Powered Industrial Truck Safety Program

Powered Industrial Truck Safety Program


The purpose of Western Michigan University’s Powered Industrial Truck Safety program is to prevent accidents resulting from unsafe operation of powered industrial trucks. Western Michigan’s program shall follow the provisions of Michigan’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s ( MIOSHA) Part 21 Powered Industrial Trucks.


This program applies to all applicable employees of Western Michigan University, including full-time, part-time, temporary, and student employees. Other persons doing work at Western Michigan University, and using University equipment, shall provide documentation from their employer that they have had current Powered Industrial Truck Training in accordance with the MIOSHA Powered Industrial Truck Standard.


Powered Industrial Truck (PIT): A mobile, power-driven vehicle used to carry, push, pull, lift, stack, or tier material. Vehicles that are commonly referred to as high lift trucks, counterbalanced trucks, rider trucks, forklift trucks, low lift trucks, low lift platform trucks, rough terrain forklift trucks, motorized hand trucks, pallet jack trucks, narrow aisle rider trucks, and high lift order picker trucks are included. Vehicles primarily used for earth moving, snow removal, salting, man-lifts, or over-the-road haulage are not included in this program


Operator training:

Only trained and authorized operators shall be permitted to operate a Powered Industrial Truck at Western Michigan University. An operator must be 18 years of age. After demonstrating competency, as demonstrated by successful completion of the training evaluation specified in the MIOSHA Standard, The Western Michigan University Office of Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) will issue an operator’s permit. 

  1. Training shall consist of a combination of: a)Formal classroom instruction (e.g., lecture, discussion, written material) based on the MIOSHA Standard, aHands-on training of the operator in the workplace by the supervisors or designee.
  2. Trainees may operate a PIT without a permit for a period of 30 days under the direct supervision of a person who has the knowledge and experience in PIT operations. Such training will take place in a location that does not endanger the trainee or other employees.
  3. Refresher Training:  Refresher training is required of the operator when the operator is observed: a) Performing an unsafe operation, b) Involved in an accident or near-miss, c) Evaluation indicates need, d) Different type of equipment is introduced, e) Workplace conditions change.
Testing and Evaluation:
  1. Evaluation of operator driving skill and performance on each type of trucks he or she could be expected to operate.
  2. Evaluation of the operator’s knowledge and skills  by written and/or verbal testing
  3. Each applicable employee shall meet the minimum requirements and shall be retested not less than every 3 years.
Documentation of Training:

Permits shall be provided to employees who successfully complete the training to indicate that they have  been trained and their skills have been evaluated. The permit shall be carried by the operator or be available upon request at all times during their working shift.



  1. Assure that vehicle pre-operation inspections are being performed each shift the PIT is being used. At the end of the month, will send the inspection logs to EHS.
  2. Periodically verify that highway trucks are being chocked or secured.
  3. Obtain and maintain signage on docks that trucks will be chocked.
  4. Obtain and maintain dockboards, where appropriate, and ensure are capable of being secured. 
  5. Obtain and maintain signage at battery charging areas that no smoking is allowed.
  6. Assure that eyewash stations are available if employee is servicing batteries.
  7. Observe that PITs are being operated safely.
  8. Assure that no modifications of existing equipment occur without prior approval of EHS and the manufacturer.
  9. Obtain and keep on file an operator’s manual on each PIT in use.


  1. Operate only the PITs for which they are certified.
  2. Report an impairment of any physical qualifications: a. Vision problems that cannot be corrected by glasses or contacts, b. Impairment to one or more limbs, c. Insufficient height to operate the controls and have an unobstructed view over the controls and dashboard, d. Neurological disorders that affect balance or consciousness, e. Lack of coordination between eyes, hands, and feet, f. Taking medication that affects perception, vision, or physical abilities.  Note: The operator does not have to inform the supervisor of specific details regarding their condition, only that their ability to operate the PIT may be impaired.
  3. Verify, or complete, a PIT pre-operation inspection log at the beginning of each shift that the vehicle will be used.
  4. Verify load is within load limits of PIT.
  5. Perform repairs to PIT only if qualified.
  6. Board an over-the-road truck and trailer with a PIT (including powered pallet trucks) only if the truck and trailer have their brakes set and not less than 2 wheels blocked (chocked).
  7. Secure dockboard before traveling over it.
  8. Visually inspect travel paths for obstacles, grease, oils, ice, or other hazardous conditions. Employees may have to clean items from the path of travel before proceeding.
  9. Report all accidents involving injury to an employee, or damage to buildings and equipment to the supervisor.
  10. Maintain clear access to fire aisles, to stairways and fire equipment when depositing loads.

Environmental Health and Safety:

  1. Assist all sites in conducting initial, retesting and refresher training.
  2. Will keep training and inspection records for 3 years plus the current year.
  3. Will conduct random inspections of trucks, driving skills, pre-operation inspection logs and equipment.
  4. Examples of pre-operation inspection logs are available from EHS.


Revised May 1, 2019