ES&H Manual



6145 Appendix T4

Use of Forklifts



1.0            Purpose


The purpose of this document is to define the requirements for safe operations of low lift and high lift forklifts used on behalf of Jefferson Lab.


2.0            Scope


This document provides Jefferson Lab’s minimum requirements for safe operation of forklifts and attachments. 


Requirements are provided in coordination with ES&H Manual Chapter 6140 Material Handling Equipment Program and ES&H Manual Chapter 6145 Material Handling Equipment – Forklifts and Attachments.


3.0            Responsibilities

NOTE:           Management authority may be delegated to a task qualified Jefferson Lab employee at the discretion of the responsible manager.


3.1              Qualified Forklift Operators

·         Perform a Pre-Work Analysis prior to forklift operations.

·         Determine the need for Guides or Signalers

·         Perform work in accordance with Forklift Operations Guidelines listed below including:   

o   Attaching rigging to the forks to support a suspended load

o   Performing Critical Lifts

o   Operating in tunnels and halls or other tight-clearance areas


Refer to ES&H Manual Chapter 6140 Material Handling Equipment Program and ES&H Manual Chapter 6145 Material Handling Equipment – Forklifts and Attachments for overall responsibilities. 


4.0            Requirements


4.1              Pre-Work Analysis

·         Familiarize yourself with the area of operation noting any unusual conditions by performing a Task Hazard Analysis and documenting unusual conditions as required. 

·         Select the proper forklift for the job; diesel/propane or electric powered forklift. (For example: Indoor use of diesel/propane forklifts is kept to a minimum. They may be used to move a load in or out of a building, but not within a building.)

·         Evaluate the driving surface and tire-type:

o   Pneumatic-type tires: asphalt, concrete, or improved (graveled).

o   Solid-type tires: asphalt or concrete surfaces.


4.2              Guides and Signalers

·         The need for guides and signalers is identified through the Task Hazard Analysis and determined by load size or proximity of hazards. However an operator can request this type of assistance at any time.

·         Must be in the operator’s view at all times.

·         Remain away from the raised load. Guides and signalers maintain a distance of at least one foot from the load for every foot the load is raised.


4.3              Forklift Operations

·         Hardhats are worn by operators, guides, and signalers when the forklift operation involves lifting the load more than six-feet above the floor.

·         Forklifts are not operated on public highways beyond the Jefferson Lab site boundaries.

·         Operators, guides and signalers concentrate on the operation of the forklift and the load. The work must be stopped if a distraction is present.

·         Electric forklifts are charged in approved charging areas which have an eye wash station located nearby.

·         At the conclusion of the forklift operation, the operator immediately restores the work area to its pre-work condition, replacing barriers, ropes, or other items moved for travel or delivery of the load.


The following sections are transcribed from DOE Standard 1090-2011; Hoisting and Rigging Standard, Chapter 10 Forklift Trucks. Paragraph numbering used in this Reference has been retained for ease of future updates. Portions of the Operators Conduct that do not apply at Jefferson Lab have been omitted as noted.


The following shall apply to all personnel involved in forklift operations. At the initial stage of the planning process, an appointed person shall classify each lift into one of the DOE-specified categories (ordinary, critical, or preengineered production).


Note: Preengineered Production lifts are not defined for Jefferson Lab material handling operations.  A Standard Operating Procedure or Temporary Operational Safety Procedure will be used as apropriate for forklift operations that are beyond the scope of an ordinary lift. 



The following requirements shall be observed by the operator when operating forklift trucks. General

a.       Safe operation is the responsibility of the operator. Report all accidents and “near misses” promptly.

b.      The operator shall develop safe working habits and also be aware of hazardous conditions in order to protect himself, other personnel, the truck, and other material.

c.       The operator shall be familiar with the operation and function of all controls and instruments before operating the truck.

d.      Before operating any truck, the operator shall be familiar with unusual operating conditions which may require additional safety precautions or special operating instructions.

e.       Be certain the truck has successfully passed a preuse inspection.

f.       Do not start or operate the truck, any of its functions or attachments, from any place other than from the designated operator’s position.

g.       Keep hands and feet inside the operator’s designated area or compartment. Do not put any part of the body outside the operator compartment of the truck.

h.      Never put any part of the body within the reach mechanism of the truck or other attachments.

i.        Avoid reaching through the mast for any purpose.

j.        To safeguard pedestrians, understand the truck’s limitations and observe the following precautions:

1.      Do not drive a truck up to anyone standing in front of an object.

2.      Ensure that personnel stand clear of the rear swing area before conducting turning maneuvers.

3.      Exercise particular care at cross aisles, doorways, and other locations where pedestrians may step into the path of travel of the truck.

4.      Do not allow anyone to stand or pass under the elevated portion of any truck, whether empty or loaded.

k.      Do not permit passengers to ride on powered industrial trucks unless a safe place to ride has been provided by the manufacturer.

l.        Ensure that fire aisles, access to stairways, and fire equipment is kept clear.

m.    A powered industrial truck is considered unattended when the operator is more than 25 ft. (7.6 m) from the truck, which remains in his view, or whenever the operator leaves the truck and it is not in his view.

n.      Before leaving the operator’s position, the operator shall perform the following:

1.      Bring truck to a complete stop.

2.      Place directional controls in neutral.

3.      Apply the parking brake.

4.      Fully lower load-engaging means, unless supporting an elevated platform.

o.      In addition, when leaving the truck unattended the operator shall perform the following:

1.      Stop the engine or turn off the controls.

2.      If the truck must be left on an incline, block the wheels.

3.      Fully lower the load-engaging means.

p.      Maintain a safe distance from the edge of ramps, platforms, and other similar working surfaces.

q.      intentionally ommitted for JLab

r.        intentionally ommitted for JLab

s.       intentionally ommitted for JLab

t.        intentionally ommitted for JLab

u.      intentionally ommitted for JLab

v.      intentionally ommitted for JLab

w.     intentionally ommitted for JLab

x.      Care shall be taken to not contact overhead installations such as lights, wiring, pipes, sprinkler systems, etc.   If in doubt, measure.

y.      Motorized hand trucks shall not be ridden unless they are of the hand/rider design. Traveling

a.       Observe all traffic regulations and under all travel conditions, operate the truck at a speed that will permit it to be brought to a stop in a safe manner. Unless facility specific procedures state otherwise, the guideline is: within plant buildings – 5 mph; on plant roads – 15 mph. Drive slowly around curves.

b.      Yield the right of way to pedestrians and emergency vehicles. Whenever possible, establish eye contact with approaching pedestrians or vehicle drivers before continuing.

c.       Do not pass another truck traveling in the same direction at intersections, blind spots, or at other locations where vision is obstructed.

d.      Slow down and sound horn at cross aisles and other locations where vision is obstructed.

e.       Intentionally ommitted for JLab

f.       Never travel with forks raised to unnecessary heights. Approximately 4 to 6 inches (10 to 15 cm) above floor level is adequate.

g.       Intentionally ommitted for JLab

h.      Face in the direction of travel, except if the load being carried obstructs forward view. In such cases, travel with the load trailing.

i.        When ascending or descending grades, ramps, and inclines:

1.      In excess of 5 percent grade, drive loaded rider trucks with the load upgrade.

2.      Use low gear or slowest speed control.

3.      Operate unloaded trucks with the loadengaging means downgrade.

4.      The load and load-engaging means shall be tilted back, if applicable and raised only as far as necessary to clear the road surface.

5.      Avoid turning if possible, and normally travel straight up and down.

j.        While turning, be cautious of rear end swing and keep clear of the edge of loading docks.

k.      Make starts, stops, turns, or direction reversals in a smooth manner s as not to shift load and/or overturn the truck.

l.        Do no indulge in stunt driving or horseplay.

m.    Slow down for wet and slippery floors.

n.      Before driving over a dockboard or bridge plate, be sure that it is properly secured.

o.      Drive carefully and slowly across the dockboard or bridge plate, and never exceed its rated capacity.

p.      Intentionally omitted for JLab

q.      Unless a towing hitch is supplied by the manufacturer, do not use forklift trucks as tow trucks. When a towing hitch is provided, use tow bars rather than wire rope for towing.

r.        At the end of the operator’s shift, return the forklift truck to its assigned parking place, set brakes, fully lower load-engaging means, place controls in neutral position, turn ignition off, and secure the key.

s.       If the truck is equipped with a seat belt, use it. Loading

a.       Since the load rating for forklifts may be based on stability or hydraulic or structural competence, do not exceed the rated capacity in operational application.

b.      The designated person shall ensure that the weight of a load approaching the rated capacity (combination of weight and location of the center of gravity) has been determined within –10 percent, +0 percent before it is lifted.

c.       Only stable, safely arranged loads shall be handled. Block and secure them if necessary.

d.      Caution shall be exercised when handling off-center loads which cannot be centered.

e.       Always spread the forks to suit the load width.

f.       Extra caution s required when handling loads exceeding the dimensions used to establish truck capacity. Stability and maneuverability may be adversely affected.

g.       The forks shall be placed under the load as far as possible; the mast shall be carefully tilted backward to stabilize the load.

h.      Do not transport loads or miscellaneous items within the operator’s compartment or other areas of the truck, unless a secure area has been provided and designated by the user.

i.        A load backrest extension shall be used whenever necessary to minimize the possibility of the load or part of it from falling rearward.

j.        Do not attach or operate any attachment on a forklift truck that has not been approved for use by forklift truck manufacturer or a qualified engineer in the absence of manufacturer approval.

k.      When attachments are used, extra care shall be taken in securing, manipulating, positioning, and transporting the load.

l.        Operate trucks equipped with attachments as partially loaded trucks when not handling a load.

m.    Fork length should be at least two thirds of the load length.

n.      Use extreme care when tilting load forward or backward, particularly when high tiering.

o.      Do not tilt forward with forks elevated except to pick up or deposit a load over a rack or stack.

p.      When stacking or tiering, use only enough backward tilt to stabilize the load.

q.      Rigging loads from the tines of a forklift, (attaching rigging to the forks to support a suspended load) shall only be performed by qualified personnel in accordance with approved site procedures.

r.        Never lift with one fork without an engineering analysis and approval.

s.       Use guides and signalers as necessary. If in doubt, check the conditions personally before proceeding. Standard hand signals are shown in Figure 10.5, “Hand Signals.”

t.        Do not block fire extinguishers, fire protection sprinklers, or alarm stations when stacking loads.

10.5.2 Intentionally omitted for JLab



a.       Standard hand signals for use at DOE locations shall be as specified in the latest edition of the ANSI standards for the particular forklift being used (see Figure 10-5).

b.      The operator shall recognize signals only from the designated signaler. However Obey a STOP signal no matter who gives it.

c.       For operations not covered by standard hand signals, special signals shall be agreed on in advance by both the operator and the signal person, and should not conflict with the standard signals.




Figure 1: Hand Signals used by Guides and Signalers




a.       The requirements of all preceding paragraphs in Section 10.5, “Operation,” shall also apply to ordinary lifts.

b.      Ordinary lifts involving hoisting and rigging operations require a designated leader who shall be present at the lift site during the entire lifting operation. If the lift is being made by only one person, that person assumes all responsibilities of the designated leader.

c.       Leadership designation may be by written instructions, specific verbal instructions for the particular job, or clearly defined responsibilities within the crew’s organizational structure. The designated leader’s responsibility shall include the following:

1.         Ensuring that personnel involved understand how the lift is to be performed.

2.         Ensuring that the weight of the load is determined, that proper equipment and accessories are selected, and that rated capacity is not exceeded.

3.         Surveying the lift site for hazardous/unsafe conditions.

4.         Ensuring that equipment is properly set up and positioned.

5.         Ensuring that a signaler is assigned, if required, and is identified to the operator.

6.         Directing the lifting operation to ensure that the job is performed safely and efficiently.

7.         Stopping the job when any potentially unsafe condition is recognized.

8.         Directing operations if an accident or injury occurs.”


4.4              Rigging Loads from the Tines of a Forklift (attaching rigging to the forks to support a suspended load)

·         Prepare a Material Handling Lift Plan for lifting and positioning suspended loads using a forklift, reference ES&H Manual Chapter 6141 Appendix T4 Hoisting and Rigging Operations (Including Planning a Lift)

·         Forklift attachment booms and beam hooks are the preferred method of suspending a load under forklift tines. Use of rigging gear attached directly to tines for the suspension of a load is permissible under the following conditions:

o   The rigging must be approved gear that complies with the requirements of American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) B31.9 Slings and ASME B30.26 Rigging Hardware: Safety Standard for Cableways, Cranes, Derricks, Hoists, Hooks, Jacks, and Slings.

o   Synthetic web slings and round slings may be used in contact with the steel fork tines with adequate protection from the corners of the tines.

o   Slings are positioned at a rated load center of the forklift and the load is equally distributed between the two tines in a generally vertical configuration.


Alloy chain slings, wire rope slings, shackles or other metallic rigging gear may not be used in contact with fork tines.


·         A work control document is used when planning to rig loads from the tines of a forklift that cannot be accomplished with the above restrictions. A work control document is generated using an approved electronic document control system for the facility requiring the lift. A work planning tool such as the Accelerator Task List (ATLis) or similar system is an acceptable work control document. In the work control document the Material Handling Manager is listed for notification and sign off.


4.5              Critical Lifts

·         A lift is designated critical if, when mishandled or dropped, any of the following consequences could occur to the load, nearby installations, or facilities:

o   The load item, if damaged or upset would result in a release into the environment of radioactive or hazardous material exceeding the established permissible environmental limits.

o   The load item is unique, if damaged it would be irreplaceable or not repairable; and it is vital to a system, facility, or project operation.

o   The cost to replace or repair the load item, or the delay in operations would have a negative impact on facility, organizational, or DOE budgets to the extent that it would affect program commitments.

·         A Lift Plan is used for critical lifts as determined by the appointed person planning the lift based on the criteria above. 

·         The MHM or designee reviews and observes all critical lifts.



4.6              Operations in Tunnel and Halls (tight-clearance areas):

·         Keep all body parts inside the frame of the vehicle.

·         Use extreme caution when turning.

·         Use Extreme caution when moving a wide load.

·         Be aware of load height and overhead obstacles.


Accelerator Tunnel Inclines – where a tunnel incline is accessible to a forklift a work control document must be executed for safe operation. Contact the MHM for guidance and document sign off.


To prevent radiation exposure forklifts are not to remain in the beam enclosure or Experimental Halls during beam operation.


5.0            References


·        29 CFR 1910.178 Powered Industrial Trucks

·        ANSI/ITSDF B56.1 Safety Standard for Low Lift and High Lift Trucks

·        DOE Standard 1090-2011; Hoisting and Rigging Standard, Chapter 10 Forklift Trucks


6.0            Revision Summary


Revision 1.4 – 01/24/18 – Updated TPOC from B.Sperlazza to M.Loewus

Revision 1.3 – 02/09/17 – Updated TPOC from D.Kausch to B.Sperlazza per B.Sperlazza

Revision 1.2 – 12/17/15 – Eliminated two positions previously identified as the MHSR and the MHER, the responsibilities of these positions are now performed by the MHM. Added the requirement to use a Material Handling Lift Plan in paragraph 4.4

Revision 1.1 – 06/03/15 – Periodic Review; Updated link for DOE Standard 1090

Revision 1.0 – 04/12/10 – Updated to reflect current laboratory operations.











ES&H Division

Mark Loewus





This document is controlled as an on line file.  It may be printed but the print copy is not a controlled document.  It is the user’s responsibility to ensure that the document is the same revision as the current on line file.  This copy was printed on 2/19/2018.