OSHA Guidance in Selecting a Powered Industrial Truck

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) provides guidance on selecting powered industrial trucks for use in different operating environments. The standard classifications include 11 different designations of industrial trucks or tractors: Types D, DS, DY, E, ES, EE, EX, G, GS, LP, and LPS. The employer is responsible for determining the hazards associated with the operating environment and then selecting the truck(s) appropriate for that environment.

The following is an abbreviated explanation of which powered industrial trucks may be used in specific environments:

If the environment is not classified as hazardous, any approved truck designated as Type D, E, G, or LP may be used.

Trucks should not be used in atmospheres containing hazardous concentrations of metal dust, including aluminum, magnesium, and their commercial alloys, or other metals of similarly hazardous characteristics.

Trucks designated as Type EX may be used in atmospheres containing acetone, acrylonitrile, alcohol, ammonia, benzine, benzol, butane, ethylene dichloride, gasoline, hexane, lacquer solvent vapors, naphtha, natural gas, propane, propylene, styrene, vinyl acetate, vinyl chloride, or xylenes.

Trucks designated as Type EX should not be used in atmospheres containing carbon black, coal, or coke dust.

Trucks designated as Type EX may be used in atmospheres where combustible dust is or may be in suspension continuously, intermittently, or periodically under normal operating conditions. This includes a variety of working areas, such as grain handling and storage plants; rooms containing grinders or pulverizers, cleaners, graders, scalpers, open conveyors, or spouts; open bins or hoppers; mixers or blenders; automatic or hopper scales; and packing machinery.

Trucks designated as Type DY, EE, or EX may be used in locations where volatile flammable liquids or flammable gases are handled, processed, or used, and only where the hazardous liquids, vapors, or gases will normally be confined within closed containers or closed systems.

Trucks designated as Type DS, ES, GS, or LPS may be used in locations where hazardous liquids or liquefied or compressed gases are sealed in containers.

Trucks designated as Type DY, EE, or EX may be used in atmospheres where combustible dust will not normally be in suspension in the air, or will not be likely to be thrown into suspension by the normal operation of equipment, in quantities sufficient to produce explosive or ignitable mixtures but where deposits or accumulations of such dust may be ignited by arcs or sparks originating in the truck.

Trucks designated as Type DY, EE, or EX should be used in locations which are hazardous because of the presence of easily ignitable fibers that are not likely to be in suspension in the air in quantities sufficient to produce ignitable mixtures.

Trucks designated as Type DS, DY, ES, EE, EX, GS, or LPS may be used in locations where easily ignitable fibers are stored or handled, but are not being processed or manufactured, including outside storage. Trucks designated as Type E, which have been previously used in these locations, may continue to be used.

Trucks designated as Type D, E, G, or LP may be used on piers and wharves handling general cargo.

Note – NFPA 505, Standard for Powered Industrial Trucks Including Type Designations, Areas of Use, Conversions, Maintenance, and Operations – 2002 Edition, published by the National Fire Protection Association, has additional information on classifications of powered industrial trucks for special circumstances.

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