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OSHA forklift operator certification is required by law. Failure to comply with the law can lead to heavy fines or even worse. It’s neither difficult nor expensive to get OSHA forklift operator certification. Here are the steps you need to take.
- Decide who is going to do the training. You can either hire an outside party or take the OSHA Outreach Training Program Course. If you take the course, you will be authorized to offer lift truck operator training to all your employees.
- Organize classroom training. Classroom training is part of the certification process. You can find OSHA approved forklift training materials at forkliftaccessories.com
- Administer the OSHA approved forklift certification exam.
- Administer the OSHA driving examination. This will include an obstacle course, a demonstration of the operator’s skill at using all forklift controls and observation of their adherence to forklift safety procedures.
- Issue the successful operator their forklift certification card. The certification card is valid for 3 years. After that, the operator will have to be re-evaluated, but will not necessarily have to be re-trained.
Forklift certification is neither difficult nor expensive. Studies have shown that well-trained lift truck operators are more productive workers who take pride in their ability to operate their vehicle skillfully, efficiently and safely, so really there’s no reason not to adhere to the law.
When Re-Training is Necessary
If nothing changes in your workplace, re-evaluation will be all that’s necessary to renew your lift truck operator’s certification card. In some instances, though, a refresher course may be required. Some instances where this may occur include:
- If a lift truck operator has been observed operating in an unsafe manner.
- When a forklift operator has been involved in an accident.
- If you re-assign an operator to a different class of lift truck.
- If you purchase a forklift attachment that alters the way the forklift operates under load.
- If you change your racking system or otherwise alter the workplace environment in such a way that the forklift operator may not be able to work as safely or competently as they should.
Why Forklift Operator Training is Important
Operator training is important for a variety of reasons. From a business perspective, well-trained operators are safe and efficient operators. From OSHA’s perspective, things are a little different. OSHA inspectors see the disastrous results of poor training and unsafe work practices every day. For example, in just one instance when a worker’s foot was crushed under a forklift tire, OSHA inspectors discovered 17 violations in the workplace where the accident occurred. The fines added up to $76,000 and prompted OSHA to state the following in their press release:
Employers and workers must understand that lack of operator training and improper operation of forklifts can have severe and lasting consequences for workers,” said Patrick Griffin, OSHA’s area director for Rhode Island. “OSHA standards mandate initial and periodic refresher training for forklift operators to ensure the machines are operated safely.
Every year, an average of 91,000 injuries involving lift trucks and 100 forklift fatalities occur in the United States. Most of them are avoidable. Don’t make your workplace another tragic statistic or embarrassing press release. Forklift operator certification is easy and is the best way to make sure you are running a safe and efficient facility.