Powered industrial trucks, also known as forklifts, need clear labeling to keep operators and pedestrians safe.
This podcasts details the three main types of labels, CAUTION, WARNING and DANGER. We also discuss the factory-supplied nameplate, and what’s on it.
Good labeling increases visuality for the operator. They will be more aware of the truck’s limits and how to operate it safely.
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Dan Clark: What is a Powered Industrial Truck? Well, that’s the fancy, industry name for forklift. And forklifts need clear labeling for safe operation.
Hi there, I’m Dan Clark of The Safety Brief. This is where we talk about health and safety hazards in today’s demanding industrial and construction worksites.
OSHA slots forklifts into the category of Powered Industrial Trucks. Others in this category: motorized hand trucks, hi-lows, and tractors—not farming tractors, they’re covered under other regulations.
Forklifts and other trucks in this category need warning labels or decals that provide safety information to operators. Under one classification system there are three types of warning labels or decals:
CAUTION means if the precaution is not taken, it may cause minor or moderate injury.
WARNING means if the warning is not heeded, it can cause death or serious injury.
DANGER means if the danger is not avoided, it will cause death or serious injury.
For example, tip-overs are a common danger. A tip-over warning label for a sit-down, counterbalanced forklift would say: “Don’t jump, hold on tight to the steering wheel, brace your feet, lean away from the impact, and lean forward.”
Of course there are many other label options, depending on the type and usage of the truck in question. But no matter what, safety labels on these vehicles should be clearly visible to the operator and must be replaced if missing or damaged.
All Powered Industrial Trucks come from the factory, after inspection, with a nameplate. It’s sometimes called a data plate. It has the model, serial number, weight and other specifications. But operators need to be able to see this label in plain sight because it also has safety information, such as capacity. If they know the weight capacity, they can avoid overloads and tip-overs.
Also, the truck nameplate indicates if it’s powered by diesel, electric, gasoline or LP gas. Believe me, operators need to know this. I’ve put diesel in a gas burning vehicle before. It can happen. And it’s also a good idea to put a gas or diesel label by the fuel cap.
If modifications are made to a truck that impact the capacity, the fuel source, or safe operation, they should be approved by the manufacturer. And once modified, the labeling must change to reflect the updates.
That’s it for this episode on Powered Industrial Truck Labels. Come back for more tips and techniques on how to stay safety compliant in today’s ever-changing landscape of safety requirements. I’m Dan Clark of The Safety Brief, sponsored by Creative Safety Supply. See the website at creativesafetysupply.com
OSHA offers an eTool on Powered Industrial Trucks, with labeling info here and here.
Forklift signs, labels and a free guide can all be found here.
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