Forklift Design: Operator Presence System – Forklift Safety Newsletter – December 2015

Forklift Design: Operator Presence System

As manufacturers develop new safety features, operators need to understand how these systems work and how they might be affected by these changes. A perfect example is the Operator Presence System (OPS) which uses aOperator Presence System 1 sensor in the operator’s seat to detect the presence of the operator. Forklifts manufactured after November 1, 2005 are required to be equipped with an OPS .

The OPS operates a bit differently depending on the forklift manufacturer.

On Toyota forklifts with automatic transmissions, if the operator leaves the seat for more than two seconds the truck cannot move and the load-handling controls are disabled. When the operator returns to his seat, the direction lever must be placed in neutral before the OPS system will disengage. (Note that this is not the case with manual transmission models.)

Here’s how the Operator Presence System (OPS) affects operation:

  • When the sensor detects that the operator is not seated it will activate a buzzer and turn on the OPS warning light which will remain on until the operator returns to the seat.
  • When the seat position switch is turned on without shifting back to neutral, the system buzzes to notify the operator that OPS travel control is engaged.
  • If an abnormality is detected by the OPS controller, the OPS warning light will flash. The flashing cycle of the light can assist the operator to determine the location of the abnormality.

On Hyster’s Challenger series, if the operator leaves the lift truck while in operation mode, the OPS will shift the transmission to neutral within a second or two and sound an alarm for ten seconds. If the lift truck is left on a grade without the parking brake fully applied, it can roll out of control down the grade.

Make sure you and your operators understand the purpose and function of these devices. It can save time, money, and trips to the emergency room.

If you would like to share your experiences/photos of forklift incidents that can educate others on the principles of safe forklift operation please send them to:

We will not publish company or individuals names.

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Bruce Hulberg February 9, 2016
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