ANSI/ITSDF B56.5-2019: Guided Industrial Vehicles

Guided industrial vehicle in warehouse using ANSI/ITSDF B56.5-2019 and automation to stack boxes

An American National Standard, ANSI/ITSDF B56.5-2019: Safety Standard For Guided Industrial Vehicles, promotes safety for unmanned guided industrial vehicles and the automated functions of manned industrial vehicles.

Automated Practices and Automated Industrial Vehicles – A History

Automation is frequently envisioned in speculative narratives of the future, but it dates back long before the common baseline for the subject. In fact, even prior to the assembly line, there was automation.

Automation even finds its way into mythology. In the Greek Pantheon, Hephaestus, the god of the forge, crafted weapons for other residents of Mount Olympus, as well as heroes and other select mortals (he makes the shield of Achilles at the end of Homer’s The Iliad). To aid him in such a taxing duty, he created automatons—basically autonomous machines, or robots, formed from metal.

Much like Hephaestus in his workshop with his automatons, many work environments incorporate human personnel and machine or automated systems to enhance productivity, safety, and efficiency. Industrial vehicles have been equipped with automated systems for some time. This is reflected in the establishment of the B56.5 Subcommittee in the 1970s, which culminated in the first B56.5 standard in 1978.

The American National Standard ANSI/ITSDF B56.5-2019

This standard has seen numerous revisions over the years, with the current edition being ANSI/ITSDF B56.5-2019. This version, like its predecessors, contains content distinguished for the user (found in Part II) or the system supplier and manufacturer (found in Part III). There is also a sizable section on automated functions of manned industrial vehicles (Part IV), as well as two appendices.

In all, ANSI/ITSDF B56.5-2019 defines safety guidelines for the elements of design, operation, and maintenance of powered, not mechanically restrained, unmanned automatic guided industrial vehicles and the system of which the vehicles are a part. In addition, this standard applies to vehicles that may have originally been designed to operate in a manned mode, but were since modified to operate in an unmanned, automatic mode, or in a semiautomatic, manual, or maintenance mode.

While this standard is meant to promote safety of unmanned guided industrial vehicles and automated functions of manned industrial vehicles, it may also be used as a guide by governmental authorities desiring to formulate safety rules and regulations.

Changes to ANSI/ITSDF B56.5-2019

ANSI/ITSDF B56.5-2019 revises the 2012 edition of the same American National Standard for guided industrial vehicles. Continuing the tradition of keeping the document current, this revision has updated wording and provisions, with changes made to the glossary.

Any user of this standard who wants to see each change can find the margin note (19) throughout the standard document.

ITSDF: B56 Standards Committee

Since 2005, the management of the B56 Standards Committee has been handled by the Industrial Truck Standards Development Foundation (ITSDF). The B56 Committee has the following scope:

“Establishment of the safety requirements relating to the elements of design, operation, and maintenance; standardization relating to principal dimensions to facilitate interchangeability, test methods, and test procedures of powered and nonpowered industrial trucks (not including vehicles intended primarily for earth moving or over-the-road hauling); and maintenance of liaison with the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) in all matters pertaining to powered and nonpowered industrial trucks.”

If you are interested in related standards for industrial trucks and forklifts, please refer to our past post on ANSI/ITSDF B56.1-2020: Safety Standard for Low Lift and High Lift Trucks or acquire other ITSDF Standards here.

ANSI/ITSDF B56.5-2019: Safety Standard For Guided Industrial Vehicles is available on the ANSI Webstore.

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