Powered Industrial Trucks, commonly referred to as forklifts or fork trucks are used in many industries, primarily to move materials. There are various types of forklifts, and each has its own distinct features as well as some inherent hazards.
If a worker is going to be tasked with operating a powered industrial truck, he or she must be certified to operate this vehicle properly. OSHA Compliant Forklift Certification is essential in this regard.
The certification serves to indicate that a driver has the necessary skills and knowledge to operate the equipment safely and efficiently. Most industries, insurance providers, and companies today make it a requirement that forklift operators, as well as other general industry workers, have forklift certification. Herein is a brief overview of forklift certification requirements.
The Training Process
Employers are required to implement a forklift-training program that is based on several factors. These factors include the general practices of safe-truck operation, the types of trucks being used, and the hazards created using the machines and general safety requirements.
Prior to operating a forklift, employers must ensure that every operator has completed the training successfully. Trained operators must show that they can safely perform the job by demonstrating their skills in a workplace evaluation. The training consists of a combination of the following aspects:
- Formal Instruction
- Practical training (exercises and demonstrations performed by the trainee)
- Refresher training
- Workplace performance evaluation
Formal Instruction/Classroom Portion
Formal instruction involves the theoretical aspects of the forklift-training program. The theory work encompasses several topics related to forklift operation. They may include by are not limited to how to operate the vehicle, safety concerns, how to determine capacity and how to steer the forklift. The trainee will also learn about aspects of the operating environment and the products and material that they will be dealing with.
Workplace Performance Evaluation
In this section, the forklift must demonstrate their practical skills by operating the forklift through a series of maneuvers and movements. Employer representatives will be present to evaluate the operator’s performance.
Forklift Training Options
The two main forklift operator certification training options include in-person classes and online training.
In this option, an instructor presides over the trainees in a traditional classroom setting. This is the most familiar option for most people. However, there are some notable disadvantages of in-person classes.
The cost of this option can often be prohibitive. It also inconveniences the trainees to some degree. Making time for in-person classes amid busy work schedules is difficult and incurs resources such as time, and transport costs.
Online Forklift Certification training is fast becoming the more popular training option due to several advantages. First, it allows the trainees to complete the course at own pace or how it fits their work schedule.
Secondly, there is no transport cost required. All a trainee needs are a computer and stable internet connection. The final benefit is the cost. Online courses are usually much cheaper than in-person classes.
Once a forklift operator has completed the classroom portion of training and demonstrated their ability to operate the vehicle efficiently and safely, they will receive a certification card. Renewal of forklift certification every three years is recommended.