‘How Often Should I Provide Forklift Training?’

Courtesy: Ken Pretell at flickr.com

Courtesy: Ken Pretell at flickr.com

If you have forklift operators working in your operation, you are responsible for making sure they know how to safely operate their vehicles. Even if a new employee comes on board with years of forklift experience, if he or she gets into an accident involving an injury or death, your business can be held liable.

Forklift training not only must be provided by employers, but it needs to be documented and recorded. Post-accident investigators from the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration will require you to produce documentation that proves operators received the proper safety training. Failure to provide written records could end up costing your business money in fines and penalties, or even criminal prosecution.

New Employee Forklift Training

All new employees should be required to undergo forklift training, even if they already have been trained and certified at another business. Forklift certification is not always transferable.

Just because a new employee has documentation that he or she knows how to safely operate a forklift at another business, it may not be good enough in the event of an accident at your business.

Frequent Refresher Courses

One-time training may meet the OSHA requirements in some cases, but not always. A better plan is to provide ongoing forklift safety training to any employee who routinely operates a forklift or other heavy materials handling machinery.

This can take the form of annual, quarterly, or even monthly training sessions. They don’t need to last all day. Even a brief refresher on forklift safety essentials can help ensure your business is protected.

Record Keeping

Most importantly, any time you provide forklift safety training to employees it needs to be documented and a copy of the documentation signed by both the employee and the trainer needs to be stored in each individual employee’s personnel file.

That way you can always provide proof that your forklift drivers not only received forklift safety training prior to beginning their new job, but also received ongoing training on a regularly scheduled basis.

Types of Training

OSHA regulations aren’t specific as to what type of training you are required to provide for your employees. You can purchase pre-made training modules employees can use online, or your can hire an outside contractor to provide in-house training.

You can even create and use your own forklift training programs, as long as it includes all of the essential elements for the safe operation of forklifts and other heavy materials handling vehicles.

Essentially, when it comes to forklift safety training, there’s no such thing as too much.

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