When is a Forklift A Crane

Powered Industrial Trucks, as defined by OSHA 1910.178, are not cranes unless “equipped to hoist and lower, by means of a winch or hook, and horizontally move a suspended load.”
It is not uncommon to see a jib on the forks of a standard forklift, or a fixture with a hook on the forks. Do these make the forklift a crane?

OSHA attempts to clarify the confusion in one of their Interpretation Letters, but we have to establish some definitions first. A Powered Industrial Truck, according to OSHA, has a fixed carriage. This means it is not a Telehandler.

The ruling should apply to telehandlers because they are often used like a crane. They even have a load chart like a crane. OSHA’s interpretation letter rules out a fixed carriage forklift with a jib on the folks being covered by the 1926 Subpart CC. The letter does, however, open the door for Telehandlers as Multi-Purpose Equipment.

Either way, mentioning forklifts in 1926 Subpart CC should be unnecessary. Forklift operator certification is clearly defined in 1910.178 and is the employer’s responsibility. If the Telehandler is considered to be multi-purpose equipment, the complication for an employer is that there is no Nationally Accredited Certification for Telehandler Operators.

Check back with us as we plan to get answers from OSHA!

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