Forklift Safety Training: Understanding OSHA’s Expectations

Forklift operation is dangerous and sometimes fatal, especially when the operator isn’t qualified to operate one. With forklift safety training, there is a reduction in reports of injury and death. OSHA sets guidelines for any industry that requires the use of forklift operators. These rules, regulations, and certifications are necessary to operate a forklift safely.

OSHA sets the minimum age requirement to 18 for a forklift operator. From there, there are many other expectations given that employees and businesses must know.

OSHA Forklift Checklist Starts Before Use

Before using a forklift, OSHA requires that all operators perform a pre-shift check of equipment. To make this easier, each manufacturer supplies a list for each make and model. In addition, powered industrial truck operators often recognize some consistencies, no matter what brand the equipment is.

Tire pressure and tires should always be checked first. Then, the radiator coolant needs to be measured. From there, operators must evaluate the battery and electrolyte levels. Another safety check essential is the engine belt inspection.

Even if something seems to be a minor issue, it should never be left neglected. Pre-use forklift safety checks should always include the headlights and hydraulic belts. It also requires users to match the nameplate to the instruction manual.

All industrial truck operators must utilize their pre-use checklist to ensure maximum safety. Once the pre-start list is accomplished, it’s time to move on to other tests that ensure the motor is running and engaged.

More extensive details about checklists are typically included in the forklift safety training.

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Forklift Motor On Checks

Most people think that if the engine is running, everything is good to go. That’s just not the case. In fact, there are several aspects of the forklift to check once it is running. Some of these components include the parking brake, hoisting ability, and horn.

If any unusual noises, service lights, or discharges become noticeable, they must be dealt with promptly. Only then can a company be sure they are operating at 100% compliance with OSHA.

On the checklist, it’s vital to mark the spaces properly for either “functioning” or “functioning smoothly.” Before operating the industrial equipment, this has to be done to maintain certifications and decrease liability.

Why Do Operators Need Forklift Safety Training?

Before anyone operates a forklift, OSHA requires certification. That’s because of the number of forklift accidents occurring yearly. Most times, these incidents are the result of misoperation and could have been prevented if the operator received forklift training. Businesses may not hire someone to operate a forklift if the employee doesn’t have a certification.

While it’s still possible to complete an OSHA forklift course in person, many more people prefer online training instead. Still, there is a small portion that must be completed at a mock job site or designated training area.

How Often is OSHA Forklift Driver Training Required?

Does an employee need to have training every year? The clear answer is no, in most circumstances.  There are some forklift safety standards, such as the CSA standard, that require operators to be trained every three years. Operators also require refresher training if they aren’t being safe or were involved in an incident. If a company changes the equipment or the workplace significantly, new training should be supplied at that time as well.

As long as everything remains the same, OSHA requires a re-evaluation of each operator every three years.

Forklift Safety Training

Losing a Forklift Certification

Any operator of a forklift must maintain a strict focus on compliance. It’s possible to lose the certification if a job is performed that violates OSHA regulations or creates an unsafe working environment.

Any forklift operator who disobeys regulations is also liable for injuries and damages that occur while working.

Still, it’s the responsibility of both operators and employers to maintain this compliance. OSHA doesn’t offer certification courses, so the burden lies on the employer.

Careers in Forklift Operation

There is a demand for forklift operators in the country. On top of that, the skills quickly transfer to many other fields, such as construction, contracting plus shipping, and receiving.

According to Glassdoor, forklift operators make around $32,000 a year. Most businesses need to fill this position, so there’s rarely a lack of jobs available.

Dedicated workers are seen as an asset. Companies are willing to pay more when the operator proves the ability to operate the forklift safely. Whether the worker is pulling raw materials from a mine, loading inventory on shelves, or moving industrial equipment, it’s vital they know how to stay safe.

There are only two requirements to become a forklift operator. Users must have a high school diploma and OSHA certification training. Then, on-the-job mentorship is available at most companies for further instruction.

Benefits of Online Forklift Safety Training

It’s still possible to get forklift safety training in a classroom, but who wants to? Consider the benefits of having online training instead.

Saves Time

Employees and companies don’t want to spend additional time getting certifications. With online training, it’s possible to reduce the overall time investment to as little as one hour.

Saves Money

Because there’s no reason to pay for an instructor, online operator training is more cost-effective.


Trainees get to work at their own pace. All that’s needed is a computer or other Internet-connected device. It’s possible to get a certification from anywhere.

Prior to having access to online courses, attendees needed to find a local class to visit. This often required waiting for the right time to attend. With online training, forklift certification can occur at any time that works best, other than the necessary on-the-job portion.

Full Compliance

Online certification is just as compliant as in-class training. It’s designed to align with OSHA forklift standards.

Get Your Forklift Certification Online

Whether you are an employee or employer, it’s time to shift your forklift certifications to the online platform. With this setup, you save time, reduce costs and maximize flexibility. Stay safe and compliant with OSHA regulations while taking your business to the next level.