Forklift Certification FAQ

Just as drivers must have drivers licenses, forklift drivers must have certification that prove they know how to operate their forklift safely and competently. Surprisingly, though, many warehouse and factory managers aren’t aware that just as a license for driving a car does not mean the driver can legally drive a motorcycle or 18 wheeler, forklift operators must be certified to drive the type of lift truck they use and must get further training to use some forklift attachments. These forklift certification FAQs will help clear the confusion.

Why is forklift certification necessary?

OSHA created forklift certification regulations in order to reduce workplace accidents. The regulations are constantly being revised and updated as OSHA gathers more information about the causes of forklift accidents.

narrow aisle forklift training materials

Narrow aisle training kit from

I just bought a narrow aisle forklift. Do I need to train my drivers or will their existing certificates do?

Operators must be certified to drive the specific classes of forklifts they are driving. A Class II electric motor NA forklift handles very differently than a Class I counterbalanced electric forklift. Your drivers will need to be trained and certified to use them.

What certification course materials and training are required by OSHA?

Both formal and practical training is required. Formal training may include books, CDs, lectures and demonstrations. Practical training is carried out under the supervision of a certified forklift driver.  Many forklift training materials that satisfy OSHA’s requirements are available here at


We’ve just bought a forklift attachment for our counterbalanced IC forklift. Do our operators need to get certification to use those as well?

Depending on the forklift attachment, a certificate may not be needed, but if the attachment affects forklift stability, you will need to get manufacturer’s approval or an engineer’s report, place an appropriate data plate on the forklift and train your drivers how to use them safely.

What about refresher and ongoing training and certification?

The only times when refresher training will be required are when an operator has displayed unsafe driving habits; has been involved in an accident or near-accident; is asked to drive a different class of vehicle; or if the workplace environment changes significantly enough to potentially make him an unsafe driver.

I just hired a new forklift driver. He has a lot of experienced and is certified. Does his certification carry over into my workplace?

As long as he is driving the same class of forklift, no. In fact, his years of experience will be a bonus to you. You should, however, evaluate his performance during his first few weeks on the job.


For more forklift safety tips, check out our other blogs under the Forklift Safety category. While you’re here, also check out our resources pages for information about the forklift attachments and forklift accessories we sell on You’ll find valuable information that will help you find the right products for your needs and how to get the most out of them.

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