requires that employers train workers in the safe operation of a forklift as
set forth under OSHA 29 CFR 1910.178 regulations. Only certified and authorized
individuals may operate forklifts. A forklift
training program consists of three parts:
- Formal instruction such as classroom lectures, discussions,
interactive computer learning, videos, or written material on various safety
- Practical, hands-on training covers demonstrations
performed by the trainer and practical exercises performed by the trainee.
- An evaluation of
the operator’s ability to handle the truck safely in the workplace must be
conducted by the trainer. Each operator’s performance must be evaluated at
least once every three years. Some employers
and/or insurance providers may require more frequent evaluations*.
Knowing how to drive a car doesn’t make someone able to
operate a forklift, and one forklift can be very different from another.
Operators must know the ins and outs of the forklifts they drive, including:
location of its controls and how they work
with and without a load
forklift’s capacity (how heavy a load it can safely carry) and stability
(whether it can be operated on rough terrain or indoors only)
any fork adaptations or attachments are available and how to use them safely
often the forklift needs to be inspected and have routine maintenance performed
Equally important is that forklift operators know the
workplace, which can affect safe forklift operation. Operators should know how
these factors will affect the “rules of the road”:
conditions (rough, slick, ramped, or sloped)
materials are in the loads and how stable the loads are
loads should be manipulated, stacked, and unstacked
locations and restricted areas
control measures, including areas where forklifts cannot pass and areas where
other workers will be present
Forklift refresher training is required by OSHA when:
operator has been observed operating the vehicle in an unsafe manner;
operator has been involved in an accident or near-miss incident;
operator has received an evaluation that reveals that the operator is not
operating the forklift safely;
operator is assigned to drive a different type of forklift; or
condition in the workplace changes in a manner that could affect safe operation
of the forklift.
After the formal and
hands-on instruction, the instructor must evaluate the operator’s performance
in the workplace. The performance evaluation consists of an
observation of the operator performing all typical operations as they navigate
through a planned driving course, and demonstrating proper use of the
forklift’s controls to lift and lower materials, as well as practical knowledge
of safety regulations. This is to ensure
that the forklift is operated safely. If
the evaluator believes that the operator’s skills are inadequate, additional
training may be required. Retraining
should be tailored to the reason for the retraining and should focus on specific
topic areas with worksite-specific information as needed.
The employer must certify that each operator
has been trained and evaluated with a document that includes the name of the
operator, the date of the training, the date of the evaluation, and the identity
of the person(s) performing the training or evaluation.
For more information, visit: www.osha.gov/SLTC/etools/pit/index.html.
*Note: We recommend that you check with your insurance provider about any specific training and performance evaluation frequency requirements if you think they are different from the OSHA regulations