Law requires that employers provide their employees with a safe workplace, and that includes hiring workers that are trained and certified in their field of work, such as operating a forklift. In fact, operating a forklift without the proper training and certification is in violation of federal law. Forklifts are vital tool in the warehouse. But this powerful tool must be handled safely, and only by those who have received proper training and earned their forklift operator certification. Here’s how to get your forklift operator certification.
Rules and regulations for forklift operator certification are stipulated by OSHA. Your company should provide an instructor who offers an OSHA-compliant course. If you decide to conduct the training yourself, you must complete an authorized OSHA trainer course either in the field of construction industry or general industry.
Once training begins, workers must complete two phases. The first phase involves classroom or online instruction, followed by a forklift test. New operators must receive classroom training for 8 hours, experienced operators for 4. Online courses are completed at the individual’s own pace. This phase of training focuses on health and safety information the operator needs to know along with OSHA regulations and the penalties related to them.
After online or classroom training, operators are evaluated by completing an OSHA forklift certification exam. The operator then moves onto the second phase of certification, which involves hands-on training. The training may include completing obstacle courses and utilizing the different controls, ultimately training the operator to work in an equipment and environment-specific setting. Certification requires minimum training of 8 hours of high lifts and 4 hours of low lifts.
After completing the classroom phase, passing the certification exam, and demonstrating competent hands-on skill, the forklift operator may be awarded with his or her certification. The operator must carry their certification card whenever operating a lift, which is valid for three years. After three years, the driver’s performance must be evaluated. Refresher training is only required following an incident or if the driver is found to be operating the forklift unsafely.
Forklifts are powerful tools that can be dangerous when used improperly or operated by someone without training. Not only is having your forklift operator certification required by federal law, it is also essential to the safety and efficiency of the warehouse environment.