Forktruck Safety

Person operating a fork truck.

Forklifts (also known as powered industrial trucks) are used for handling materials, parts, products, tools, equipment, supplies, and maintenance items. Forklifts are efficient for material handling because they are self-propelled, maneuverable and require only one operator to lift, transport, stack, and unstack material. Forklifts are powered by battery, propane, gasoline, or diesel fuel, and may be used for indoor or outdoor use depending on their fuel source, size, tires, and load capacities.

Pursuant to the OSHA standard, only qualified and trained drivers should be permitted to operate a forklift at Iowa State University. Trainees will only be authorized to operate the equipment during training sessions when supervised by a qualified operator. To ensure that all forklift operators on campus are properly trained, EH&S offers Forklift Operator Safety courses in Workday Learning and Canvas (students). If you need assistance, please contact


Operator Guidelines

Departments who own forklifts are responsible for the proper maintenance and care, and for ensuring that only authorized operators use the forklift.

Departments who employ forklift operators are responsible for ensuring operators are trained, evaluated, and that forklifts are operated in a safe manner.

Forklifts must be inspected prior to each work shift by completing a daily inspection checklist. DO NOT USE any equipment if any defects are found during the inspection. Any defects should be reported and corrected immediately. If any defect cannot be corrected immediately, the forklift must be taken out of service until it can be repaired.


Training Requirements

The classroom training is a one-time requirement unless the operator is involved in a forklift accident or is observed operating the truck in an unsafe manner. Driving evaluations must be completed during initial certification and every three years thereafter to maintain operator certification. Driving evaluations can only be completed by EH&S or an approved evaluator.