Fleet Management & Forklift Safety Blog

Forklift Operator Certification and Training Requirements

Posted by Thelma Marshall on Feb 5, 2019 4:00:00 AM

Forklift operator certification may not one of your concerns today, but maybe it should be. It’s common for warehouse managers to lose track of when operator certifications will expire or when drivers should be flagged for training. But, failing to do so can play a big role in the number of injuries and OSHA violations you must deal with.  coaching-2738522_640

How well are you really managing certification and training needs? Do some of your drivers slip through the cracks of your system? Ask yourself:

  • Do I know when a driver’s certification is about to expire?
  • Do drivers get regular evaluations to determine if more training is needed?
  • Are any drivers working right now without proper certification?
  • If an accident occurs, is there easy access to documented proof of training and certifications?

Why certifications and ongoing training matter

It is possible to prevent many warehouse accidents if drivers are skilled, well-trained on the equipment they operate, and they follow safety protocols.

Essentially, forklift operators require thorough training, testing, regular performance evaluations, and current certification so that they are not only OSHA compliant, but their actions and behaviors reinforce safety in your facility.

What OSHA expects from you

Federal OSHA regulations require that operator training consists of both classroom and hands-on learning. It must include: 

  • General principles of operation and stability
  • Truck-specific topics including inspection, fueling or battery-charging, and any other routine tasks that the operator will perform
  • Operating limitations for the specific unit(s) to be operated
  • Workplace-related topics including surface conditions, composition of loads, load manipulation, stacking, and pedestrian traffic patterns, etc.
  • Any personal protection equipment requirements, such as fall protection
  • Emergency procedures and incident documentation requirements

Once an operator is trained, it should not end there. Refresher training should be conducted every three years — or more frequently, if operator behavior indicates a driver is taking risks, will be driving new equipment, has been speeding, or has a near-miss or accident. 

How does a facility monitor all of this? The solution is software that issues reminders and documents all training and certifications.

Keep drivers certified

Your telematics system should be working for you to monitor and track each operator, sending an alert to managers and drivers when certifications are near expiration. This facilitates refresher training on a regular basis — no guess work or manual tracking is required. 

You gain a detailed certification and training log and advanced driver-access control: 

  • Operator certifications can be required for an operator to use a particular vehicle model. The vehicle can be locked out if the operator is not in compliance.
  • The operator-certification-expiration option provides a list of operators whose certification is nearing expiration.

Telematics software can track all the moving parts of your organization — including alerts about expiring certifications and training needs. This helps ensure your facility is compliant with OSHA regulations and is focused on safety, not just productivity.

Topics: OSHA regulations, driver behavior, job-tracking, injuries, operator training, safety improvements, historical data, safety training, limit risks, forklift operators