Cover Story

Protecting Our Workers: Powered Industrial Truck Safety

Powered industrial trucks (PITs) are used in many indus­tries, primarily to move materials. Typically, within the USPS® work environment, PITs contain an electric motor and are used to raise, lower, or move pallets and tow containers.

Supervisors must ensure that each PIT operator is com­petent to operate a PIT safely. This is demonstrated by the successful completion of the required training and evalua­tion specific to the PIT the employee is expected to operate.

To obtain an operator’s certificate, each employee must demonstrate his or her knowledge of general PIT safety information specific to the PIT being operated, as well as site-specific information that is contained in their facility’s written PIT program. Once the employee successfully com­pletes the classroom portion of the training, which may include a written test, he or she is required to demonstrate operational proficiency for each PIT he or she may be required to operate. This is accomplished by an authorized evaluator observing the trainee performing tasks related to normal PIT job assignments.

Once the evaluator deems the employee competent to operate his or her assigned PIT, the employee will be issued an operator’s certificate of familiarization or driver’s certificate. Only trained and authorized operators are per­mitted to operate a PIT.

Operator refresher training is mandatory and must be delivered at least once every 3 years for each PIT the oper­ator is authorized to operate. Additionally, refresher training must be delivered when an unsafe operation is observed, a near-miss accident occurs, or the employee is assigned to operate a new type of PIT.

Each PIT must be examined using the PIT pre-tour checklist before being placed in service. PITs shall not be placed in service if the PIT pre-tour checklist shows any condition adversely affecting the safety of the vehicle, and the PIT must be removed from service until the defect can be remedied. All repairs should be made by authorized per­sonnel only.