Before operating a forklift, you must complete the proper forklift training and certification.

So you’re wondering how to become a forklift operator. Operating a lift truck takes skill and experience to enable safe driving practices. Good forklift operators keep themselves and others around them safe.

Most industrial operations require that forklift operators be certified by OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration). This OSHA certification insures that a forklift operator can do his job safely and efficiently. Many industries, companies, and insurance providers require that forklift operators be OSHA certified.

Forklift operators can be trained on the job by a certified trainer or by attending a course. If you opt to take an online certification course, remember that you will still need to be evaluated by a qualified trainer for the hands-on part of the certification process.

Steps on How to Become a Forklift Operator

Find a qualified school that teaches how to operate heavy machinery.

Make sure they offer the type of certification that you need. If the company you work for requires you to learn how to operate a forklift, they may know of a certification course.

Enroll in an OSHA-approved safety course.

An OSHA-approved safety sourse is necessary to ensure that you have the training to properly operate a forklift. The course also makes sure you know the safety requirements to the standards of the Occupational Safety and Health Association.

Get evaluated on the equipment you will be operating.

It is important that the training discuss safety issues and policies at your facility. Some of the OSHA requirements can be satisfied with a general class online. Specific equipment and site rules should be discussed either in a class designed for the company or by the employer after a general class is taken.

Only trained and competent operators shall be permitted to operate a powered industrial truck. All powered industrial truck operators must be trained and certified by their organizations.

What does the OSHA standard require for operating a forklift?

According to OSHA, the standard requires employers to develop and implement a training program based on the general principles of safe truck operation, the types of vehicle(s) being used in the workplace, the hazards of the workplace created by the use of the vehicle(s), and the general safety requirements of the OSHA standard.

Trained operators must know how to do the job properly and do it safely as demonstrated by workplace evaluation. Formal (lecture, video, etc.) and practical (demonstration and practical exercises) training must be provided.

Employers must also certify that each operator has received the required training as well as evaluate each operator at least once every three years.

The employer must evaluate the operator’s performance and determine the operator to be competent to operate a powered industrial truck safely prior to operating the truck in the workplace. Refresher training is needed whenever an operator demonstrates a deficiency in the safe operation of the truck.

Training shall consist of a combination of formal instruction (e.g., lecture, discussion, interactive computer learning, video tape, written material), practical training (demonstrations performed by the trainer and practical exercises performed by the trainee), and evaluation of the operator’s performance in the workplace.

Read more information from OSHA on how to become a forklift operator.

You might also be interested in this forklift information:

Common forklift questions
6 forklift safety tips
8 benefits of buying a used forklift
The most common types of forklifts and what they are used for

Categories: Education

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