However there are some important distinctions and terminology that need to be understood regarding forklift driver certification, licensing and the term authorized.
- Certified by the Employer: – OSHA clearly states that it is the responsibility of the employer to certify that each operator has been fully trained and evaluated as per the OSHA standard.
- Forklift Operator’s License: – In terms of the OSHA standard which covers powered industrial trucks (PIT), there is no such thing as a “forklift operator’s license”.
- Authorized to Operate a Forklift Truck: – Only once an operator has been trained and evaluated as competent to operate a forklift will the employer then certify that the operator is authorized to use a forklift truck.
Once authorized to operate a forklift truck the operator is typically provided with a wallet card or badge from the employer. These can take many forms but as a minimum the following information must be listed:
- Name of Operator
- Date of Training
- Date of Evaluation
- Name of Trainer
- Name of Evaluator
It is also common practice to include on the wallet card / badge the type of forklift truck that the operator has been authorized to operate.
This becomes important when the employer’s environment changes or new forklift vehicles are added into the fleet.
There are some very good online suppliers of durable forklift cards and badges or alternatively employers may provide their own documentation.
The employer must also retain a record of the forklift operator that has been trained and certified.
As above, the record needs to include the forklift operator’s name, training and evaluation date, name of the trainer and person evaluating the forklift operator. In addition a record of the type of forklift truck should also be noted.
Given operators need to be evaluated at least every 3 years, it is worthwhile for the employer to setup an alert that notifies them at least 6 months prior to renewal. Alternatively a good plan is to have forklift re-certification completed every 2 years.
Another consideration is to add a photo ID to the Forklift Certification Card. This prevents misuse which has been known to happen. It’s a pretty simple activity to add a photo and have the card laminated.