Are Operator Manuals Required On Forklifts?

Today's question comes from Jason Burrow in Raleigh, North Carolina. He asks:

Are operator manuals required on forklifts?

No, OSHA does not specifically require an operators manual to be present on a forklift. However, there are some aspects of the OSHA Powered Industrial Truck regulations that will be difficult to comply with without a copy of the operator's manual.


Daily Inspections

29 CFR 1910.178(q)(7) requires that:

Industrial trucks shall be examined before being placed in service, and shall not be placed in service if the examination shows any condition adversely affecting the safety of the vehicle. Such examination shall be made at least daily. Where industrial trucks are used on a round-the-clock basis, they shall be examined after each shift. Defects when found shall be immediately reported and corrected.

The operator manual is where OSHA will check to see if these required inspections are occuring. Employees will likely need to refer to the manual while conducting the required inspections.



The operator manual is a key component of the forklift training program. 29 CFR 1910.178(l)(3)(i)(M) states that instruction must include:

Any other operating instructions, warnings, or precautions listed in the operator's manual for the types of vehicle that the employee is being trained to operate.

This will also be difficult to accomplish without a readily accessible copy of the operators manual.

A forklift operator reviews the manual
Forklift Operator Manual