OSHA Regulations for Pallet Jack Use

A man pushing a pallet of boxes in a warehouse.

When using pallet jacks, there are certain regulations that must be followed to meet OSHA compliance guidelines, which will keep you and your coworkers safe from harm on the job. Moving heavy loads is incredibly dangerous, whether you’re using handheld machinery or powered industrial trucks. For this reason, pallet jack operators must be trained to use the equipment responsibly.

Every employer should know the importance of OSHA compliance and what it means to prevent workplace accidents through proper training and inspection. Be it manual or motorized, pallet jacks require companies to provide training for the operator.

Learn all about the OSHA regulations for pallet jack use below. If you are looking for employee training on pallet jacks we have a full certification course.

What Are The OSHA Rules For Pallet Jacks?

To be OSHA compliant, operators must be at least 18 years old and have completed formal instruction either online or in a classroom setting. This ensures that the prospective operator is educated on how to use an electric pallet jack safely in the workplace. Knowing how to use the controls to increase productivity in a warehouse without putting the safety of others at risk is crucial.

However, OSHA has standard rules that all present in the workplace should follow, such as:

  • Not stepping into the path of operating jacks and loading pallets
  • Avoiding pinch points
  • Keeping away from the unloading processes to avoid injuries

Instruction can be delivered in person or by using OSHA-compliant training and should be tested at the end to ensure the individual has understood the training. This is then followed by practical instruction from a qualified operator.

It’s important to remember that pallet jacks fall under the “Powered Industrial Truck” Standard, or 1910.178 for OSHA.

A man with a yellow forklift in a warehouse.

When Would You Use A Pallet Jack Instead Of A Forklift?

While both pallet jacks and forklifts can move heavy loads in a warehouse, they have different uses. Forklifts are larger and need more space to safely operate, but they can lift loads much higher. This is an excellent choice for open spaces with a lot to move.

However, pallet jacks, both electric and manual, work well in smaller areas. While forklifts are mostly driven from a seated position, pallet jacks can be operated from standing, sitting, and walk-behind positions. With less room to move around, they can be incredibly useful tools. The trade-off comes with how high they can lift the load, which maxes out at around 15 inches.

OSHA Requirements On Pallet Jack Safety Training

For electric pallet jack models, OSHA regulations on pallet jacks and certification include formal instruction. This is because a motorized pallet jack and other electric models are considered to be powered industrial trucks, making them a hazard in the workplace if used improperly.

Electric pallet jacks require training that ensures both the operator and fellow employees are safe when the machinery is in use.

Employees must adhere to the OSHA standard and undergo practical training and performance evaluation to minimize the risk of injuries in the warehouse. Safe operation is the priority when we cover topics like pallet jacks and safety hazards.

Two rubber stamps with the word "regulations" and "rules" on top of them.

Can I Complete Pallet Jack Training Online?

Yes! OSHA offers pallet jack safety training through both online and in-person classes. Employees who undergo this training have the option to attend the in-person classes or complete the course online at their own pace. Both enable employees to receive the formal instruction they need to safely navigate pallets, maintenance, and the certification process.

Online courses make the information more accessible, as not everyone is able to attend a structured course in person due to schedule conflicts. The adaptability of an online training course allows for flexibility so that employees can access vital training without having to sacrifice other important events and responsibilities in their lives outside work.

How Long Does Pallet Jack Training Take?

The training for safe operation takes only two hours to complete on average, from the initial course to the final evaluation and demonstration. Pallet jack operators can complete the training at their own speed, and they can gain their pallet jack certification upon completion of the course.

To finish out the course, an exam must be taken, and an employer-led performance evaluation will be carried out to ensure that the information from training is retained and applied to day-to-day operations in the workplace. The employer carries this out to ensure that accidents are minimized and that you can handle operating jacks on the job.

A man on a forklift in a warehouse.

What Is The Test Like?

There are several smaller quizzes throughout each module that will prepare you for the final exam and evaluation to operate a pallet jack on the ground. Each quiz includes up to 5 different questions that will test your memory of the material, and you’ll need an 80% or higher to pass. There is no time limit for the quizzes and you can take them as many times as you need to so you can get a perfect score.

The final exam is made up of 20 questions from all the material and topics covered, from safety to inspection. There is a time limit of 180 minutes, and you will need a score of 70% or higher to pass. This test can be retaken as many times as needed until you pass.

The final step is to pass the evaluation held by your employer on the job site, which is the true test of your skill and education from the course material.

What Happens After Completing The Online Training

Once you complete the online course, pass the test, and demonstrate your ability in the onsite evaluation, you’ll receive your certification. This comes in the form of a certificate and a plastic card you can use to show your hard work at a glance.

A red rubber stamp with the word certified on it.

Where Is Pallet Jack Certification Accepted And Recognized?

Pallet jack safety training for employees grants pallet jack certification, which is recognized for three years before needing to be renewed. A new evaluation will be conducted at that time instead of retaking the course in full.

OSHA pallet jack safety certification is accepted in all 50 states in the U.S. This makes it an essential certification to have when working with a company that wants to be OSHA compliant and ensure that the risk of accidents and injuries are minimized through proper safety training and certification.

Do I Need Certification To Operate Manual Pallet Jacks?

Due to the classification of manual jacks, this equipment does not require certification. An operator does not need to be certified to use a manual jack. However, it’s highly recommended that they are trained on how to inspect the pallet jack for safety before use, how to load the pallets, and how to operate it at a safe speed before being allowed to use it freely.

Safety is the primary concern with heavy equipment like manual jacks and similar machines like a forklift. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

A man pushing a pallet of boxes in a warehouse.

Pallet Jack Etiquette And Guidelines

So, what is the etiquette for pallet jacks?

Well – with pallet jack certification comes pallet jack safety, and manual pallet jacks follow the same general rules and guidelines for etiquette. To start, it’s better to push the load than pull it, as items loaded can topple over. Pushing means that they will not fall back onto the operator. These ergonomic factors are important to preventing injuries with pallet jacks.

Hands and feet should be kept clear from the machine and pinch points at all times to ensure safety as well. Moving loads slowly is also essential to minimizing accidents, as potential injuries are more likely to be spotted when moving slowly and can be prevented.

Final Thoughts On Pallet Jack Use

All companies that require a pallet jack should ensure their employees are fully qualified to operate this equipment before they’re allowed to use it. Pallet Jack certification ensures worker safety and can protect a business’s interests by showing that it is compliant with regulation standards and safety.