Dump Truck Safety Training FAQs
Dump Truck Training Frequently Asked Questions:
What are the OSHA dump truck standards?
Generally speaking, OSHA’s 1926 standard covers earth moving equipment and operations. More specifically, 29 CFR 1926.600 covers equipment, 1926.601 – motor vehicles, 1926.602 material handling, and 1926.604 covers site clearing. And then there are standards such as 29 CFR 1926.28 which covers PPE (personal protective equipment); 1926.55 for gasses, fumes and dust; and 1926 Subpart G which outlines requirements for signs, signals and barricades. There are, of course, many others that may apply to your worksite. As far as training goes, OSHA makes it very clear in 1926.21 and the OSH Act of 1970, which is still in effect, that operators must be trained and that training must be recorded. There is no way around it.
Does OSHA require dump truck training?
Yes, absolutely. OSHA has a few key standards that are a “catch-all” of sorts. 29 CFR 1926.20 and 21 lay the general ground work for safety training requirements—no matter the equipment or situation. Simply put, these two standards state very clearly that it is the employer’s responsibility to train dump truck operators. More specifically, 1926.21(b)(2) states that “the employer shall instruct each employee in the recognition and avoidance of unsafe conditions and the regulations applicable to his work environment to control or eliminate any hazards or other exposure to illness or injury.”
Bottom line, if you don’t train and there is an accident, and OSHA comes in to investigate (and they will), you better believe they will ask for proof that workers have been trained (when and on what subjects). And if you can’t prove it, they will most likely refer to these standards and the OSH Act of 1970 as the basis for their citations.
How often do I need dump truck training?
OSHA requires dump truck training for dump truck operators–on that there is no question. Where confusion exists is how often operators need dump truck refresher training or recertification. Outside of the initial safety training class, it is common to see companies set recertification at every three years. We are one of them. And here’s why:
As far as this 3-year dump truck training certification goes, OSHA regulations are very specific when it comes to forklifts and a couple other pieces of equipment. However, on everything else they are not so clear. They just state the employer must regularly provide safety training for their aerial lift operators. Following industry best practices, we’ve adopted this 3-year term in order to help employers comply with the general standard of regularly providing and proving dump truck training. Ultimately, it is up to the employer to determine how frequently their dump truck operators need to be trained. Many of our customers require it more often, annually even. Others may stretch it out a bit. In working with OSHA, though, it is our experience that they like to see employers adopt the strictest standard when the regulations are not clear. For instance, we know of companies that didn’t train every three years and were reprimanded by OSHA for not offering additional training more often. It is not uncommon for OSHA to refer to the forklift standard as the pattern by which training should be carried out for other pieces of equipment. On a side note, OSHA is slowly but surely making training requirements specific for other pieces of equipment so there are no gray areas. Mobile cranes and aerial lifts, for instance, are all undergoing potential changes to the regulations that will reference training specifically.
So, with that in mind, we say dump truck operators must be re-evaluated every three years to determine if they are still competent enough to operate. We also state that this every-three-year dump truck evaluation is the maximum time that should be allowed to pass before an operator receives dump truck recertification. According to OSHA, there are several instances that will require additional dump truck training and observation before the three year period is up:
- Dump truck operator is observed in an accident or a near miss
- Dump truck operator received a poor evaluation or is observed driving in a dangerous manner
- The dump truck operator is assigned to drive a different type of dump truck or the workplace has changed significantly enough to require additional dump truck training (such as being transferred from operating a dump truck used to hoist signs to a dump truck used for trimming trees).
I’ve received dump truck training for a standard dump truck with a tail gate. Can I operate a side dumper?
Not necessarily. OSHA requires dump truck operators to receive dump truck training for each type of truck. On this term, “type,” there is much confusion. Generally speaking, by “type” OSHA means standard dump truck vs side dumper vs bottom dumper vs super dump truck, etc. But dump truck operations can vary widely by machine size and capacity. So different sized dump trucks—even within the same brand–could also qualify as different types.
Keep in mind, controls can differ greatly from brand to brand, so in these cases you may need additional instruction or a quick dump truck refresher training to make sure you are clear on what each control does.
At the end of the day, if you were operating a truck and there was a dump truck accident and OSHA came to investigate only to discover that you had received training specific to side dumpers but not standard dump trucks, then you’d be liable. You can’t really train too much.
I’ve operated dump trucks for 20 years. Do I need to take a class, a written exam, and a practical exam still? Or can I just take a written test?
No matter how long you’ve been on the job, OSHA requires dump truck training, a dump truck written exam, and a practical dump truck evaluation. There is no way around it. This goes for other types of dump trucks too. The extent of the classroom dump truck training can be adapted by the instructor according to student needs. The written exam proves mental competency and understanding of the safety principles taught. And the practical evaluation proves the dump truck operator not only understands but is capable of operating the machine safely.
I received dump truck training at a different job. Do I need to be trained again by my new employer?
This is a common question, especially among laborers-for-hire who may sub out from job to job. Technically, it is your current employer who is responsible for saying whether or not you have been trained. If you bring a training certificate or wallet card to your new employer, they do not have to accept it. It is their right to require you to take their own training class. This is because if there is an accident, they will likely be responsible and need to prove to OSHA that they trained you on safe dump truck operations.
What is dump truck certification? Who can train, evaluate, and certify operators?
This, above all, causes a lot of confusion. Bottom line, OSHA states that employers are responsible to train their employees. Generally speaking, there are three ways they can do this:
- Train employees in-house with their own program
- Hire a 3rd party to train the employees (on-site or off-site)
- Use another company’s materials or online classes to train employees
In terms of using a 3rd part of a safety training companies materials (like our dump truck training kits on CD, USB or available via Digital Download or our online dump truck training) OSHA does not recognize one company over another. They simply state that ‘training needs to occur’ and ‘here are the things a dump truck operator should be trained on.’
When we do onsite dump truck training or online dump truck training, people often assume we are the ones certifying the trainees. This is not true for any training company. We are simply assisting the employer by providing live training or the training materials needed to help them certify their employees for safe dump truck operation.
How do I take the dump truck practical evaluation if I take the training online?
The online dump truck training class covers OSHA’s requirements for the classroom portion. Many employers prefer online training because they know exactly what training the operator will receive. In live classes, the training sometimes varies. A written exam is included at the end of our online training courses. After the class and exam are finished, you and your safety managers will have immediate access to a practical evaluation checklist. This can be printed off and used by your supervisor to help him or her evaluate you on the dump truck. When done, they can sign it and file it with your exam. This will satisfy OSHA’s requirements for dump truck certification.
My trainee scored 80% on the exam. Did he pass or fail?
Contrary to popular belief, OSHA does not dictate what a passing score entails. That is ultimately up to the employer whose responsibility it is to certify, or authorize, their employee to operate a dump truck. If you want to pass him at 80%, fine. But what if a question or two among the 20% missed could lead to an accident or death? Is it worth it? Our recommendation is that you always go over any missed questions with your trainees—even if they just missed one. Once they understand the principle missed, have them write their initials by the correct answer. That way, you are protecting them and those around them from potential accidents in the future.