Top 3 Forklift Training Questions — Answered!

Date Posted: 03/20/2020

Can I train and evaluate our forklift operators?

Yes, as long as you have the "knowledge, training, and experience to train powered industrial truck operators and evaluate their competence."( 1910.178(l)(2)(iii)) OSHA does not specify that the training must be conducted by the employer, a supervisor, or any other particular person.

In the preamble to the final rule, OSHA notes that: "Outside qualified training organizations can provide evidence that the employee has successfully completed the relevant training topics, both classroom and practical. The employer may also have an employee perform the training, which would allow the employer to certify that the employee has successfully completed the training."

During the rulemaking, comments and testimony indicated to OSHA that there are adequate resources if employers choose to hire outside training providers. "Truck manufacturers and dealers can provide information and assistance in developing a training program."

OSHA feels that the evaluation of the classroom part of the training should be left up to the trainer. Successful completion of a written or oral test, an evaluation by the instructor, or other appropriate means can serve as the evaluation. Successful completion of the practical training requires the trainee to perform all required operations safely. The operator will be observed during normal operations, and the evaluator will ask pertinent questions to ensure that the operator has the necessary knowledge or experience.

OSHA does not believe that it would be possible to establish standardized tests or passing grades. Forklift operator training requirements should adopt a performance-oriented approach. OSHA does not have the resources to evaluate and certify trainers and does not consider it necessary to do so.

When must powered industrial truck refresher training be given?

The standard does not require any specific frequency of refresher training. Refresher training must be provided when:

  1. The operator has been observed to operate the vehicle in an unsafe manner.
  2. The operator has been involved in an accident or near-miss incident.
  3. The operator has received an evaluation that reveals that the operator is not operating the truck safely.
  4. The operator is assigned to drive a different type of truck.
  5. A condition in the workplace changes in a manner that could affect safety operation of the truck.

However, OSHA does state that “An evaluation of each powered industrial truck operator’s performance shall be conducted at least once every three years.” If that evaluation does not reveal a deficiency in the operator’s vehicle operation, then retraining is not mandated.

Must powered industrial truck operators have a valid driver's license?

No, OSHA does not require it. OSHA does require forklift operators be trained and certified and have  their performance evaluated every three years. The employer must also have a record documenting that the driver has successfully completed the training.

Forklift Training

Help Forklift Operators Protect Themselves and Their Coworkers

The J. J. Keller® Forklift Training program helps satisfy the operator training requirements under OSHA's Powered Industrial Truck Standard (1910.178(I)). Specifically, it is designed to help learners choose, inspect, and operate a forklift in a safe way, protecting themselves and their coworkers from the potential hazards associated with their use.


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