Forklift Training – Here’s What You Need to Know


Forklifts are a common, highly valued piece of equipment used for the transportation and handling of heavy loads in warehouses and businesses across America. In fact, they are widely found in warehouses, agricultural, military, construction and industrial job sites all over the world.  As such forklift operators are in high demand. To do their job, operators must follow safe operating rules at all times. They must always maintain control of the forklift, keep a proper lookout, and operate the forklift at speeds safe for the particular operation and worksite conditions. Forklift training is critical to prepare operators for the hazards and requirements of the job. Here’s a little info on what you should look for from your forklift training.

What Training Covers

Forklift training covers the potential hazards of the work, as well as the requirements and recommended practices that will help you do the job safely and effectively. This includes things like proper operation procedure, avoiding slips and falls in, on and around the equipment, and more.  This training prepares you to operate powered industrial trucks to load and unload materials and deliveries and move them to, and from storage areas, machines and loading docks, into railroad cars or trucks or storage facilities.

Training Requirements

OSHA requires that every forklift operator is trained and certified to operate powered industrial trucks in the workplace. It also requires the operator’s performance is evaluated on the provisions every three years. Refresher training is needed when operators are found to be operating unsafely, have an accident or a near miss, or when there are changes in the workplace or type of truck they will be operating. Per OSHA standards, forklift training must be composed of formal education, forklift driving practice test, and evaluation to measure the skills of the forklift trainees.

What Training and Certification Prepares You For

As the OSHA requirements describe, any work involving the operation of a forklift will require training. Job titles are wide-ranging and are specific to the business you are applying to, but may include retail warehouse associates, delivery drivers, manufacturing employees, factory or warehouse employees, construction workers, forklift operator or driver, heavy equipment loaders, receiving or transportation employees. The roles where forklift operation are wide-ranging and there are many opportunities out there for those experienced individuals with the right training.

How to Get Certified

For every operator wishing to become a forklift operator, the first step is to make sure what type of forklift truck you want to drive. Training curriculum is very specific to the type of truck you will be driving. Once you know what you want to drive, you can register for forklift training from a wide variety of training schools. If you are currently employed, your employer may provide training, but if you are looking to make a career change, you will likely have better luck connecting with a local technical school or certification program.

You will most likely need to attend classes as well as perform practical demonstrations and demonstrations. Trainers will work closely to supervise you and rate you accordingly against a checklist with a set of tasks you will need to accomplish. A written test also evaluates your knowledge of the safety requirements and best practices around driving a forklift. The passing rate for this test is around 75 percent, so make sure you are well prepared to show your capabilities both in the written and practical exams.

Once you pass your exams, you will receive your certificate and an operator card. The license is valid for three years, and you can use it when applying for a job in any state in the U.S.

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