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Alabama Homebuilders Self

Insurers Fund

Lift Truck Operator Training Program

Presented by the AHBSIF Loss Control Department

Course Outline

Lift Truck Basics
Fuels and Batteries
Emergency Situations
Fundamentals of Operation
Driving Test

I. Introduction

This presentation will provide participants

with the following:
The importance of lift truck safety
Component, weight, stability, and speed
characteristics of lift trucks
Safe handling of fuels and batteries
Daily maintenance and safety check

II. Lift Truck Basics

Section 1 - Awareness

Recognition of emphasized
This message is used when special information,
instructions, or identification is required relating to
procedures, equipment, tools, pressures,
capacities, and other special data.

This message is used when special precautions
should be taken to ensure a correct action or to
avoid damage to, or malfunction of, the truck or a

This message is for proper precautions which, if
not followed, can result in personal injury.

This message is used when a hazard exists
which can result in injury or death if proper
precautions are not taken.

This message is used when an extreme hazard
exists which will result in death or serious injury if
proper precautions are not taken immediately.

Benefits of Operator Training

Improved safety for the operator and others
The operator learns how to perform a pre-shift inspection
Reduce down time and maintenance costs
Increase productivity
Improve safety

The equipment is better cared for

Employees understand the value of the equipment and how to
use it efficiently

Operator training and progress is documented

OSHA requirements are fulfilled

Forklift Types
Narrow Aisle

Electric Standup

Forklift Types
Powered Pallet Truck

Sit Down Rider

(Pneumatic Tire)

Section 2 Components and Stability

Components of a Lift Truck

Overhead Guard
Restraint System


Lift Cylinder

Fuel Tank


Tilt Cylinder

Steer Axle and

Drive Axle and


Data Plate
The data plate must be
in legible condition
A data plate provides
the following
Maximum lift height
Attachment capacities
Maximum weight

Lift Truck Weight

Listed capacities are not good indicators of the
machines total weight
A lift truck can weigh two to three times as much
as the lifted capacity
A lift truck usually weighs twice its capacity
2:1 ratio

Estimated lbs

Truck Weight

8,000 lbs


4,000 lbs


175 lbs


12,175 lbs

Load Center
The load center rating of a fork truck is the
maximum distance from the face of the forks to
the center of gravity of a capacity load.
The data plate will have this information.
Standard forks measure 24 at the load center.
For every inch beyond the rated load center that
the load is placed, approximately 100 lbs. of
capacity is lost.

Load Center


Even though a forklift has four wheels, it is
only supported at three points.
The steering axle of most four-wheel lift
trucks is attached by means of a pivot
point in the center of the axle.

Center of Gravity
The black spot in the triangle below represents the
Center of Gravity.
The Center of Gravity (CG) shifts according to the
movements of the truck.
If the CG moves outside the triangle the truck will

Center of Gravity
Figure 1 shows
the CG shift when
the truck is loaded
and braking.

Figure 2 shows
the CG shift when
the truck is
uneven or turning
with excessive

Lift Height

Center of Gravity




As the CG gets
higher, the
stability of the lift
truck gets
Loads must be
kept as low as
possible at all

Section 3 Safety Equipment

Common Safety Devices

Roll Over Protection System (ROPS)
Designed to minimize complete overturn
Employees should never jump from a machine during overturn
Integral Components include:
Overhead Protection
Protective cage

Pedestrian Warning Devices

Headlights, Brake Lights
Amber Strobes

Horn and Back-Up Alarm

Operators Manual
Includes safe operating procedures and capacities

III. Fuels and Batteries

Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG)

Burns cleaner than gas engines.
Produces a poisonous gas that is not
easily detectable, must be operated in well
ventilated areas.
LPG is heavier than air and will seek low
lying areas.
LPG is extremely flammable, must avoid
all sources of ignition

Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG)

It acts like a liquid. It can soak into
It is compressed under high pressure in
the tank.
LPG in liquid state has a temperature of
44 below zero. Can cause frostbite on
contact with skin.
Chemicals are added to give the gas an
odor which helps identify leaks.

LPG Tank Handling & Storage

A specified area should be designated for the storage
and changing of LPG tanks.
Tanks should always be stored in their upright position
with all gauges and valves at the top whether empty
or full.
When trucks are parked overnight or for extended
periods, the service valve of the tank must be closed.
Never park a truck near a source of heat.
Always wear proper safety equipment when handling
tanks (safety glasses, heavy rubber gloves).

LPG Tank Removal

Wear proper personal protective equipment.
Do not smoke.
Purge the fuel line by closing the tanks service
valve and waiting for the engine to run out of
fuel. (Controls in neutral, forks down, brake on,
ignition off.)
Once the service valve is closed, unscrew the
line connection and move the hose out of the
Carefully remove the tank from the mounting

LPG Tank Installation

Select a replacement tank in good service
Do not roll or drag the new tank to the machine.
Use a cart or other suitable equipment.
Position the tank in the mounting bracket by
aligning the collar hole over the mounting
bracket pin. (this is important for fuel
consumption and safety)
Check all rubber seals in the tank and fuel line

LPG Tank Installation

Reconnect the fuel line connection until
Slowly turn on the service valve to full and
slightly backseat.
Make sure both tank clamps are adjusted
properly and hold the tank firmly.
If no leaks are detected, start the truck
and check for normal operation.

Compressed Natural Gas (CNG)

The same natural gas that powers hot
water heaters and furnaces.
CNG is different than LPG in that it
remains a gas even under high pressure.
CNG is lighter than air and dissipates
rapidly when released.
CNG tanks are usually permanently
mounted to the lift truck.

Gasoline and Diesel

The difference between these two fuels is their
ignition temperatures.
Extremely flammable
Distinctive odor

Has higher ignition point than gas
Slight odor, harder to detect than gas

Gas and Diesel Refueling

Most lift trucks filler caps are equipped
with a venting device and a fuel screen.
The screen serves as a fire retardant
device by keeping fire out of the fuel tank.
Check when refueling to make sure the
screen is in place.

Gas and Diesel Refueling

Safe refueling checklist:
Refuel in designated areas with good
Smoking and open flames are prohibited
Shut off the truck, lower the forks, put the truck
in neutral, and set the parking brake before
Dont overfill the tank
Clean up any spills
Use only clean, properly marked fuel cans

A lead-acid battery is a portable power
source for supplying direct current
The most common voltages include 12,
24, 36, and 48 volts.
Discharging a battery below 80% of its
total capacity can result in shortened
battery and truck component life.

Battery Hazards
Sulfuric Acid Small amounts can cause severe
contact burns to the skin.
Gasses Batteries produce hydrogen and
oxygen mixture continuously. Keep all ignition
sources away.
Electricity Batteries are capable of producing
very high discharge rates. Avoid direct shorting
Battery Weight Use care when handling,
charging, and using batteries in the truck.

Battery Chargers
Two types:
Single Phase charger has two wires and a ground
with one transformer and two fuses.
Three Phase charger has three wires and a ground in
the power supply cable. It has three transformers and
three fuses.

Always correctly match the charger to the

voltage and amp hour ratings of the battery.
Also check the input voltage and cycle. Input
voltage is most commonly 220, 440, or 480, with
US Standard 60 cycles.

Battery Charging
Battery recharging requires a special service
area in accordance with OSHA section (g)(1).
The area must be:

Well ventilated
Truck off, set parking brake
Jewelry is prohibited
Personal protective equipment should include safety
glasses, head protection, aprons, and gloves
All battery cables should be disconnected before
charger hook-up
Handling must be done according to manufacturers

Battery Charging
Vent caps must be left on during charging.
If the battery is charged while still in the truck, the
compartment must be left open.
The charger should be turned off before it is
connected to the battery then turned on to begin the
charging cycle.
Color coded connectors help prevent connecting a
battery of the wrong voltage to the wrong charger or
Chargers should be properly set to avoid over or
under charging.
The charger should be turned off before disconnecting
from the battery.

IV. Emergency Situations

Are you prepared?

Does the facility have an evacuation
Are emergency contact numbers readily
Do any of your employees/co-workers
have CPR or First Aid training?
Does the facility have a first aid kit?

Handling an Emergency
The three Cs, Check, Call, Care help us
remember what to do in an emergency situation.
Check check the area for your own safety first,
then the victim's
Call for help, 911 or whom ever is in the
immediate area that can provide assistance
Care - administer care to the victim, this may be
first aid or at least stabilization

Fire Prevention - Extinguishers

Ordinary Combustibles
Includes materials such as
wood and paper
Flammable Liquids
Includes fuels, grease,
other liquids
Electrical Fires
Contains non-conductive
smothering agent

How to Use a Fire Extinguisher

Pull -- Pull the pin at the top of the
extinguisher that keeps the handle from being

Aim -- Aim the nozzle at the base of the fire

Squeeze -- Maintain a distance of eight to
ten feet away from the fire and squeeze the
handle. Discharge will only occur if the
handle is being squeezed.

Sweep -- Sweep the nozzle back and forth at

the base of the fire until it appears to be out.

V. Fundamentals of Operation

Safe Truck Operation

Trained Operators Only
OSHA requires that only trained operators be allowed
to operate fork trucks

Stunt Driving and Horseplay is Strictly Prohibited

Fork trucks are heavy and powerful machines that
demand an operators attention and respect

Read and Understand Operator Instructions

You must read and understand the operators manual
for each truck you operate

Faulty Equipment and Maintenance

If at any time the fork truck is in need of repair or
defective in any way, it must be taken out of service
and fixed

Operating Around Personnel

Operators should not rely on pedestrian warning
devices and mirrors.
Know the terrain and visibility of your workplace.
Sound your horn at intersections and blind
If your view is blocked because of the load,
travel backwards. If you must move forward,
make sure that people are out of the way and
move the lift truck slowly.

Operating Around Personnel

Never attempt to move a load that
requires someone to steady or position the
Restack the load and/or
Secure the load to a pallet.

Never drive the fork truck up to someone

in front of a fixed object. Avoid potential
caught between exposures.

Upright and Fork Safety

Never allow anyone to walk under raised
upright whether loaded or empty.
Never allow anyone to stand on the forks
or climb the upright assembly.
Never allow anyone to reach or to step in
the areas of the mast, carriage, forks, or
Never allow anyone to ride on the truck.

Leaving or Parking the Truck

OSHA considers a fork truck unattended if the
operator is 25 feet away or out of sight of the
truck. Use the following tips when leaving the
truck or parking it for long periods:
Bring the machine to a complete stop.
Turn off the engine, for LPG trucks, shut off the
service valve and let the engine run out of fuel.
Lower all attachments completely. Put the forks
on the floor.
Place all controls in neutral.

Leaving or Parking the Truck

Apply the parking brake.
Never park on a grade or around traffic.
Never leave the truck parked on a dock ramp,
dock leveler, or in a trailer.
Never park the truck where it blocks emergency
or fire-fighting equipment or emergency travel
Chock the wheels if needed.
Turn off power supply and remove the keys if

Personnel Elevators
Lift trucks are not designed to lift people.
There are machines designed for this
Scissor lifts
Order Pickers (platform lift)
Elevated work platforms

OSHA does allow the practice under

specific conditions (ASME B56.1).

Personnel Elevators
Must be designed by a professional
Must be designed to work with a specific
Occupants must wear a harness and
Operators must man controls at all times

Lift Truck Tip Over

In case of a tip-over, use the following
Wear your seatbelt.
Never attempt to leap from the truck.
Grip the wheel firmly with both hands.
Brace your feet firmly against the floor boards.

Handling Loads
Always balance and secure the load.
Never pick loads that are too heavy.
Be aware of your clearances at all times.
Check for overhead obstructions or power
Center the load. Forks must be at least
2/3 the length of the load.

Handling Loads

2/ 3
Le n g

Handling Loads
When picking up a load, place the forks
under the load as far as possible.
Tilt the mast back slightly for stabilization.
Keep the load low. The forks should never
be more than 6 to 8 inches from the

Square the truck to the rack/bin
and come to a complete stop
Elevate the load to the proper
height and Inch the truck in
Tilt the load forward for
Lower the forks to take
pressure off the pallet.
Back the truck up till the forks
clear and lower them before
Use the same procedure in
reverse when picking up a load
from a stack.

Understand the traffic
laws of your environment
Familiarize yourself with
the work area.
- Visibility
- Travel surface

Maintain at least a three

truck length distance
between yourself and any
truck ahead.
Always yield the right-ofway to any emergency

Grades, Ramps, and
Travel must be straight up
and straight down. Never
turn on ramps, slopes, or
With a load, travel up or
down with the load pointing
Without a load, travel up or
down with the forks
pointing downgrade.
The load should be tilted
back and raised only as
high as necessary to clear
the surface.

Dock Operations
Before entering a tractor trailer make certain the
wheels are chocked.
Check the trailer jacks. Make sure they are fully
lowered and secured.
Inspect the floor of the trailer prior to driving on it.
Check the dock boards between the trailer and the
dock. Always travel slowly over dock boards.
Stay away from the edge of the dock.
Use lights to improve visibility while working in trailers.

Hands-On Section
Pre-operation Inspection
Familiarization with operating controls and
Driving exercises
Figure 8 Test
Reverse Mobility
Lifting and Carrying

Pre-Operational Checklist




Forks, Backrest, Carriage

Leaks under Fork Lift

Mast, Chain, Hydraulic


Seat and Seat belts

Tires, Axles

Horn and/or Backup alarm

Overhead Guard/ROPS

Lights, Bodywork

Fuel Tank & Connections

Gauges and Instruments

Fuel Level

Hydraulic Controls & Lift

Engine Oil Level

All Brakes

Radiator Water Level