Procedures
  1. Only trained individuals are allowed to operate industrial trucks.
  2. Operators shall conduct an examination of industrial trucks prior to each shift of operation. The vehicle shall not be placed in service if the examination shows any condition that adversely affects the safety of the vehicle. Examination checklists are retained for 30 days by the department the operator is assigned to. (Appendix B).
  3. Vehicles are to be operated at a safe speed. Speeds are adjusted to compensate for surface conditions, visibility, load weight, slope, vehicle or pedestrian traffic, or any other circumstances affecting safe operation.
  4. Sound the horn before backing.
  5. When a powered industrial truck is left unattended, the load shall be fully lowered, controls neutralized, power shut off, and brakes set. Wheels shall be blocked if the truck is parked on an incline. Unattended means the PIT is within the operator’s sight while the operator is more than 25 feet from the PIT, or the PIT is out of the operator’s sight.
  6. On slopes, ramps, and inclines, travel with the load uphill. Drive up the incline. Back down the incline.
  7. Maintenance or repair activities are to be performed by a qualified service Maintenance shall be conducted according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.  Each vehicle is placed in the preventive maintenance checks and services program.
  8. Riders are prohibited on forklifts and in cargo areas of powered industrial trucks.
  9. Persons may not be lifted with forklifts unless a manufacturer approved personnel basket is used.
  10. Persons are not allowed to pass under raised forks.
  11. Operators do not place any part of their body between the mast and fork back support at any time.
  12. Only attachments approved and listed by the manufacturer may be used.
  13. PITs shall not be modified unless approved by the manufacturer in writing
  14. Dockboard or bridge plates, shall be properly secured before they are driven over.
  • Standard Safety Equipment/Precautions
  1. Seatbelts are installed and utilized on each forklift
  2. Forklifts must have a functional horn, strobe light, and backup alarm
  3. Forklift must have a nameplate listing lift category, load rating and load center prominently affixed.
  4. Forklifts have a driver cage installed to protect the operator from falling materials.
  • Refueling/Battery Charging
  1. Smoking, open flames or spark producing activities are prohibited in designated refueling or battery charging areas
  2. Forklifts should be parked with the engine off, forks lowered and parking brake engaged prior to refueling or battery charging
  3. Electric cargo/burden carriers must have the forward-off-reverse switch in the “OFF” position, the power or key switch off and the parking brake set whenever the operator leaves the vehicle.
  4. Propane tank refilling and replacement shall be performed outside or in a well ventilated area.
  5. Propane gas tank regulators should be closed with the engine running to burn fuel in the lines prior to disconnecting and replacing tanks.
  • Loading and Unloading
  1. Only handle stable and safely arranged loads; secure unstable loads.
  2. Never lift or carry loads that exceed the rated capacity listed on the nameplate of the vehicle.
  3. Before entering a trailer with a forklift, ensure that the trailer brakes are locked, the rear wheels are chocked and the deck plate is secure.
  4. Check the rated capacity of the trailer before entering to ensure that it can support the combined weight of the forklift and load.
  5. Never carry anything on the overhead guard.
  6. Always tilt the load back except when the load is in the deposit position
  7. The forks shall always be carried as low as possible, consistent with safe operations
  8. Unsecured items shall not be transported in the cab of the vehicle.

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