Forklift Certification

Forklift certification is something all forklift operators and managers of forklift drivers need to take seriously. OSHA regulations on industrial power equipment such as forklifts are in place to protect workers and others around busy work areas such as warehouses, loading docks, and piers, and these rules are strictly enforced.

The reasons why forklift certification is so important are many. In addition to the safety of personnel and others working in and around an area where heavy equipment is operated, certified operators save money.

While safety is certainly a top priority for companies, money is a very close second. Millions of dollars are lost every year due to accidents that could have been prevented with proper training and certification.

Accidents involving forklifts kill more than 100 people every year in the United States. The number of accidents that result in injuries are in the thousands. Many of these incidents would never have happened had the driver been trained, licensed and certified in accordance with manufacturer recommendations and OSHA requirements.

For Employees…

If you are interested in working as a forklift operator, the first thing you should do is get certified. You can take a course in your local area if you want. Or, it may be quicker and easier for you to get your training right over the Internet. Online forklift certification can cost you as little as $40 depending on the instruction site you choose to go with. (It is sometimes worth paying a bit more for a more comprehensive training course.)

When you show up for your interview with a training certificate or license in hand, you’ll be far ahead of the rest of the applicants who are looking to get the same job. What more motivation could you need?

For Employers…

If you are an employer with forklift operators at your facility, you need to make sure your managers stay up to date on all the new rules and regulations set forth by OSHA. If your managers are not current, your company could face stiff penalties and fines for their negligence.

One rule many bosses do not know about is OSHA requirement for periodic re-certification. This rule is in place to make sure that industrial equipment operators are current in their safety and operation procedures.

Many forklift manufacturers offer training and forklift certification to businesses who utilize their equipment so that would be the first place a manager should look for these refresher training classes. Some forklift makers will even send reps to the warehouse or another place of business where their equipment is used and perform training on-site.

Forklift certification is something that is simply not to be overlooked, especially in today’s economic climate. Businesses cannot afford expensive lawsuits and fines with today’s challenging economy. Proper training and certification can help you avoid accidents and help employers avoid legal trouble and fines.

It can also save the lives of forklift operators as well as the other employees that work in and around the same work environment where forklifts are in use. Remember, preparation, training, safety and a good dose of caution when using powered industrial equipment is what makes the difference between regret and reward.

The OSH Act and OSHA Outreach Training

The Occupational Safety and Health Act covers private sector employers and their employees in the 50 states of America as well as certain territories and jurisdictions under federal authority. As of 2012, those jurisdictions include the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Wake Island, Johnston Island, and the Outer Continental Shelf Lands as defined in the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act.

The OSHA Outreach Training Program teaches workers about their rights, employer responsibilities, and how to file a complaint. It also teaches workers and employers how to identify, abate, avoid and prevent job related hazards.

Through their outreach program, OSHA authorizes safety and health professionals who complete an outreach trainer course to conduct occupational safety and health classes for workers. After training is completed, trainers document their training and receive student course completion cards to distribute to the workers they have trained.

OSHA has promoted workplace safety and health by authorizing trainers since 1971. The Outreach Training Program is voluntary. It does not meet the training requirements contained in any OSHA standard. However, some states and local jurisdictions have enacted laws mandating outreach training.

Some employers, unions, and various other jurisdictions also require workers to have this training to work on job sites and to fulfill their own safety training goals. For a complete list of OSHA’s training-related requirements, see OSHA Publication #2254, Training Requirements in OSHA Standards and Training Guidelines (

From the fiscal year 2000 through the fiscal year 2010, the OSHA Outreach Training Program grew almost four-fold, from 200,000 workers trained per year to nearly 800,000 trained annually. This growth is a result of industry-wide acceptance and implementation of the program.

OSHA training programs such as the Outreach Training Program are intended for workers covered under the OSH Act. For this reason, OSHA Outreach Training Program classes must be limited to training conducted within OSHA’s jurisdiction. Classes delivered outside of OSHA’s jurisdiction will not be recognized as Outreach Training Program classes, and trainers will not receive student course completion cards for those students.

Additionally, OSHA mandates specific Training Delivery requirements. Training that does not comply with the Daily Class Hours requirements listed below will not be recognized by OSHA and trainers will not be given student course completion cards.

a) Training is limited to a maximum of 7 ½ hours per day.

  1. 10-hour classes must take a minimum of two days.
  2. 30-hour classes must take a minimum of four days.

b) Training cannot be conducted over 10 consecutive hours. An 8-hour break is required after 7½ consecutive hours. Consequently, for example, a training class cannot be conducted from 9 pm until 7 am the following day.

Many employers now use the Outreach Training Program to provide training for their employees. Groups who have integrated the program into their overall safety and health training plans include the building trades, general contractors, employer associations, insurance companies, and manufacturing firms.

Online Forklift Certification Sites

There are many websites that now offer online forklift certification for operators, and many well-known employers now use this method to stay compliant with OSHA regulations.

Online forklift certification can save companies money and make it easier for employees to get certified. This post will explain how online certification works and why you should consider it as a cost cutting measure.

It should first be noted that while OHSA does not certify or give accreditation to online forklift training sites, they do spell out the regulations and mandatory content the online sites provide. Therefore, an OSHA compliant training site complies with OSHA standard requirements. Occupational Safety and Health Standards, CFR 1910.178 for Materials Handling and Storage, is the regulation these training sites follow.

To get started with online forklift certification, you first choose a site to provide your training, testing, and certification. There are many available online for both businesses and individuals including sites such as and Make sure you choose a site that is OSHA compliant and used by other major corporations.

Next, you sign up for their services and pay their fee, which ranges from about $50 to $100 at most sites, then have each operator that requires certification, set up a login name and password.

Next, the operator follows the online course the certification site provides, paying close attention to safety instructions. These courses can be completed in as little as a half hour to an hour depending on the driver’s prior knowledge, experience and skill set.

Once the operator has completed the online curriculum, they will be required to answer a set of questions based on the course material provided. Most course providers allow the opportunity to go back and review the material and even correct any wrong answers that were provided. In fact, most certification sites have a 100% pass rate due to this.

Once the operator has received the required score, the forklift certification provider allows them to immediately print a certification card showing that the required written exam has been satisfactorily completed. The operator will also then receive a checklist for the driver’s exam so they can prepare for that portion of their certification process. The live drivers/operators test is usually performed on site at your workplace, or at a forklift manufacturer training facility.

Online forklift certification is easier than administrating written training and tests on-site and saves time and money for both operators as well as the businesses that employ them. Take time to compare a few different certification sites before deciding on one to provide your forklift training and certification, and again, be sure their course is OSHA compliant, offers competitive pricing and guarantees 100% pass rate.

How to Prepare for Your Forklift Driving Test

There are several different types of fork-lifts that are used to move products from one place to another. Some are powered by gasoline engines; others may be powered by propane or batteries. Most are what is known as a set down type; however, there are some that are used where the operator must stand while operating them.

Before you take your driving test for forklift certification, there are some things you’ll need to check first. The main things that a forklift operator must do before starting their driving test is to, first check the forklift that he/she will be using. A general checklist to go over includes the following…

  • Are the tires in good condition with no chunks or holes in them?
  • Have you checked the hydraulic lines to make sure that there are not any holes in them and that they are not leaking at any of the connections?
  • Have you checked the emergency brake to ensure that it is working properly?
  • If the forklift being used is the type that uses propane, have you checked the fittings connecting the propane tank to the fuel line to ensure that they are tight and not leaking?
  • On fork-lifts that use batteries as a means of power have you checked the battery connections to ensure they are not loose or corroded?
  • Have you checked the forks to ensure they are properly spaced for picking up a load and that they are not bent or out of line? They should be able to be adjusted without excessive force being required to slide them. They also need to be tested to ensure that they can move up or down and either left or right smoothly with the control levers.

When a person is taking the driving test for being fork-lift operator certified, they will need to be able to start the fork-lift and pick up a load and then stack the load on top of something else.

They will also need to be able to drive backward and possibly maneuver around turns going forward as well as backward and around crates or barrels. The horn and lights will need to be used at various locations, and the mirrors will need to be adjusted so that the driver can see behind him/her.

Some places have developed their own fork-lift driving test, but may still require that an operator attends a class in order for them to learn the safety procedures required for operating a fork-lift.

Fork lift certification is necessary for any workplace that utilizes industrial powered equipment, platform lifts, and forklifts. Proper training and certification will reduce accidents and injuries, as well as damage to inventory and property. Before you take your certification test, become familiar with these tasks, and you’ll have a better chance of passing the first time around.

Other Lifts Requiring Training and Certification

Scissor platforms, aerial lifts, boom lifts and lift tables are types of lifts that require forklift certification as well as standard forklifts. These lifts are used to raise and lower materials rather than having workers manually carry material that would be too heavy and cumbersome. Building material and other inventory can now be moved using a scissor lift by one person instead of many, saving construction and other businesses lots of time and money.

However what some newer businesses fail to recognize is that these types of lifts can be as dangerous or even more dangerous than a standard forklift. Many workplace injuries have been reported from non-certified and untrained employees utilizing alternate types of lifts either improperly or without proper safety precautions.

These lifts typically hoist more than a ton of material more than thirty feet into the air. Imagine a ton or more of building material or supplies falling three stories or more. The damage that can result can be significant, including injuries and even death to anyone in the general work area. Due to industry demand, some manufacturers recently have developed scissor lifts capable of handling even larger loads, up to five tons in some lift models. Needless to say, these need to be used only by properly trained, responsible employees.

Remember, these platforms can be moved around as well as lifted up and down. Many warehouses use them nowadays, and they are being utilized by more and more maintenance crews during cleaning, power washing, painting and other maintenance tasks, both indoor and out.

Operators need to not only know the limitations of these lifts, but they also need to understand what you should and should not do with them. For instance, moving a fully raised load is a mistake that can have disastrous results. Moving about with workers on a raised lift is also a safety violation that can result in injury or death.

If your business is going to use scissor lifts, aerial platforms, boom lifts and other related equipment, you need to know that these lifts fall under heavy equipment and OSHA power industrial truck guidelines, and improper use resulting from non-trained or non-certifies personnel can result in fines as well as lawsuits from any accidents that happen.

If you are an employee at a workplace that utilizes this type of equipment, insist on proper training and certification either in-house or at manufacturer provided training facilities. If you are an employer who uses this equipment, put a supervisor in charge of proper training, certification, and re-certification of any individuals who will be authorized to operate the lifts.

What Types of Businesses Need Forklift Training and Certification?

Forklift training and certification is crucial to many different types of businesses. Lots of businesses nowadays utilize forklifts and need official training and certification recognized by OSHA.

This includes the building and construction industries from large to small structures. In addition, all businesses that maintain a warehouse where equipment is stored need forklifts and the accompanying forklift safety training with OSHA certified instructors. Other businesses besides construction that use forklifts are retail warehouses. These businesses use forklifts to move merchandise. They need forklift training for those employees who are working in keeping inventory and storing shelves with merchandise that requires a forklift to move from storage warehouse to store.

There are other businesses that use forklifts in government run services. Street departments in many cities use forklifts in maintaining the city streets. Those businesses that operate machinery like forklifts to help employees to lift and maybe dig trenches also need training in forklifts. Knowing how to handle a forklift is very important, and that’s why certification and training is crucial. If one is involved in work that could cause serious accidents if an employee had little knowledge in operating a forklift, injuries, deaths, and lawsuits can result.

Occasionally, forklifts are used in junk yards to lift objects like old cars and junked machines. These businesses use employees who know how to use a forklift and are properly trained, usually in-house, similar to businesses like private warehouses.

In large construction projects when other personnel can be injured by careless use of the forklift, training in forklift operation is even more important. Working on bridges, city streets, buildings, and parks is very serious work. The business is being conducted where people besides those employed can get injured during the use of the forklift. These workplaces need regular forklift training and re-certification to ensure that the forklift operator knows how to properly use the forklift.

The forklift is a very powerful piece of equipment. It lets people move large objects easily. It lets people manage property needs quickly. It helps builders to execute a project with a little physical exertion of human labor. There really are many places you may never consider that use forklifts and need forklift training and certification.

If you have ever been to large retail department stores, you might see smaller forklifts than those used in large construction moving easily through the aisles. These forklifts are used to save the employees from very strenuous lifting and arranging of merchandise labor. Even hand trucks can cause significant damage to people and property when not used properly. Forklifts come in different sizes and are used in many industrial and business work sites.

Every work site needs to make sure the operators of this equipment are fully trained and licensed. If your workplace does not have a safety plan in place that includes employee training and certification, talks to your supervisor immediately, to make sure such a plan is implemented. OSHA can help you with setting up regularly scheduled training. Or, you can contact the manufacturer of the equipment used at your workplace to see what they offer in the way of onsite or offsite training.

OSHA Inspections, Fines & Forklift Rules

OSHA is an acronym for an organization called the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. OSHA was created by the occupational safety and health act created in 1970 in the US.

OSHA describes the necessary safety regulations and procedures that protect U.S. workers from harm in the work place. If regulations that are provided by OSHA are not followed, and an organization is caught after inspection by the administrators, organizations face penalties and fines. OSHA often conducts visits to work places to inspect and make sure that their regulations and rules are followed to the letter.

The rules that OSHA has put in place for forklift operators state that they must be trained thoroughly using lectures, written material, and necessary computer based training, before they are allowed to operate any forklift machinery. They must also be given a practical lesson where hands-on training is conducted to prove their knowledge of the machinery they plan to operate in their job.

This forklift training should be conducted by an experienced and professional trainer in the organization. Lastly, an evaluation should be done at the end of the training and certification needs to be earned before an employee is licensed to operate a forklift.

The reason for this comprehensive forklift training and certification is to avoid accidents happening as a result of inexperienced forklift operators, either to themselves or to other employees in the work place. Many industrial accidents are due to the hiring of unskilled laborers or workers in an organization, or improper and insufficient training.

For that reason, OSHA conducts an annual visit, and at times surprise visits to industries to check their adherence to these regulations of safety that they put in place for forklifts. The visits are characterized by an OSHA professional’s inspection of the safety practices employed by forklift operators and their skills of operating the forklifts. This is done in a very thorough and professional way so that any mistakes on the employer’s side can be corrected to avoid accidents and assure workers of their safety in each individual work environment, from docks, to piers to warehouses.

Lack of compliance by the employer can result in a fine and in worst case scenarios the work place might be temporarily or permanently shut down until proper safety measures have been put in place. Violations that OSHA checks for and fines the particular employers for vary from safety issues on forklifts themselves, unsafe track conditions, and mishandling of equipment by employees, just to name a few. There are many other safety regulations that OSHA enforces in work places, all in an effort of having safe working conditions for employees.

If you are an employer, you are encouraged to get in compliance with OSHA regulations and stay compliant. If you’re a forklift operator, take OSHA rules and regulations seriously. Observing proper safety saves companies money, and more importantly, saves lives.

Advances in Forklift Technology

As businesses move to newer breeds of forklifts in an effort to save time and money, warehouse managers and forklift operators have the responsibility and duty to stay up to date on the newest advances in forklift technology. Forklift training and forklift certification is an integral part of staying on top of the newest advances in the marketplace.

Fuel costs have increased over the last decade or so, and forklift manufacturers have been trending toward more environmentally friendly technologies. The newer more technologically advanced industrial power equipment runs on batteries instead of gas, and tends to have up to a 30% longer life span over internal combustion engine technology.

This conversion from gas to alternative energy forklifts such as electric, propane, and hydrogen fuel cells can save companies millions of dollars in the long run and makes more sense from an ecological standpoint as well. Battery powered forklifts technology especially, has been making its way to the forefront as more orders were placed for electric forklifts than other types during the year 2010. This trend seems to have taken a foothold, especially with big companies.

The newest breed of battery-powered forklift even contains technology such as regenerative braking, found on newer model hybrid cars. This technology takes advantage of previously wasted energy by sending energy created when braking, back to the batteries, which can then be used to power the forklift. It also can capture energy from lowering a load in the forks.

The newer breeds of forklifts also have more advanced technology such as laser guidance systems which enable the equipment to pick orders in warehouses and other environments sort of on auto-pilot. Forklifts navigate through the work area automatically by bouncing beams of light from one point to another throughout the warehouse.

Businesses are migrating rapidly to newer forklift technology in an effort to save time and money. Forklift operators need to stay up to date on the newest advances in forklift technology, more than ever. Take advantage of all the training and certification courses offered online and through your current employer. A smart employee is a well-paid employee.

Forklift and Industrial Truck Operator Salary

Interested in a job as a forklift operator or industrial truck operator? You can earn a decent wage doing this type of work and the education requirements to land a job are fairly minimal.

Forklift certification and training is required at most places of business that use forklifts, however many workplaces will train you on the job.

How much do forklift operators earn? Well, that all depends on where you live…

Forklift operators fall under the Industrial Truck and Tractor Operators category of the U.S. Dept. of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics. At the site, they report the current earnings statistics as well as other stats of forklift operators.

The mean average annual salary for this type of work in the U.S. was $31,000 in 2010. The top paying geographic area for this industry were as follows:

  • District of Columbia
  • Alaska
  • Hawaii
  • North Dakota
  • Washington

There are also many other areas in the United States where you can earn more than the average annual salary as a forklift operator. Most of the best forklift jobs are located in metropolitan areas, cities, and suburbs of busy cities.

If you’re interested in getting a job driving a forklift in your area, the best place to start is by searching for a job online. Rather than looking in your local newspaper like the old days, head over to or any other job finding site. Most companies in need of forklift operators will post positions at these site, including salary and benefits information.

Before you apply, it’s a good idea to take a forklift certification course online. This shows your potential employer that you’re serious about the position, and that safety is a high priority for you. This can go a long way and impress the manager who may be making the hiring decisions. It will certainly put you ahead of the pack when multiple people show up trying to land the same position.

Forklift Certification Saves Lives

Think forklift certification is for safety geeks, overzealous managers, and OSHA enforcers? Think again.

The fact is, forklift certification saves lives.

How many lives? Well, did you know that in addition to the 800+ people injured in forklift related accidents each year, about 100 people die annually from injuries related to forklifts?

Just look at some of these REAL headlines involving forklifts:

  • From North Carolina… “Press Operator Dies After Forklift Rams Scrap Bin”
  • From South Carolina… “Order Selector Dies After Jumping 16 Feet From an Elevated Pallet on an Overturning Forklift”
  • From Arizona… “Warehouse Laborer Dies After the Forklift He Was Operating Tips Over and Crushes Him”
  • From New York… “Laborer at Lumber Operation Crushed by Tipped Over Forklift”
  • From Ohio… “Worker at Building Supply Center Crushed by Forklift”

These are actual headlines, not made up scenarios. This stuff is happening in warehouses, lumber yards, docks, shipyards and supplier facilities on a regular basis. Safety is something too many people, especially inexperienced young people do not take seriously.

That’s too bad, when the facts are clear… following proper forklift safety procedures saves lives. Forklift training and certification saves lives.

Next time you curse the folks at OSHA for citing or fining your organization, take a close look at the safety of your crew and their work environment. What kind of refresher courses are being offered at your workplace? How much attention is being paid to safety at your job site?

Next time to curse out your boss for giving you a warning or verbal reprimand over a forklift maneuver you pull, think about those headlines. Think long and hard when you see other operators acting inappropriately as well. Be honest with yourself about how you regard safety right now. When you see blatant safety violations, do you look the other way? Or do you take the time to talk with the operator or other workers involved?

There is no room for horseplay or games when it comes to forklifts. These are heavy industrial machines that are meant for work, not for play. Treat them with respect by properly inspecting them before each use, and using them with caution and restraint. Stay up to date on your forklift safely classes, certification, and re-certification.

When you take forklift certification seriously, the life you save could be your own. Don’t become a statistic or worse, an accident headline.