In the US, OSHA Takes Care of the Welfare and Standard Enforcement

forklift operatorOSHA has been rigorous in the implementation of its rules and regulations contained in their latest 29 CFR 1910.178 standard.

The primary function of the OSHA is to ensure the safety and wellbeing of the forklift operator. OSHA advocate employers for the placement of safety program that will protect the operators while performing their job. Inspectors are visiting workplaces to ensure that such directive is being implemented by the company.

Cases Where OSHA Imposed Hefty Fines

In December 2010, OSHA penalized a freight carrier company in Rhode Island for $76,000 after an operator suffered foot injury. The authority has determined many counts where the lift truck is being operated incorrectly that resulted to mishap and worker’s injury.

In February 2013, OSHA imposed $91,000 fines against Chicago based company after a worker injured in an accident involving company’s forklift. The case arises when OSHA inspector found out the lapses of the company to train the operator and check it license.

In October 2014, a transportation firm, located in Michigan, has been cited for willful and repeated OSHA violations. The alleged violation ranges from simple non-provision of fall protection to defective and non-maintenance of lift trucks. The company faced $145,000 monetary fine.

In April 2016, OSHA cited several citations against United States Postal Office in its Iowa center. The complain started when a person exposes that lift truck operators are jeopardizing their safety when handling loads and driving the trucks without clear view or visual to the direction. Despite of this, USPS failed to rectify the violations. There are three violations, two repeated and one serious. The facility is now facing $88,000 fines.


The following amounts went into effect January 13, 2022:

  • $14,502 per violation for serious, other-than-serious and posting requirements violations

  • $14,502 per day beyond the abatement date for failure to abate

  • $145,027 per violation for a willful or repeated violation


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Employment of Operators Under 18 Years Old of Age

fines and penaltiesThe legal working age of an individual is 18 years old and older. Hiring of workers younger than what stipulated by the law is illegal.

Employment of young workers is a violation of Fair Labor Standards Act can result to a fine of $10,000, 6-month jail or both can be imposed, depending on the frequency and severity of the violation. If there’s willful and deliberate disobedience to the law, the more severe the penalty will be.

Fork truck operators can be hired as long as they will work in non-hazardous type of environment like in agriculture. Employer must ascertain that workers have been completely trained and certify the competency driving a certain piece of equipment.



In Australia...

In Queensland, a lift truck operator without license falls as breach to work health and safety law (WHS Act). Depending on the gravity of the offence, penalty could fall in one of three categories:

Category 1 – This category contains the most serious offences. This is when a worker or officer irresponsibly put other people at risk of serious injury or death.

Corporation Person as PCBU or office Worker
Up to $3M $600,000 or maximum of 5 years imprisonment $300,000 or maximum of 5 years imprisonment

Category 2 – Incompliance with WHS Act that can cause danger of serious injury or death.

Corporation Person as PCBU or office Worker
Up to $1.5M Up to $300,000 Up to $150,000

Category 3 – Minor incompliance with WHS Act.

Corporation Person as PCBU or office Worker
Up to $500,000 Up to $100,000 Up to $50,000

Sample Cases

A warehousing company Western Australia has been heavily punished for willful violation. After the initial inspection, two workers have been found without proof of certification. The two-week notice has been issued, ordering for the provision training for both workers, but none has been provided. The company has been fined for $8,000.

In WA, a forklift operator has been fined for $1,200 plus $1,800 for damages after he injured a truck driver while reversing. This case is a clear evidence of ignorance. He faced the Pert Magistrates Court and found guilty.



In Canada

If you are an operator working in Ontario, and you have an expired license, your employer is aware of this, but did not provide appropriate provision of forklift training, you could face $25,000 in fines and up to a year of imprisonment. Your immediate superior could face a more severe consequence. The company can be imposed of $500,000 fine, the most harsh.

If death or body injury occurred, there’s a firm punishment for such accident. The inspector will look into the entire training records, and dig through files to check each safety violation. This could mean more penalties to be imposed.

Sample Cases

In 2015, two top executives of a furniture company in Ontario has been fined for $250,000 and jailed for 25 day after pleading guilty. The case arises when a forklift operator died in the warehouse. The two executives admitted commission of safety violation that resulted to the operator’s demise.

Noted violations were non-provision of training program for the workers in the warehouse, non-provision of fall protection accessories. After the accident, a safety inspector has been dispatched to further inspect and found out several more health and safety violations.



In the United Kingdom

Sample Accidents

A fork truck driver in the UK has been prosecuted for negligence after a teen was seriously injured in a lifting incident. The accident happen during a lifting of a 500-kg water heater. The operation found to be dangerous and did not follow a risk analysis prior to operation. The victim almost crushed by the heater. He suffered serious injuries.

The driver pleased guilty and only fined for £270 for violating Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. The low penalty is not sufficient for the damage the driver has caused to the victim.

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