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Legal Requirements

  • Issued: July 1999
  • Content last reviewed: June 2009

Powered lift trucks are widely used in Ontario industry and, as a result, all three Ministry sector regulations (Mining and Mining Plants, Construction Projects, and Industrial Establishments) have provisions that deal with them. However, they are employed in, by far, the greatest numbers by companies that are covered by the Regulation for Industrial Establishments, Regulation 851. For this reason the short discussion of the legal requirements, which follows, is restricted to the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) and Regulation 851 and the Guideline itself has been developed with these legal provisions in mind. Nevertheless, the Guideline may still be usefully applied to powered-lift-truck operations in mines and on construction projects.

Both the OHSA and the Regulation 851 have provisions that relate to work involving powered lift trucks, but neither mentions them specifically. Clause 25(1)(b) of the OHSA refers to an employer's duty to provide "equipment" that is in good condition. Clauses 25(2)(a), (c) and (d) deal generally with worker training and supervision. And clause 25(2)(h) is the most general duty of all, requiring an employer to "take every precaution reasonable in the circumstances for the protection of a worker". Subsections 51(1) and (2) of Regulation 851 are more specific, with provisions that apply to a "lifting device", defined as,

a device that is used to raise or lower any material or object and includes its rails and other supports but does not include a device to which the Elevating Devices Act applies.

This definition clearly applies to powered lift trucks and should be interpreted broadly as including not just the elevating section of a truck but the entire vehicle. Other sections of Regulation 851 are also applicable although a variety of terms is used: lift truck (Section 52); mobile equipment (Section 54 ); material handling equipment (Sections 56 and 59); vehicle (Section 57); and powered equipment (Section 58). These sections of Regulation 851 can be found in Appendix I.

This Guideline provides information on how these legal requirements may be met in the particular case of powered lift trucks. The term "powered lift truck" can itself be defined as "a mobile, power-propelled, self-loading truck equipped with a load carriage and attachments for lifting, transporting and stacking material". See Appendix II for a listing of the various classes of truck in use.

Compliance will require attention in the following areas:

  • general safety inspection and maintenance
  • assessment of load-handling capacity
  • competence of person doing load-handling assessment
  • inspection frequency
  • recordkeeping
  • operator competence
  • operating procedures
  • training.

A well-designed powered-lift-truck safety program should cover all these legal requirements and if implemented properly will ensure compliance. The relevant legal provisions have been reproduced in Appendix I.

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