When it comes to career paths with plenty of opportunities, the possibility of a lucrative salary, and plenty of upward mobility, there are few that really compare with becoming a forklift operator. You’ll have job opportunities in an incredibly wide range of industries, with companies large and small, all across the nation. However, in order to start this path, you’ll need to take and pass forklift certification classes. Not sure what’s involved, what you will have to do, or even why these classes are needed? We’ll walk you through everything you need to know below.
Why Are Forklift Certification Classes Necessary?
Forklift training is necessary for many reasons, but one of the most important is safety. Forklifts are heavy equipment. They can cause immense amounts of damage to other vehicles, products and merchandise, and building structures. They can be deadly, as well. Like many other professionals, forklift operators are required by law to be trained and prior to operating a forklift.
When Is Training Necessary?
OSHA spells out the requirements for forklift certification classes. In their guidelines, it is stated that all training is the responsibility of the employer. This means that, ultimately, it is up to your employer to ensure you receive training before you are allowed to operate a forklift or other related piece of equipment. In addition, OSHA requires training in a couple of other cases.
Re-Certification – As mentioned, forklift operators may be required to retrain every three years, depending on your jurisdiction. This ensures that you remain up to date with safety requirements and practices, but also familiarizes you with any new technology that might have come to market since the last time you took these classes.
Refresher Training – Refresher training is mandated by OSHA in the case of an accident or injury caused by a forklift operator, or if you have been seen operating a forklift in an unsafe way. It is also necessary if you are assigned to operate a truck that you’ve not been certified on yet, or if something within the work environment changes enough that it would require refresher training (new hazards, new physical features, etc.).
What Does Training Consist Of?
You’ll find that forklift certification classes are broken into two components. First, you have the actual classes, during which you will learn the knowledge and skills that you need to be a successful operator. The second segment involves an in-person performance evaluation. We’ll talk about both of these segments in greater detail below.
First Component – Theory Training and Evaluation
The first component of training is broken down various topics.
Trucks: General information about the equipment will be included in forklift certification classes that you will complete. This will include topics like how to steer them, how to determine proper loading, how to refuel or recharge them, how to detach the forks and attach other imple