ANSI, the American National Standard Institute, under the B56 standards, mandates that the operator of a powered industrial truck, or forklift, must be seated in the normal operating position on the forklift before it can travel.
This is to prevent operators from standing off to the side of their forklift to operate it, thus causing potential injury to themselves or their co-workers. While electric forklifts have been using safety seat switches for some time now, ANSI is now requiring safety seat switches on all new counterbalanced internal combustion forklifts, i.e., propane, natural gas, gasoline or diesel.
Under ANSI B56 standards for powered industrial trucks, 7.2 i. io states: powered travel movement of the truck shall be possible only if the operator is in the normal operating position. also 7.2 i. i i states: powered travel movement shall not occur automatically when the operator returns to the normal operating position without additional operations, (e.g., resetting the directional control, reactivating speed control, etc.).
It should be noted, while not mandated yet, locking out of the forklift’s hydraulic controls when the operator leaves the normal seated operating position is under consideration. For right now though, we are only talking about the travel movement of the forklift.
If you have a question on this or any topic related to safety with your forklift, give our resident expert, Dave Bennet, a call or fill out the request form.