Common Misconceptions Regarding Powered Industrial Truck Training (TRN Safety Alert)

From Cliff Gerbick, ASP (The Reserves Network Director of Safety)

One of the many frequent misconceptions regarding Powered Industrial Trucks (PIT) has to do with operator training. OSHA requires business to train, observe and certify all PIT operators. With that said, it needs to be restated that businesses must train, observe and certify all PIT operators and not rely on the training from an employee’s previous employer. Here are some of the reasons operators must be certified internally.

1. Forklift Certifications do not transfer from one company to another.

Each company is required to develop and implement a Powered Industrial Truck (PIT) Written Program. PIT is an OSHA term for forklifts, powered pallet jacks, etc. The Program must outline: How that company will oversee the usage of PIT’s; the maintenance of PIT’s; and also provide training and certification of operators. OSHA does not state that companies must use the same program, only that companies must develop a program that covers certain items. Therefore, if an employee was Forklift Certified at ABC Company, it does not certify them at any other company because all companies should have written programs specific to their needs. As a result, when a company hires an employee who was certified at ABC Company, it does not make them certified at the new company.

2. OSHA has specific requirements for training.

OSHA has outlined in the Powered Industrial Truck Standard (CFR 1910.178) which topics need to be covered in the classroom portion of the training.

Highlights of the truck-related requirements are:

  • Operating instructions, warnings and precautions for the types of truck the operator will be authorized to operate
  • Truck controls and instrumentation (IE: Where they are located, what they do and how they work)
  • Fork and attachment adaptation, operation and use limitations
  • Vehicle capacity

Some workplace-related requirements include:

  • Surface conditions where the vehicle will operate
  • Pedestrian traffic in areas where the vehicles will operate
  • Ramps and other sloped surfaces that could affect the vehicle’s stability and performance
  • Other unique or potentially hazardous environmental conditions in the workplace that could affect safe operation

These topic requirements are specific to each individual employer, and one of the primary reasons PIT certifications do not transfer from company-to-company.

3. Trainers have to be knowledgeable on the subject matter.

Since the training topics and requirements are so specific, the trainer needs to have first-hand knowledge of both the Powered Industrial Truck and the operational environment of the PIT. Typically this is information that is only known by employees of the company, therefore third parties would not be sufficient trainers unless they knew all of the ins and outs of the company they are training for.

4. Trainers must observe the operator in regular working environment.

Another training requirement is that instructors must observe and evaluate the operator’s performance in the workplace. Most safety and health professionals know that they must observe PIT operators during their initial certification process, but they should also be continuously observing operators in order to make sure they are following all rules and procedures after they have been certified. This ensures that the operator was not only operating the PIT correctly during the certification phase, but has continued to operate it safety thereafter.

There is a lot of time, knowledge and detail required in providing OSHA compliant training – particularly Forklift Certification. Make sure that you are following all of the requirements of CFR 1910.178 to give your employees all of the knowledge and skills to operate a Powered Industrial Truck safely in your facility.

Cliff Gerbick is the Director of Safety for The Reserves Network, a provider of “Total Staffing Solutions” in the office, industrial, professional and technical markets. To contact Cliff, email

The Reserves Network to Host Job Fair at Festa Food (Dec. 13)

The Reserves Network, a provider of “Total Staffing Solutions” for the office, industrial, professional and technical markets, will be hosting a Job Fair at Festa Food on Tuesday, Dec. 13.

The Job Fair will take place from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at Festa Food located at 3590 West 58th Street (Off Denison) in Cleveland.

The company is currently seeking applicants for Packing, Production and General Labor.

Representatives will be on-hand to discuss employment opportunities. Job seekers are asked to bring a current copy of their resume and at least two forms of ID.

Questions? Contact our Cleveland office at (216) 227-3600 or email

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Click here to visit the Online TRN Job Board! (Apply Online | Browse Jobs | Upload Resume)

About The Reserves Network

The Reserves Network is a regional staffing service for the office, industrial, professional and technical markets. Founded in 1984 and headquartered in Fairview Park, Ohio, the provider of ‘Total Staffing Solutions’ has won multiple honors for outstanding sales growth and management excellence. System-wide, the company expects to place nearly 20,000 employees annually at its more than 30 office locations in Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Georgia, Florida and Wisconsin. This includes temporary, temporary-to-hire and direct-hire placements. For more information on The Reserves Network visit or follow TRNstaffing on twitter!

For additional information on this news release, and all other media inquiries on The Reserves Network or its affiliates, please contact the Communications Department at

OSHA Issues New National Emphasis Program (TRN Safety Alert)

From Cliff Gerbick, ASP (The Reserves Network Director of Safety)

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued a new National Emphasis Program (NEP) for chemical facilities. The NEP is focused on protecting workings from the risks associated with catastrophic releases of highly hazardous chemicals.

The new NEP replaces a 2009 pilot Chemical Facility National Emphasis Program which covered certain regions across the United States. The new program is a nationwide program that establishes updated polices and procedures for inspecting workplaces that are covered under OSHA’s Process Safety Management (PSM) standard. The PSM standard covers employees who have threshold quantities of highly hazardous chemicals in their workplaces. The purpose of the new NEP is to give inspectors better tools to conduct inspections of facilities that are likely to have highly hazardous chemicals in quantities covered by OSHA.

For further information on the National Emphasis Program and Process Safety Management, please visit

For information on additional OSHA National Emphasis Programs, please (Click Here for OSHA Programs)

Cliff Gerbick is the Director of Safety for The Reserves Network, a provider of “Total Staffing Solutions” in the office, industrial, professional and technical markets. To contact Cliff, email