Forklift Training – Some Basic Facts

Forklift training sounds easy enough. After all, it should just involve being trained in using the equipment, right? All you need to know is how to use a forklift or “powered industrial lift truck”, correct? All you have to do is understand your company’s policies for using this heavy duty machinery and you’re all set. Right?

Actually that is ALL wrong. It is a bit more complicated than that, and if you do not know enough about forklift certification, you could end up wasting time, money, and still not having the proper forklift license required to work in the industry. Why is that? There are a lot of basic issues that people are unaware of as they start to explore a career as a forklift operator.

So, to help you avoid any wrong moves in your forklift certification let’s just spend some time understanding the very basics.

Forklift Training is NOT Online

Forklift TrainingNow, the first thing we want you to accept as a simple fact of life is that you will not be able to get certified to legally operate a forklift entirely online. Sure, you can use virtual training tools, you can read all of the handbooks, and memorize all of the rules imaginable, but there is no way you can get certified forklift training through an online resource.

If you are encouraged to use an online certification course, understand that it is not going to let you work in the industry. You must take a course that involves some sort of hands on training and testing.

So, that’s the first step and rule for your forklift certification – don’t do it online because it is not going to give you access to forklift jobs of any kind.

Instead, you must be trained on the job or attend a course at a training school – but you must also locate a company that will provide you with an instructor capable of giving an OSHA-compliant course. Of course, you can also go the full distance and take the OSHA Outreach Training Program Course that allows you to actually become the person who certifies forklift operators.

In other words you can take two routes here – get the training to work as a forklift operator, or go a step farther and get the training that allows you to operate a forklift and also train others to do so.

Understanding OSHA

Naturally, this may be jumping too far ahead because you may not understand the certification organization. This might lead you to ask “what is OSHA?”

To keep it simple, it is the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and it is a very broad organization that just happens to regulate certification for a forklift operator or for those who want to certify others to use forklifts.

In fact, you will find that to work as a forklift driver in your chosen industry you are going to be obliged to be OSHA certified.

Becoming a Certified Trainer

If you do decide that you will become someone to certify others, you still have to complete an authorized OSHA training course. This is divided into two options – you can elect to do the construction industry training or the general industry training or you can even do both if you want to take both courses.

The courses tend to last only a week and will be made available in one of two places – an OSHA Training Institute or an OSHA Training Institute Education Center. When you have completed this, you can provide certification to others for the next two to four years before renewing your own training.

Does this mean you can operate a forklift truck? Yes, if you are a certified OSHA trainer you can be paid to run the equipment because you fully understand forklift safety and operations. However, if you want to just get forklift training, you can do so through a workplace program or a trade school.