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Forklifts & Powered Equipment

Forklift Certification: What You Need to Know

Posted November 24, 2021

Safety is incredibly important in any work environment, but especially when it comes to working in a warehouse. Working in a material handling business is about much more than wearing hard hats.

While not every warehouse employee will be involved in handling machinery, it’s important that those who do receive the proper training and certifications. Although it’s an easy process, here’s what you need to know about forklift certification.


What is Forklift Certification and Why Do I Need It?

A good majority of forklift accidents happen due to carelessness or unfamiliarity when it comes to operating forklift equipment. Forklift certification ensures that operators are trained and ready for any associated risks and dangers that may arise.

With proper training, material handling businesses can reduce forklift accidents, lower downtime, and costs, and increase the life of your equipment.

Forklift certification is required by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to indicate that an employee has been trained to operate this type of equipment. Forklift certification is required by law for all forklift operators. This certificate (or license) indicates that the employee has been trained and certified to operate a forklift for their line of work.

Certifications typically include the name of the lift operator, date of training and evaluation, and the name of the person who provided the forklift training and evaluation. Your employer should keep written records of these forklift trainings and certifications for their operators.

Learn About Warehouse Safety


What is the Forklift Certification Process Like?

This certification process varies depending on who is providing the training. Typically, your employer should provide certification training. If not, it’s important to note that there are two components to forklift training. First, a formal instructional training on forklift operation must be provided. This type of training can include lectures, written materials, videos, online courses, study guides, or other educational material. While not required by OSHA, your employer may have you take a written test to prove you’ve received the proper training and possess the knowledge necessary to properly operate a forklift.

Next, OSHA requires hands-on training sessions at your warehouse location.

These trainings are provided by staff who have experience in operating and training forklift operators. Each workplace is different—your trainer should have experience in operating the type of forklift necessary for your work environment. Each state may have different requirements for forklift certification. Learn more about your state on OSHA’s website.


Who Provides the Forklift Training and Certification?

The responsibility to provide this training lies with your employer—OSHA is not required to provide forklift training. However, you can receive training online. Keep in mind that in addition to the educational training, OSHA requires hands-on training at your warehouse.


How Long is Forklift Certification Valid?

Employers are required to conduct an evaluation of each forklift operator once every three years. This includes a refresher training similar to what the forklift operator experienced during their initial training. Additional training is required if the operator has been driving in an unsafe manner, is assigned to drive a different forklift, or if a workplace condition changes.


Where Can I Get Forklift Certification Near Me?

Again, this depends on your employer. If your employer does not provide certification or you’re looking for additional training, Naumann/Hobbs can help. Our training courses can help you or your employees become forklift certified. Our OSHA-mandated operator training courses are held at our facilities and we’re happy to schedule an onsite operator evaluation at your workplace once the initial training is complete.

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