A forklift is used to move heavy cargo from delivery trucks to warehouse storage regions. It is a powered truck used to stack, lift, carry, or tier materials. Having to drive a forklift is not the same as driving a car. Employers need to enroll their employees in an online forklift training program and get them certified as Forklift operators.
As per recent data, there are around 34,900 severe injuries and 85 deaths every year due to forklift accidents. Hence, you need to ensure employees operating forklifts are properly trained, evaluated, certified, and aware of the safe operating procedures to follow.
There are several forklift training programs available on the Internet. However, there is no guarantee every forklift training program is OSHA compliant or meets your specific business needs. Here are the general requirements you need in an online forklift certification program.
OSHA Forklift Training Requirements
Experts mention there several types of powered industrial trucks, and each type presents various operating hazards.
For example, a motorized hand truck is more likely to be involved in a falling load accident than a counterbalanced high-lift sit-down rider truck. The reason is the latter can lift more weight than hand trucks. The OSHA forklift safety precautions mention the types and conditions of the workplaces that lead to forklift accidents.
To reduce the hazards in forklift operations, OSHA has mentioned the forklift training requirements for each powered industrial truck type. Employers need to ensure the employee operating the forklift is certified as an operator for the exact model he operates.
The OSHA online forklift training requirements mention that the forklift training should have formal instruction, practical training, and evaluation.
Formal instruction is generally delivered through software, video, lecture, book, or traditional types of training materials, which can be delivered online. The practical training involves live demonstration, hands-on instruction, and practice exercises on the forklift under the trainer’s supervision. It is generally done at the employer’s location and cannot be done online.
Evaluation is also done at the workplace, where a certified forklift operator evaluates the operator’s performance, and it cannot be done online. If you are interested in getting Forklift operator certification that is OSHA compliant, you need to choose a training program that meets the guidelines mentioned above.
As per OSHA training program guidelines, the formal instruction part of the course can be delivered online. Experts generally recommend employers enroll their employees in online training programs as they are fast and cost-effective to complete a large part of the training program.
However, the employer needs to ensure that the trainee’s hands-on instruction and in-person evaluation can be done at the workplace. For example, the employer should have a certified forklift operator at the workplace to deliver instructions, training and evaluate the trainee at the end of the course.
For successful forklift operator certification, the employer should make arrangements for a live evaluator at the workplace before the training is completed.
OSHA has clear guidelines on who qualifies as an evaluator. For example, any employee who has received forklift operator training and has knowledge and experience of operating a forklift can provide hands-on instruction to the trainee and evaluate him after completing the training.
Forklift operators can learn the basics of operating the powered truck at their own pace, but they need to teach the trainee what they know best. The forklift training program has a blended approach that delivers full knowledge and complete training in a short period and at the lowest cost to the employer.
As mentioned earlier, there are several types of powered industrial trucks. A certified forklift operator cannot ignore the re-training requirement when they plan to operate a new type of forklift truck. For example, if the forklift operator is certified to operate a Class I forklift and is assigned to operate Class II forklifts. In that case, he needs to get forklift operating training for Class II before operating Class II powered trucks.
Though there are no other re-training requirements for the forklift operators, employers must evaluate the forklift operator performance at least once in three years. If the evaluation results show the operator needs refresher training, the employer needs to provide the forklift operator.
The forklift schools are not OSHA endorsed. Most schools design their training programs as per OSHA guidelines. However, some schools may have their course materials for forklift training. OSHA does not endorse such training programs, and the trainee might miss the important safety guidelines and procedures outlined by OSHA.
To sum up, enrolling your employees in the proper forklift training program is crucial for the operator’s safety and other employees at the workplace. Ensure the training program meets the OSHA training guidelines and ensures the operator receives essential operation and safety instructions and training.