Forklift lifting a large box to put it on a shelf

Forklifts and other mobile machinery are some of the most hazardous elements of a warehouse. They can cause injury to both the operator or pedestrians due to errors such as not adhering to posted signage, improperly stacking a load, or not paying attention to the surroundings. 

The dangers that forklifts present in the workplace are well understood and recognized. That is why OSHA requires every forklift operator to complete an OSHA-compliant forklift certification. Once a forklift operator receives their certificate, OSHA mandates they be evaluated every three years. 

Every forklift operator’s employer must confirm they have a valid certification that includes the operator’s name, their training and evaluation date, and the name of the person performing the training. 

What Does a Forklift Certification Cover? 

The certification training covers two main categories: truck and workplace. 

The truck category covers the specific equipment that the operator will be using. While training, the operator will start with basic instructions on how to operate the vehicle and detailed warnings and precautions they should be aware of. They will also be required to learn how the forklift truck is different from an automobile. 

Additional topics covered include: 

  • Controls, operating the engine or motor, and steering
  • Visibility with and without a loaded vehicle
  • Capacity and stability 
  • Covering the fork and additional attachment options
  • How to perform vehicle inspection and maintenance
  • Any other limitations the operator needs to be aware of

The workplace category covers the location where the operator will be handling the truck. It is specific to each operator as it details hazards the operator may encounter in their work environment. 

The training will cover restricted or hazardous areas within the workplace such as narrow aisles, ramps or slopes, different surface conditions, pedestrian traffic, and areas with ventilation concerns. Additionally, the workplace training will provide safety information for the how-to stack and unstack the forklift to maintain load stability. 

Every three years, a forklift operator is required to have their certification evaluated. If they are considered fit to operate a forklift, they will not need to complete additional training. However, if the operator indicates that they are no longer qualified to operate a forklift safely, supplemental training will be required. 

A few reasons why a forklift operator may be required to complete relevant, supplemental training include: 

  • Being seen using the vehicle unsafely
  • Being involved in an accident or near-miss incident
  • The evaluation reveals unsafe operating habits
  • The operator’s workplace introducing or changing hazardous conditions

Maintaining a valid forklift license is vital within the warehouse industry. Without it, the operator and company could be subject to heavy fines or jail time. Operating without a certificate puts the operator and others at risk of product and equipment damage, serious injury, or death. 

We understand the importance of forklift safety. That is why our HIT-Not solution address unseen hazards that a forklift certification may not be able to prevent. If you are interested in this system, or any other safety solutions for your company, contact us today