Understanding OSHA Forklift Attachments Standards

Osha_Forklift_Attachment_RequirementsForklifts attachments and accessories have turned  forklifts into an entirely different operating machinery.  Forklifts attachments can either assist you with transporting material more effectively and efficiently that forklift is incapable of doing so without the attachment, or they can make the machine operate completely differently.  While forklift attachments can assist in workforce productivity, they also can make the vehicle more dangerous be dangerous,  therefore forklift safety must be considered.

One safety consideration for forklift attachments includes making sure it is assessable with your forklift.  Therefore, it is advisable to speak with a forklift attachments dealer to make sure the attachment is compatible before purchasing any attachment or accessory to ensure it works properly with your forklift.  If you would like to learn more about the different forklift attachments and accessories we provide, you can click here.

Because of the safety hazards forklift accessories posses, The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (or OSHA) has established regulations for utilizing forklift attachments and accessories.  OSHA was developed by the  Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 to “assure safe and healthful working conditions for working men and women by setting and enforcing standards and by providing training, outreach, education and assistance,” according to their about page.

OSHA standard number 1910, entitled “Occupational Safety and Health Standards,” provides many guidelines and regulations that must be followed.  Subpart N describes proper material handling, with articles 1910.178 describing the safety considerations for “Powered industrial trucks.”  Below are some of the requirements set by OSHA within 1910 describing the safety regulations that need to be followed when operating a forklift with any type of attachments or other accessories that dramatically change the functioning and capacities of the forklift.

  • 1910.178(a)5
    “If the truck is equipped with front-end attachments other than factory installed attachments, the user shall request that the truck be marked to identify the attachments and show the approximate weight of the truck and attachment combination at maximum elevation with load laterally centered.”

While this requirement allows the use of forklift attachments connected to the front end of the forklift, it is giving specific requirements to be met if the attachment equipment is something other than “factory installed attachments.”  When attachments are used, the forklift must be marked and the capacities and other restrictions the attachment creates must be properly disclosed.  Therefore, whenever using any type of forklift attachments, make sure you clearly mark and disclose all details required by this article.

  • 1910.178(o)4
    “Trucks equipped with attachments shall be operated as partially loaded trucks when not handling a load.”

This regulation requires different treatment for any forklift that has an attachment.  According to OSHA, any time a forklift attachment is added; it negatively affects the capacity limits of the forklift, as it makes it as if it is partially loaded.  Adding any attachment changes the balance, stability, and capacity of the forklift, according to the Stand Up Forklift Student Manual.

Additional Changes to Forklift Truck

Please be aware that when you add a forklift attachment that changes its operation, you will need to also follow the regulations set by OSHA for those operations.  For example, if you use an attachment that makes your forklift operate like a Crain machine, you will need to follow guidelines established by 1910.179, for “Overhead and gantry cranes.”

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