ANSI B56.1-2018: Safety Standard for Low, High Lift Trucks

***Update: this standard has been revised. ANSI/ITSDF B56.1-2020: Safety Standard For Low Lift And High Lift Trucks is available on the ANSI Webstore. You can read more about the changes to this edition here: ANSI/ITSDF B56.1-2020: Low/High Lift Truck Safety Standard.

Operating Forklift with ANSI B56.1-2018

As stated within the document itself, “following approval by the ITSDF B56 Committee and after public review, ANSI/ITSDF B56.1a-2018 was approved as an addenda to ANSI/ITSDF B56.1-2016.”

Changes to ANSI B56.1a-2018

Changes to ANSI/ITSDF B56.1a-2018 were limited to those needed to conform the American National Standard to OSHA fall protection requirements from 2017. These revisions altered section 4.17.2, Table 1(a), Table 1(b), section 7.38.1, and the glossary of the ITSDF standard.

Specifically, ANSI/ITSDF B56.1a-2018 now calls for the personal fall protection systems of trucks used to elevate personnel to be inspected and maintained in accordance with ANSI/ASSP Z359.11-2014: Safety Requirements for Full Body Harnesses, ANSI/ASSP Z359.13-2013: Personal Energy Absorbers and Energy Absorbing Lanyards, ANSI/ASSP Z359.14-2014: Safety Requirements for Self-Retracting Devises for Personal Fall Arrest and Rescue Systems. Please note that each of these standards, due to ASSE’s recent name change to the American Society of Safety Professionals, technically have ASSP in their titles, instead of ASSE.

Furthermore, ANSI B56.1a-2018 now features a guideline regarding rating components of the fall protection system the operator’s weight. As for the tables, both Table 1(a) and Table 1(b) of ANSI/ITSDF B56.1a-2018, which detail personal fall protection system configurations in pounds and kilograms, respectively, no longer include a row on “body belt,” and they also feature several changes for operator weight.

For any users of ANSI/ITSDF B56.1a-2018, all changes are easily identifiable by margin note (18).

What is ANSI B56.1a-2018?

For those unaware of ANSI/ITSDF B56.1a-2018 (also known as ANSI B56.1) and its previous editions, it is a safety standard for powered industrial trucks. It defines safety guidelines relating to the elements of design, operation, and maintenance of low lift and high lift powered industrial trucks. Such trucks are controlled by a riding or walking operator, and they are intended for use on compacted, improved services.

Industrial low-lift truck in warehouse with ANSI/ITDSF B56.1 help

The purpose of this standard is multifaceted. In promoting safety through the proper design, construction, application, operation, and maintenance of low lift and high powered industrial trucks, ANSI/ITSDF B56.1a-2018 can be used as a guide by governmental authorities desiring to formulate safety rules and regulations, and it also is intended for voluntary use by others associated with the manufacture or use of low lift and high lift powered industrial trucks.

ITSDF and the B56.1 Committee

ANSI/ITSDF B56.1a-2018 was written and published by the Industrial Truck Standards Development Foundation (ITSDF), an ANSI-accredited standards-developing organization. ITSDF was formed in 2005 to administer the B56 Standards Committee, which develops of a series of industrial truck standards.

The B56.1 standard, however, long predates the establishment of ITSDF, as it was first published around 1950. The reaffirmation and redesignation of all B56 standards to ITSDF in 2005 was a truly significant event for the industry, as it allowed for a specific organization to devote itself entirely to the committee’s efforts and scope.

Considering the sheer danger and hazards associated with industrial trucks, ITSDF placing its sole concern on the industry is surely beneficial. Forklifts, which are covered by the scope of ANSI/ITSDF B56.1a-2018, are known to be remarkably hazardous. Overall, the equipment accounts for 85 deaths and 34,900 serious injuries each year.

ANSI/ITSDF B56.1a-2018 helps to assure the safety of these workers by covering guidelines for powered industrial truck operators regarding worker competency, training, and operator responsibilities. In providing guidance to users, manufacturers, and authorities associated with low lift and high lift industrial trucks, this American National Standard ultimately strengthens the industry as a whole.

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