How to Comply with Powered Industrial Truck Travel Requirements

Date First Published on SafetySmart Compliance: February 21st, 2012
Topics: Materials Handling & Storage | Powered Industrial Trucks |

Once industrial trucks take to “the road,” they become subject to travel restrictions under the OSHA Powered Industrial Trucks standard (29 CFR 1910.178(n)). Here’s a summary of what those restrictions are.

Click here for a Model Safe Travel Policy for Powered Industrial Trucks.

Traffic Restrictions

As with any moving vehicle in the workplace, there must be traffic regulations to ensure the safe travel of trucks in motion. Speed limits are the most obvious but by no means the only restrictions necessary. There must also be a rule banning tailgating. Following trucks  must stay about 3 truck lengths from the truck ahead. Operators also need to yield the right of way to ambulances, fire trucks and other emergency vehicles.

Passing of other trucks traveling in the same direction at intersections, blind spots or other dangerous locations must be prohibited. Drivers must be required to slow down and sound the horn when approaching cross aisles and other locations where vision is obstructed. Speed also needs to be carefully watched around turns. Drivers must slow down for wet and slippery floors.

Drivers must travel with the load trailing if the load obstructs forward view. They need to pay attention at all times and keep a clear view of the path of travel. Stunt driving and horseplay by truck drivers is a big-time no-no.

Negotiating Inclines & Elevators

Grades must be ascended or descended slowly. Loaded trucks must be driven with the load upgrade when ascending or descending grades in excess of 10%. On all grades, the load and load engaging means must be tilted back (if tilt-able) and raised only as far as necessary to clear the road surface.

Require drivers to ensure dock-boards or bridge-plates are properly secured before driving over them.

Drivers must approach elevators slowly, and enter squarely after the elevator car is properly leveled. Once on the elevator, the controls must be neutralized, power shut off and the brakes set. Motorized hand trucks must enter elevator or other confined areas with load end forward.


One of the best ways to ensure compliance with these regulations is to include them in a written Safety Policy that all operators are aware of and bound to follow.

Click here for an Operator’s Checklist that workers can refer to before operating the equipment.