Forklifts are essential machines for many industries, such as warehousing, construction, manufacturing, and logistics. They can lift and move heavy loads efficiently and safely. However, operating a forklift requires skill and knowledge, as well as a valid certification from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
If you want to become a forklift operator in 2023, you need to get proper training and certification that meets OSHA standards. In this article, we will explain why forklift training and certification are important, what are the requirements and steps to get them, and how to find the best training provider for your needs.
Why Forklift Training and Certification Are Important
Forklift training and certification are not only mandatory by law, but also beneficial for both employers and employees. Here are some of the reasons why you should get forklift training and certification:
To comply with OSHA regulations. OSHA requires that all forklift operators must be trained and certified before operating a powered industrial truck (PIT), which includes forklifts. OSHA also requires that employers must ensure that their operators are competent and qualified to operate the specific type of forklift they use. Failure to comply with OSHA regulations can result in fines, penalties, or even legal actions.
To prevent accidents and injuries. According to OSHA, there are about 85 fatal accidents and 34,900 serious injuries involving forklifts every year in the United States. Many of these accidents are caused by operator error, such as improper loading, speeding, turning, or parking. Forklift training and certification can help operators learn how to operate the machine safely and correctly, as well as how to inspect and maintain it regularly. This can reduce the risk of accidents and injuries for themselves, their co-workers, and their employers.
To improve productivity and efficiency. Forklift training and certification can also help operators improve their skills and performance on the job. They can learn how to handle different types of loads, maneuver in tight spaces, follow safety rules and procedures, and communicate effectively with other workers. This can increase their productivity and efficiency, as well as their confidence and satisfaction.
To enhance career opportunities and income. Forklift training and certification can also open up more career opportunities and income potential for operators. They can demonstrate their professionalism and competence to their current or potential employers, as well as their customers. They can also qualify for higher-level positions or special assignments that require more skills and experience. Moreover, they can negotiate for better wages or benefits based on their credentials.
Requirements for Forklift Training and Certification
To get forklift training and certification, you need to meet some basic requirements:
- You must be at least 18 years old.
- You must have a valid driver’s license or state ID card.
- You must be physically fit and able to operate a forklift safely.
- You must be able to read, write, speak, and understand English.
Steps to Get Forklift Training and Certification
To get forklift training and certification, you need to follow these steps:
1.Choose a reputable training provider. There are many training providers that offer forklift training and certification programs online or on-site. However, not all of them are accredited or approved by OSHA. Therefore, you need to do some research and compare different options before choosing one. Some of the factors you should consider are:
- The curriculum and content of the program
- The duration and cost of the program
- The qualifications and experience of the instructors
- The availability and quality of the equipment
- The reviews and feedback from previous students
- The recognition and reputation of the provider
2.Complete the classroom training. The classroom training is the theoretical part of the program that covers topics such as:
- The types, features, functions, and limitations of forklifts
- The hazards, risks, and precautions associated with forklift operation
- The OSHA standards, regulations, and best practices for forklift safety
- The inspection, maintenance, troubleshooting, and repair of forklifts
- The loading, unloading, stacking, storing, transporting, and handling of materials
The classroom training usually takes about four hours to complete. You may have to take quizzes or tests to assess your knowledge.
3.Complete the hands-on training. The hands-on training is the practical part of the program that involves operating a forklift under the supervision of an instructor. You will learn how to:
- Perform a pre-operation inspection and check the controls and instruments
- Start, stop, steer, and maneuver the forklift in different situations and environments
- Adjust the forks and attachments according to the load size and weight
- Lift, lower, tilt, and position the load safely and accurately
- Park, secure, and shut down the forklift properly
- The hands-on training usually takes about four hours to complete. You will have to demonstrate your skills and abilities in various exercises and scenarios.
Pass the written exam and the practical evaluation. The written exam and the practical evaluation are the final steps of the program that test your knowledge and skills in forklift operation. You will have to:
- Answer multiple-choice questions based on the classroom training material
- Perform a series of tasks using a forklift according to the instructor’s instructions
- Follow all the safety rules and procedures throughout the exam and evaluation
The written exam and the practical evaluation usually take about two hours to complete. You will need to score at least 70% on both parts to pass.
Receive your forklift certification card. If you pass the written exam and the practical evaluation, you will receive your forklift certification card from your training provider. The card will include your name, photo, date of issue, date of expiry, and type of forklift you are certified to operate. You will need to keep this card with you at all times when operating a forklift.
Your forklift certification is valid for three years from the date of issue. You will need to renew it before it expires by taking a refresher course or a re-certification test.
How to Find the Best Forklift Training Provider
Finding the best forklift training provider can be challenging, as there are many options available online or on-site. However, you can use some tips and criteria to narrow down your choices and make an informed decision. Here are some of them:
Check the accreditation and approval of the provider by OSHA or other reputable organizations
Compare the curriculum and content of different programs and choose one that covers all the topics you need to know
Look for reviews and testimonials from previous students and customers and see what they say about their experience and satisfaction
Ask for referrals and recommendations from your friends, colleagues, or employers who have taken forklift training before
Contact the provider directly and ask them questions about their program, instructors, equipment, schedule, cost, etc.
Request a free trial or a demo session if possible and see if you like their teaching style and methods
Forklift training and certification are essential for anyone who wants to become a forklift operator in 2023. They can help you comply with OSHA regulations, prevent accidents and injuries, improve productivity and efficiency, and enhance career opportunities and income.
To get forklift training and certification, you need to choose a reputable training provider, complete the classroom training and the hands-on training, pass the written exam and the practical evaluation, and receive your forklift certification card.
We hope this article has given you some useful information and guidance on how to get forklift training and certification in 2023. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact us anytime.