What Are the Basic Forklift Regulations?

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  • Written By: Felicia Dye
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 21 November 2019
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Forklift regulations commonly outline the age and degree of knowledge required for operators. There may be requirements regarding safety features on the machines. Operators are usually responsible for ensuring that the machines are in proper working order on a daily basis. Supervisors and other authorities tend to bear the responsibility of determining when operators are fit to drive and to ensure that they follow regulations while operating a forklift.

There are usually forklift regulations that dictate who can use this type of equipment. For example, it is common to find that the use of forklifts is subject to age restrictions, which may vary from one industry to another. There are also usually regulations that require individuals to be trained on proper usage and safety. For training to comply with a jurisdiction's regulations, a successful driving test may be required in addition to classroom instruction.

As forklifts can cause harm to individuals other than the users, regulations may require that signs be used that identify the areas where the equipment is in use. The regulations may dictate the spacing, wording, or images on the signs. To further protect the safety of others, these machines may be required to have features that produce noise when they are moving in reverse. It may also be required that these machines have a certain number and placement of mirrors.


The brakes of these machines are often a focus of forklift regulations. A certain type of braking system or a certain degree of performance may be required for a machine to be considered compliant. When a forklift has air brakes, operators may be required to have air brake certification in addition to their forklift training. It is usually the responsibility of the operator to ensure that the machine is in proper working condition. He may need to check items such as lights and tire inflation and to conduct a thorough visual inspection. When something is found not to be operating properly, it is common for notation to be required and for the problem to be fixed before the machine can be used again.

Forklift regulations may make it the responsibility of individuals in positions of authority, such as managers and supervisors, to determine when it is safe for individuals to operate these machines. For example, it may be a violation to permit a person who appears to be intoxicated or in an unsuitable medical condition to operate a forklift. It may also be the responsibility of authority figures to ensure that operators comply with forklift regulations while they are operating the machines. This includes requirements that seat belts always be worn and that weight limits be respected.


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