Need to know how to get a forklift license?
In this article, we spell out everything you need to know about getting a forklift operator's license. We'll keep it short and to the point, we promise.
Enjoy the article and good luck
PLUS, as an added bonus, there's a big black download button at the bottom of this article that you give click to download four forklift inspection and refueling/recharging checklists. If you're a safety manager at work, you know how great this is. If you're not, download the checklists anyway, give them to your safety manager, and make his or her day.
To be clear before you begin, OSHA DOES NOT give out forklift certifications or licenses. However, OSHA's Powered Industrial Trucks standard (29 CFR 1910.178) DOES explain the minimum requirements employers must meet in setting up the training requirements that their employees who operate forklfits and other PITs must meet.
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All the rules regarding how to get a forklift license are spelled out by OSHA in 1910.178(l).
The first thing to notice is that employers must develop and implement a forklift operator training program. So an employee can't get certified to operate a forklift without doing so through a forklift operator training program training program established by his or her employer.
In the standard, OSHA requires the employer to base the forklift training program on:
So the OSHA forklift training certification is really the employer's responsibility. And that means that if you want to know how to get a forklift license, this is step 1.
According to OSHA, forklift training:
...shall consist of a combination of formal instruction (e.g., lecture, discussion, interactive computer learning, video tape, written material), practical training (demonstrations performed by the trainer and practical exercises performed by the trainee), and evaluation of the operator's performance in the workplace.
As you see, there's no one "right" training delivery method to use while trying to get a forklift license.
As a result, it makes sense to use a a blended method of instruction that uses two or more of the instructional methods above. An online forklift safety training video like the one shown in the sample video below can be an effective way to set the scene for forklift training like this.
We've prepared an article explaining how to incorporate online forklift safety training into your overall forklift training certification program for you if you'd like to read more about that.
Although there's no single right training delivery method for forklift training, let's return to a key part of the OSHA training requirement that we included above (and immediately below as well):
According to OSHA, forklift training:
...shall consist of... practical training (demonstrations performed by the trainer and practical exercises performed by the trainee), and evaluation of the operator's performance in the workplace.
So while there are lots of kinds of training that CAN be used, it's important to know that this type of practical training, including demonstrations by the trainer and practical exercises by the employee, and evaluation of the employee's performance HAS to be used.
Employers may benefit from using mobile training apps (like the one shown below) in the field while observing and evaluating this forklift operation demonstration. They're a great way of keeping records for this kind of safety training.
Another thing to know about how to get a forklift license is that the training must include:
According to OSHA, forklift operator training must include "truck-related topics" as explained in 29 CFR 1910.178(l)(3)(i).
These forklift-related training topics include:
Forklift operating training must also include workplace-related topics, as OSHA explains in 29 CFR 1910.178(l)(3)(ii), and these must include:
That's a lot of different training topics. A learning management system (LMS) for managing and keeping track of all that training, such as the one explained in the short video below, may be helpful for safety managers.
The trainee can only operate the forklift:
Your employer has to establish the training program, but that doesn't mean that the program can't include training provided by a third party.
That might mean a person who provides forklift training in a face-to-face manner, or online forklift training provided by a training provider.
Refresher training is necessary in the following circumstances:
You may also find the following resources about forklifts and forklift operation training helpful.
We've got some more articles about forklifts you may find helpful:
We've also got the following two online forklift operator courses available you may find helpful:
Our Forklift Safety Training Video
OurForklift-Reducing Product Damage online course
Hope you enjoyed the information above about how to get a forklift license.
As an added bonus, and as promised, we have for you a series of checklists based on materials available on OSHA's website.
Download all four of the checklists by clicking the button below. Once you click the button, you'll fill out a form. Next, we'll send you an email. You click the link in the email, and you'll get a zipped folder. That zipped folder includes all four checklists, each in PDF format. Use whichever ones work for you.
Here are four checklists to help with powered industrial trucks safety and operations...two for electric-powered PITs, and two for internal combustion PITs.