Massachusetts and OSHA Requirements Forklift Safety Training and Hoisting Regulations


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Massachusetts and OSHA Requirements Forklift Safety Training and Hoisting Regulations 

Forklifts or powered industrial trucks (PIT) seem to be in every workplace. There are about 1.5 million forklift drivers in the U.S. alone. Whatever you call them – forklifts, powered industrial trucks or fork trucks, regulations seem to be ever-changing. Both OSHA and the Massachusetts Department of Public Safety (DPS) have recognized that the use of PITs is one of the common causes of workplace injury and death and are now requiring employers to take action.

“Many of our clients our unaware of Massachusetts and OSHA requirements when it comes to the operation of hoisting equipment, industrial lift trucks, forklifts, overhead cranes, and other hoisting equipment. We require all of our staff to brief clients when the operation of this type of industrial equipment is involved as part of their operations. Our focus is on safety first; compliance and safety often go hand and hand!” Valerie Wakefield, President

Massachusetts requires licensing of hoisting machinery operators and addresses this regulation under Massachusetts General Laws (MGL) Chapter 146, Section 53. The regulation, 520 Code of Massachusetts Regulations (CMR) 6.00 associated with this law, requires all operators of hoisting machinery, including forklifts used in manufacturing, retail and warehouses, to complete an application and pass a test to obtain a license from the Massachusetts Department of Public Safety.  The regulation applies to all hoisting machinery used on private or public property where the height of the lift exceeds 10 feet or the weight of the load exceeds 500 pounds.

In addition to the Massachusetts law, there is an OSHA standard that is applied to the general operation of powered industrial trucks which requires training. The operator’s previous knowledge and skill are taken into account and he/she must demonstrate driving skills on each forklift or powered industrial truck they operate. Training for operators must also include other hazards in the workplace and the use of attachments to include: cylinder caddies; drum rotators; drum grippers; rug rams; drum carriers; and hoppers.

Employers must understand that forklift and powered industrial truck training is very specific and must include topics that address a light load that is too far forward and loads near the tips of the forks or unstable loads. Operators need to recognize when the steering is unstable and when they should be adding weight to the back and deciding if extra weight would increase the instability.

Massachusetts Potential fines for noncompliance:

The Massachusetts Department of Public Safety is now authorized, under MGL Chapter 22, Section 21, to assess fines of up $5,000 for violations of certain statutes and regulations, including hoisting.

For more information on the requirements for forklift safety training and hoisting, please contact us at: 877-399-1698 or fill out a request for training here.