You’re probably here because you’re looking for information on how to get forklift certified. You might need this information because you or someone you know wants to become a forklift operator, and you want to know about the fastest and more efficient ways to get forklift certified. Either way, you’ve come to the right place. In this resource article, we’re going to talk about the requirements for getting forklift certified.
Legal Requirements to Operate a Forklift
In many countries, including the United States and Canada, forklift drivers or operators must first complete forklift certification training before they are legally permitted to operate a forklift. To put it simply, getting forklift certified is a legal requirement for forklift operators.
In most jurisdictions, there are government agencies that are responsible for promoting and enforcing legislation relating to the safe operation of forklifts. A common requirement in forklift legislation is that employers must only permit “competent” operators to operate forklifts within their companies. In the U.S., the agency that enforces the safe operation of forklifts is the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. This organization is more commonly referred to as OSHA.
The Benefits of Operators Becoming Forklift Certified
OSHA’s main goal is to avoid and reduce forklift-related injuries. Requiring that operators become forklift certified helps OSHA in accomplishing this goal. Operating a forklift without proper training is extremely dangerous. Statistics show that almost a hundred workers are killed annually in the US due to forklift-related incidents. Moreover, an additional 35,000 workers sustain serious injuries as a result of forklift-related incidents.
Operators who are forklift certified help to ensure safety in the workplace. Employers are also in compliance with the law when all of their operators are forklift certified. OSHA has the power and authority to fine companies thousands of dollars for allowing untrained forklift drivers to operate equipment. Additionally, this amount skyrockets when OSHA is able to prove that an employer willfully neglected to train the employee or employees in question.
In addition to helping employers with compliance issues, only allowing operators who are forklift certified to operate equipment in their workplace lowers the risks of property and product damage. It also reduces workers’ compensation insurance costs.
It’s becoming common for employers to require forklift operators to possess a current and valid forklift operator training certificate prior to being hired. While employers will still be required to provide workplace-specific training, it’s convenient for them to hire workers who already possess these certificates because it saves the employer hours of training time.
Individuals who have received forklift certification training and possess a current forklift certificate find that it’s easier to get a job as an operator. In addition to that, forklift certified workers tend to take home larger paychecks when compared to their untrained counterparts.
Forklift Certification Training Methods
Luckily, getting forklift certified is usually quick and straightforward, even more so for experienced operators. Some forklift operators choose to take the certification training in person (classroom-style). This method requires that they attend live classroom training for several days.
Many operators choose to take an online forklift training course.
Today, most people prefer the latter option (online training) for a number of reasons. Some of these reasons include:
Lower Costs – Online forklift certification training courses typically cost less than classroom training courses. Not only does this apply to the actual cost of the forklift training course, but also costs associated with travel to and from a forklift training class
Accessibility – Credible, high-quality online Forklift training is accessible 24/7 from any computer, laptop or mobile device with a reliable internet connection.
Flexibility – The flexibility of online training allows forklift operators to take the training at their own pace, in an environment that’s distraction-free and most suitable for them.
Instant Certificate and Document Access – High-quality online forklift training providers allow operators to access their training certificates and documents instantly once they’ve finished their training. You might be starting a new job tomorrow as an operator and your company requires that you possess a forklift training certificate. With online training, you can easily take the training the night before, and confidently arrive to work the next morning with your training certificate in hand.
According to OSHA regulations, there are two separate phases of training that operators must go through. These include forklift theory training and workplace specific training. Theory training can be completed via classroom instruction or online training. Workplace-specific training must be completed by the employer at the specific worksite, and on the equipment that the operator will be using. Each of the two phases must conclude with an evaluation that confirms the operator meets the competency requirements in order to grant certification.
Forklift Theory training is usually the first phase of the forklift certification process. Theory training covers topics such as:
- Equipment types, anatomy, and components
- Stability and capacity of a forklift
- General forklift operational and safety principals
- Load handling principals
- Principals relating to refueling and recharging a forklift
After an operator completes their theory training, they’ll be required to successfully pass a knowledge evaluation. This evaluation is typically administered in the form of a quiz, test or exam. High-quality online forklift training providers include a knowledge evaluation upon conclusion of the course’s learning modules.
Hands-On / Workplace-Specific Training
Hands on / Workplace-specific forklift training will take place in the workplace. This is the second phase of the certification process and should be completed by the employer.
During this portion of the training, operators will become familiarized with information specific to the work site and they’ll practice on specific equipment that they’ll be required to use throughout their duties.
Workplace Specific and Practical training will include:
- Reviewing and understanding the company’s specific policies, procedures, guidelines and the equipment’s operating manual
- Becoming familiar with the equipment’s specific features and safety equipment
- Performing pre-operational inspections
- Performing equipment start up’s and shut down’s
- Practicing traveling with and without loads
- Practicing various types of load handling
- Learning about hazards that are specific to the workplace and how to protect oneself and their coworkers from the hazards
Practical training and practice should always be completed under the direct supervision of a qualified trainer.
After completing hands-on and workplace specific forklift training, an operator will be required to successfully complete and pass a practical evaluation. Practical evaluations require an operator to successfully demonstrate their abilities in safely operating a forklift, including the ways in which they travel loaded and unloaded. They’ll also demonstrate how they operate in the presence of pedestrians as well as their competence in safely raising, lowering, handling, stacking and destacking loads.
Is Forklift Refresher Training Necessary?
Refresher forklift training will be required at intervals in accordance with the local jurisdiction’s guidelines. For instance, you may be in a country, state or province that requires full retraining every three years, while others may require that an operator simply be evaluated. For example, the CSA Standard requires that operators be re-trained every three years.
OSHA’s Take on Forklift Refresher Training
The current OSHA forklift training standard does not demand any specific refresher training duration. The standard does require, however, that forklift operators be evaluated every three years to make sure they still possess the skills to safely operate the equipment. There are some circumstances that require operators to receive forklift refresher training. These circumstances include:
- If an operator is observed operating a forklift in an unsafe manner
- If an operator causes an accident or nearly causes an accident while operating a forklift
- If it’s determined that an operator is not competent
- If something in the workplace changes in a way that could affect the safety of the operator or others, such as new equipment or a new process
Despite the above, many employers still require their forklift operators to undergo regular refresher courses to maintain currency and improve the safety and health of their workplace.
A forklift must never be operated by an individual unless they’ve received adequate training. While the legislation from one jurisdiction to another can have subtle differences, training requirements remain fairly consistent.
One of the benefits of getting forklift certified is that it will improve the chances of an individual finding employment. Wherever an individual may be located, there are various types of businesses including airports, seaports, warehouses, factories and building sites that need qualified forklift operators. In short, forklift operators are and will always be in great demand.
Will a Forklift Certificate Help Me?
If you’re currently seeking out a job as a forklift operator, taking a standards-compliant forklift certification course can significantly improve your chances of getting hired. Make sure that you choose a reputable provider that meets all of the necessary requirements. You can learn more about what to look for in Online Forklift Certification Training providers by checking out this article.