Standard Interpretations - Table of Contents
• Standard Number: 1910.178

March 7, 1996

Mr. Robert B. Walker, CSP
Director - Health, Safety and
Industrial Hygiene
Bridgestone/Firestone, Inc.
P.O. Box 1408900
Nashville, TN 37214-8900


Dear Mr. Walker:

Thank you for your letter dated January 29, addressed to Mr. Thomas H. Seymour, Deputy Director for Safety Standards Programs, requesting clarification of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) policy regarding the use of seat belts on powered industrial trucks. Your letter was transferred to the Directorate of Compliance Programs for response. I apologize for the delay in responding to your request. The questions you asked and the corresponding responses follow.

Question 1: Are seat belts required to be installed on forklift trucks? If so, under what standard and section is this addressed?

Response: OSHA does not have a specific standard that requires the use or installation of seat belts, however, Section 5(a)(1) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act) requires employers to protect employees from serious and recognized hazards. Recognition of the hazard of powered industrial truck tipover and the need for the use of an operator restraint system is evidenced by certain requirements for powered industrial trucks at ASME B56.1-1993 - Safety Standard for Low Lift and High Lift Trucks. National consensus standard ASME B56.1-1993 requires that powered industrial trucks manufactured after 1992 must have a restraint device, system, or enclosure that is intended to assist the operator in reducing the risk of entrapment of the operator's head and/or torso between the truck and ground in the event of a tipover. Therefore, OSHA would enforce this standard under Section 5(a)(1) of the OSH Act.

Question 2: Is it required for new forklift trucks to have seat belts. If so, under what standard and section is this addressed?

Response: See response to question #1.

Question 3: Is it required for forklift trucks already in use (