All employers with forklift operations are required to have their employees trained and certified before they can work. To help protect employers and their employees from the risks associated with forklift operation, OSHA explains the minimum requirements employers must meet in its Powered Industrial Trucks standard, 1910.178(l). According to this standard, all operator training and evaluation shall be conducted by persons who have the knowledge, training, and experience to train powered industrial truck operators and evaluate their competence.
In a letter clarifying “experience,” OSHA offered this explanation:
A trainer must have the "knowledge, training, and experience" to train others how to safely operate the powered industrial truck in the employer's workplace. In general, the trainer will only have sufficient "experience" if he has the practical skills and judgment to be able to himself operate the equipment safely under the conditions prevailing in the employer's workplace. For example, if the employer uses certain truck attachments and the trainer has never operated a truck with those attachments, the trainer would not have the experience necessary to train and evaluate others adequately on the safe use of those attachments. However, the standard does not require that the trainers operate a PIT regularly (i.e., outside of their operator training duties) as part of their job function or responsibility.
It’s important to note:
There are two effective ways to provide forklift training.
According to OSHA, forklift training must consist of three parts:
Employers must certify that the training and evaluation have been done. Each operator's performance must be evaluated every three years. Refresher training is required whenever one of the following occurs:
Not meeting the proper OSHA forklift certification requirements puts your business in jeopardy of costly fines and legalities. Additionally, employees without the right forklift certification could hurt the productivity of your business. Employees who don’t have the knowledge and skills to operate forklifts safely and correctly are more likely to cause accidents, damage equipment and other structures, not perform necessary maintenance or inspections, and may not be able to work efficiently.
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