When operating a forklift, you are responsible for the safety of yourself, your co-workers, and the product you’re moving. To be a safe and certified operator, you must receive proper training and certification. This post will outline how to obtain your forklift certification card.
Aspiring forklift operators should be aware of some important differences and jargon when it comes to forklift driver certification and licensing.
OSHA regulations for forklift operator certification state “Operators of these vehicles must be trained for the type, size and capacity of the vehicle used.”
Once you have completed your forklift certification training, practical tests, and evaluation you are now authorized to operate a forklift.
OSHA regulation 1910.178(l)(2) states “Employers have a responsibility to provide each operator with the necessary training in the safety-related work practices … that are needed to ensure that each employee can safely operate a particular forklift or group of forklift trucks.”
The onus is on the employer to provide an appropriate forklift operator training program that covers:
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. 29 CFR 1910.178(l)(6)
This means that the employer must provide proof that each employee operates in compliance with OSHA regulations. This proof is typically in the form of forklift operator certification cards.
Forklift Certifications are usually carried out through recognized forklift training organizations. These organizations certify employees to operate their particular type of forklift under OSHA regulations, which means that operating other makes or types of forklifts requires additional certifications by that specific employer.
With each certification, employees are required to sign the certification card to signify they have received proper training. However, despite signing the certification card, employees are not authorized by OSHA to operate forklifts until their employer has certified them.
This phrase is frequently used but poorly understood. Most people believe that after receiving a certification or license to operate a forklift they are authorized to do so.
This is not the case. OSHA defines an “authorized operator” as one who has been designated by the employer according to OSHA regulations. The employer must designate employees allowed to operate forklifts for them to be considered authorized operators.
Once authorized to operate a forklift truck the operator is typically provided with a wallet card or badge from the employer. These cards need to include, as a minimum:
Operators are required to carry this wallet card or a legible copy at all times when operating a forklift truck.
On commencement with any new employer, an operator should request a new wallet card or badge from the employer. The employer must ensure the correct information is set out and, where appropriate, replace any existing wallet cards or badges if the information is no longer valid.
In addition to this primary identification proof, other documents such as a driver’s license and proof of age may be required under certain circumstances including (but not limited to) vehicle transfers, change of employer, change of location (proof of residency), and for operator training.
It’s also standard to include the type of forklift truck that the operator has been authorized to use on the wallet.
This becomes important when the employer’s environment changes or new forklift vehicles are added to the fleet.
There are some excellent online providers of long-lasting forklift identification cards and badges. Alternatively many employers provide their badge documentation.
The employer must keep track 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 the person(s) evaluating the forklift operator. In addition, a record of the type of forklift truck should also be noted.
Because operators require to be reevaluated at least every three years, it’s advantageous if the employer can quickly notify them 6 months before their license is set to expire. A better alternative is to have your forklift re-certification done every two years.
Another option is to add a photo ID to the forklift certification card. This prevents fraudulent usage, as it has in the past. It’s easy to snap a photo and have the forklift license laminated.
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