Forklift Training and The Legal Responsibility!


The employer has a legal responsibility under Regulation 851 to ensure all operators of lift trucks are competant in the safe operation of a lifting device. Failure to do so can result in Ministry of Labour Orders or opens up the potential for employer fines of up to $500,000 per offence. See the following specific legislation that applies to forklift operation.

51.  (1)  A lifting device shall,

(a) be so constructed, of such strength and be equipped with suitable ropes, chains, slings and other fittings so as to adequately ensure the safety of all workers;

(b) be thoroughly examined by a competent person to determine its capability of handling the maximum load as rated,

(i) prior to being used for the first time, and

(ii) thereafter as often as necessary but not less frequently than recommended by the manufacturer and in any case, at least once a year,

and a permanent record shall be kept, signed by the competent person doing the examination;

(c) be plainly marked with sufficient information so as to enable the operator of the device to determine the maximum rated load that the device is capable of lifting under any operating condition;

(d) have a cab, screen, canopy guard or other adequate protection for the operator where the operator may be exposed to the hazard of falling material; and

(e) when it is a pneumatic or hydraulic hoist, have controls that automatically return to their neutral position when released. R.R.O. 1990, Reg. 851, s. 51 (1); O. Reg. 420/10, s. 8 (1).

(2)  A lifting device shall be operated,

(a) only by,

(i) a competent person, or

(ii) a worker being instructed who is accompanied by a competent person; and

(b) in such a way that,

(i) no part of the load passes over any worker,

(ii) where a worker may be endangered by the rotation or uncontrolled motion of a load, one or more guide ropes is used to prevent rotation or other uncontrolled motion, and

(iii) subject to subsection (3), when its load is in a raised position the controls are attended by an operator. R.R.O. 1990, Reg. 851, s. 51 (2).

(3)  Subclause (2) (b) (iii) does not apply to,

(a) a hydraulic hoist that supports the load from below and is fixed in one location; and

(b) an assembly line hoist temporarily unattended during a stoppage of the assembly line. R.R.O. 1990, Reg. 851, s. 51 (3).

(4)  Hoisting controls operated from other than a cab or cage shall,

(a) be located so that they can be operated at a safe distance from a load being lifted; and

(b) automatically return to their neutral position when released. R.R.O. 1990, Reg. 851, s. 51 (4).

(5)  Where a lifting device is equipped with one or more limit switches,

(a) each limit switch shall automatically cut off the power and apply the brake when the limit is reached; and

(b) no limit switch shall be used as an operating control unless,

(i) the limit switch is designed for such use, and

(ii) the lifting device has a second limit switch in addition to the control limit switch. O. Reg. 420/10, s. 8 (2).

52.  A crane, lift truck or similar equipment shall be used to support, raise or lower a worker only when,

(a) the worker is on a platform,

(i) equipped with adequate safety devices that will automatically prevent the platform and load from falling if the platform’s normal support fails,

(ii) suspended from a boom that does not move, and the person is attached to a separate lifeline suspended from the boom or a fixed support capable of supporting at least four times the weight of the worker, or

(iii) attached to a mast or boom which,

(A) is hydraulically or pneumatically operated, and

(B) is equipped with a safety device that will prevent free fall of the platform in the event of a pressure line failure;

(b) where the equipment is not designed for the specific purpose of hoisting personnel, the load applied to the crane, lift truck or similar equipment is less than one half the maximum rated load;

(c) the platform has a sign indicating the load that may be applied to the crane, lift truck or similar equipment under clause (b);

(d) where controls are provided at more than one location,

(i) each control station is provided with means whereby the operator can shut off power to the equipment, and

(ii) interlocks have been provided so that only one station can be operative at any time; and

(e) except when the controls are operated from the platform, the controls are attended and operated by another worker. R.R.O. 1990, Reg. 851, s. 52; O. Reg. 420/10, s. 9.

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