Forklift training is an important step for all would be forklift operators. Forklifts can be dangerous if not used properly. Nearly 1,000,000 forklifts are in use in the United States currently, and approximately 1.3 accidents per vehicle will be logged over their lifetime. That’s a lot of accidents! With proper forklift certification most of these accidents could have been avoided.

Forklift training will teach operators of forklifts the proper safety precautions for protecting themselves as well as coworkers near the forklift operating area.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA for short) training requirements for forklifts are in place to reduce the number of injuries and death that occur annually.

Forklift training programs are based on many factors including the forklift operator’s prior knowledge and skill, the types of forklifts used in the workplace, hazards at the workplace, and the drivers ability to operate safely.

There are many different classes of forklifts including class one electric motor forklifts, class II electric motor narrow lifts and class III electric motor hand trucks. Next we have the class IV forklifts which consist of internal combustion engine forklifts and class V combustion engine forklifts with pneumatic tires.

These are the types of forklifts being used indoors in warehouses around the country. With so many forklift types in use, training is often varied with each model. But basic safety training is the same for all forklifts.

Above all, employers must train and continually retrain their forklift operators to drive safely to ensure a safe workplace. Training format consists of verbal classroom instruction, video instruction and practical hands on training as well as written exams.

Here are some important safety tips you’ll discover during your training…

1. Always say NO when unauthorized employees hop on your forklift to “get something quickly” or “go for a spin”. Only trained operators should be operating forklifts. It is also illegal for those under age 18 to operate forklifts.

2. Watch the load! It is very important to stack and secure loads so they will not shift during transport. Carry loads as close to the ground as possible for maximum safety. A raised load on a forklift is a hazard to anyone close enough to be struck by it if it falls. The distance co-workers needs to keep from raised loads goes up as the load goes higher.

3. Know your area! Forklift operators need to know how to safely navigate around corners, through crowded areas — with and without a load. Remember, co-workers may be loading and unloading trucks as you work, and other forklift drivers in your area may not be as safety conscious as you.

4. Maintain visibility. Never stack materials at corners in a way that obstructs an operator’s visibility. And always use mirrors to show operators and pedestrians what’s coming around the corner. It’s the passerby that you never see that usually gets hit! As a forklift operator you should always be concentrating on the direction you are moving at all times, whether that be forward or backward.

Forklift training topics covered in your formal training include but are not limited to tips like those, plus similarities and differences between different forklift models, controls, steering and maneuvering as well as visibility, vehicle capacity and inspection and maintenance.

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