Introduction to the OSHA Forklift eTool

We often refer to OSHA regulations and training tips here on the blog. Where do we find the information? We find a lot of it on the OSHA forklift eTool. The forklift eTool is an easy-to-navigate website that covers all the fundamentals of forklift operation and safety. This introduction to the eTool is not intended to be a substitute for it, but hopefully will encourage you to bookmark the Powered Industrial Trucks eTool and refer to it frequently. As you will see, it contains a wealth of information you can’t find all in one place anywhere else online.

Part One: Types and Fundamentals

parts of a forkliftPart One of the eTool covers all the types of industrial trucks and many of the fundamental safety issues surrounding them. Sub-sections include a list of the 7 most commonly used classes of powered industrial trucks; detailed explanations of their two main power sources (internal combustion and electric); and an outline of the most important parts on the average forklift.

Part Two: Operating the Forklift

Part Two outlines the most important details you need to understand about forklift operation. Sections include:

  1. Pre-operation focuses on pre-operation inspections and forklift maintenance. This section stresses the importance of maintenance to forklift safety.
  2. Traveling and Maneuvering covers all essential information about forklift operation. Sub-sections include everything from entering and exiting a lift truck to steering, traveling on inclines, safe travel practices, avoiding tipovers and much more.
  3. Load Handling is an important section all forklift operators should review periodically. Illustrations show how forklifts operate under load and how load positioning can effect forklift stability.

Part Three: The Workplace

Understanding the Workplace goes into detail about the relationship between the lift truck and the work environment. It starts with an overview of a variety of workplace conditions that can effect forklift safety. Other sub-headings include pedestrian traffic, ramps and grades, loading docks, narrow aisles, elevators, and enclosed and hazardous areas. Illustrations make it easy for forklift operators to understand key concepts, such as load balancing on ramps.

operating a forklift on a ramp

Part Four: Training Assistance

forklift training programThe final section of the OSHA forklift eTool goes into detail about forklift training. It begins with training requirements, stating that the “standard requires employers to develop and implement a training program based on the general principles of safe truck operation, the types of vehicle(s) being used in the workplace, the hazards of the workplace created by the use of the vehicle(s), and the general safety requirements of the OSHA standard.”

After defining forklift training in broad terms, this section goes on to outline what must be included in an OSHA approved forklift training course and when a refresher course is advised or mandated.

Training Assistance concludes with Developing Your Own Training Program. Although it does not go into detail, this is an important section because it highlights all the elements of an effective forklift training program.

The OSHA forklift eTool is free. Our OSHA approved forklift training materials are not free, but offer dimensions to forklift safety training printed words cannot. From an inexpensive magnetic stability training model that shows operators what an unstable load can do to the ultimate forklift training package, there’s something to suit everyone in our forklift training materials.


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