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#150414 03/24/05 09:32 PM
Joined: Mar 2003
Posts: 97
I work for a maintenance dept and we have a forklift basket, is it legal to use?

If they are legal what are the restrictions?

Heres the deal, my boss wants to rent a 40 ft boom forklift and have me use the basket to change out some pole lights.

I am not in favor of this, I just have a bad feeling about getting in there with no controls 40 feet up.

I am aware of fall protection and I always wear it on a boom man lift.

My boss is not a tradesman he is a manager type and he probably saw the forklift basket and figured it would be ok.

If anyone can point me to some sort of OSHA regulation or something it would be most helpful.

Many thanks.

Arc Flash PPE Clothing, LOTO & Insulated Tools
#150415 03/25/05 11:24 AM
Joined: Jan 2002
Posts: 119
Drillman... don't use the basket.

OK, I say that with a sincere concern for your safety, but, here is the deal as far as OSHA is concerned.

This type of device cannot be used with a forklift unless the manufacturer of the forklift has approved the use of the basket with their equipment. Where do I get this? The regulation cited by OSHA is: 29 CFR 1910.178(a)(4).

Here is the "stock" information that I put into my reports when I find one of these on a jobsite:
Remove the manlift basket/work platform from service until you obtain the powered industrial truck (e.g., forklift) manufacturer's written approval for its continued use. Modifications and additions which affect capacity and safe operation must not be performed by the customer or user without manufacturers prior written approval. Capacity, operation, and maintenance instruction plates, tags, or decals must be changed accordingly.

If the truck is equipped with front-end attachments other than factory installed attachments, the user must request that the truck be marked to identify the attachments and show the approximate weight of the truck and attachment combination at maximum elevation with load laterally centered.

Ensure that if the approval is given that employees are instructed in the capacity and other limitations assigned by the manufacturers of the work platform and lift truck.

All work platforms used for lifting personnel must adhere to the applicable requirements of ASME B56.1-2000 as outlined in paragraphs 4.17.2, 4.17.3, and 7.36.3. Please be aware that OSHA will, in limited circumstances, allow the employer to obtain written approval from a qualified Registered Professional Engineer after receiving no response or a negative response from the powered industrial truck manufacturer. If the manufacturer's response was negative, then the engineer, prior to granting approval for the modification or addition, would need to perform a safety analysis and address all safety and/or structural issues contained in the manufacturer's disapproval.

Even where the addition of a work platform to a powered industrial truck is permitted under §1910.178(a)(4), employers must also address the fall hazards that result from the use of elevated platforms. An employer's failure to prevent or correct, to the extent feasible, fall hazards from elevated work platforms might be citable as a violation of Section 5(A)(1) of the OSHAct. OSHA's evaluation of the existence of a serious, recognized hazard and the availability of feasible means of abatement would include consideration of the relevant provisions of the ASME B56.1-2000 standard.

Most of the information above can be verified through a letter of interpretation that OSHA issued in on this condition. The letter can be reviewed online at:

One last thing... you mentioned that you regularly wear "fall protection" in other manlifts. You should be aware that technically you do not want to wear fall protection, you want to wear a restraint device. What's the difference? Well a restraint device prevents you from falling any distance and is usually attached to a lanyard that is no more than 3' in length. The reason for this is if the anchorage point on the lift will not withstand your fall, the entire lift may be toppled by the force of your body when your lanyard bottoms out. Or you may swing into the side of the lift. I am aware of at least one fatality where an employee wearing a 6-foot lanyard fell from the basket and swung into the side of the truck.

Here is a link to another letter that briefly explains this concept and the difference between "fall protection", "restraint devices" and "positioning devices".

Sorry for the length of the post, but, this is kinda complicated. Please let me know if this answers your question. [Linked Image]


#150416 03/25/05 02:09 PM
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 507
If you have to rent anyway why not just rent the proper equipment.

Bucket truck or boom lift.

Or you can probably have a contractor come and do the work for you for about the same price as you would pay for equipment rental.

If you have to use a basket, make sure it is chained to the lift and use a harness. Still your safety is in the operators hands, if you don't have an operator you trust, don't go up.


#150417 03/25/05 05:54 PM
Joined: Jul 2002
Posts: 8,423
Likes: 3
I'll have to go with the concensus here.
I've used these things before and they are a worry at the least.
I agree fully with Golf Junkie's comments about your safety being in the hands of the forklift operator, one bump of a lever and it's all over. [Linked Image]
Having a cage literally just sitting on the forks of a forklift, isn't my idea of safe working practice.
I'd avoid this set up like the plague if I were you.

#150418 03/25/05 10:33 PM
Joined: Mar 2003
Posts: 97
Safetygem: I know this is a complex subject, however my boss is a man who likes simple answers. I guess I will need to say no. I was not aware of this restriant device difference. Does the manufactor have to approve every brand of basket? Or can they just say "basket allowed"?

Golf Junkie: thats what I told the boss, rent the right equipment. He wants to try and save money by renting a forklift because he also needs to do some demo work.

Trumpy: well I am glad I am not the only one worried about this.

I am not sure how to approach this with the boss. He is a typical boss and is used to having his orders followed. I might even get fired. I do have civil service protection so maybe not.

#150419 03/25/05 10:41 PM
Joined: Mar 2003
Posts: 97
Safteygem. one more question.

Do forklift manufactors even write letters of approval for these baskets?

Or have thier lawyers told them no way no how lawsuit waiting to happen do not even think about it?

Have you ever seen such a letter?

Also I thought there was a requirement for all man type lifts to have controls in the basket/bucket/platform. Is that correct?


#150420 03/25/05 11:43 PM
Joined: Jan 2002
Posts: 119
Have you ever seen such a letter?
I've had employers tell me they were going to ask for a letter, but, in nearly 10 years... I've seen 'narey a one produced. [Linked Image]
Also I thought there was a requirement for all man type lifts to have controls in the basket/bucket/platform. Is that correct?
You are correct and incorrect... imagine that we are talking about an OSHA regulation here! [Linked Image]

The OSHA regulations used to have this as a requirement and then they "discovered" that they had "improperly" taken this requirement from the original ASME standard which said these controls "should" be in the bucket. OSHA had to issue a "technical amendment" to remove the requirement from its standards. 7849

The standard "used to be" 1910.178(m)(12), but, as you can see, it doesn't exist anymore. 9828#1910.178(m)(12)
Big blank. [Linked Image]

Well... guess OSHA isn't always right. [Linked Image]

Sorry... I just can't stop grinnin' tonight. I was doing my taxes.. and I'm actually getting something back! [Linked Image]

[This message has been edited by safetygem (edited 03-25-2005).]

#150421 03/26/05 10:22 PM
Joined: Apr 2004
Posts: 8
Junior Member
Maybe your boss will show you how its done?

#150422 03/26/05 10:59 PM
Joined: Jul 2002
Posts: 8,423
Likes: 3
Sorry Drillman,
I never actually your original thread properly.
I missed this bit:
Heres the deal, my boss wants to rent a 40 ft boom forklift and have me use the basket to change out some pole lights.
40ft in anyone's language is a fair way up in the air and it is also a long way to fall!. [Linked Image]
Personally, you wouldn't get me up that high in anything less than a Certified Bucket Truck.
I hate to say it, but, you can tell your Boss, I reckon he is nothing short of a tight-**s.
Why risk the life and limbs of your workers just for a few dollars?. [Linked Image]

#150423 03/28/05 09:24 AM
Joined: Jan 2002
Posts: 119
On last comment drillman (unless you've got more questions).

Mike (Trumpy) is right on track... 40 ft up is a long way... especially in a forklift basket with a limited base dimension.

Your maximum working platform height must NEVER exceed 4 times your minimum base dimension. Most forklift are roughly 4 feet wide. So, that means that the maximum platform height would be 16 feet.

If you don't ensure this height to base ratio, you will likely have a tipover. Even on a relatively flat surface, 40 feet up in the air the platform support (mast) is not going to be "plumb." Don't let your boss give you the excuss that the forklift has a counter weight... that is not going to prevent a tipover in this circumstance.

You said you wanted to keep it "simple" for the boss, tell him, "I won't do this because it is unsafe, the maufacturer of the forklift did not approve the use of the basket attachment and the forklift is not equipped with outriggers to provide base stability."

I notice you are in the great state of Texas. Your state (along with 23 others) unfortunately does not have a safety and health protection program for public employees (civil servants). That's a shame. I would encourage you if your boss insists on the use of this device to pursue some grievance through your civil service process or collective bargaining procedures if there are any.

It really is sad and disheartening that in 2005, 35 years after the passage of the federal OSHAct that 23 states still do not provide safety and health protection for public employees. [Linked Image]

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