OSHA Forklift Training

OSHA regulation states that only trained and authorized operators shall be permitted to operate a powered industrial truck (forklift).

Training of new forklift operators and periodic review for the re-certification of experienced forklift drivers includes testing and certificates of completion, and documenting the formal measures that your organization has taken to ensure safe and effective lift truck operation. It must be documented that the program is in compliance with the OSHA guideline.

OSHA has required that all drivers be trained and have a permit to operate a Powered Industrial Truck (forklift) A fine can be imposed for each operator in violation

Improper forlift truck operation, including reckless operation, can often result in accidents, product damage, and other financial losses which can be severe. Proper training and recertification for your forklift operators will not only make your company compliant with OSHA requirements, but it can also make a significant difference in reducing damage, costs, liabilities and worker injuries.

OSHA Federal Regulation CFR1910.178

This section contains safety requirements relating to fire protection, design, maintenance, and use of fork trucks, tractors, platform lift trucks, motorized hand trucks, and other specialized industrial trucks powered by electric motors or internal combustion engines.


Operator training.


Safe operation.


The employer shall ensure that each powered industrial truck operator is competent to operate a powered industrial truck safely, as demonstrated by the successful completion of the training and evaluation specified in this paragraph (l).


Prior to permitting an employee to operate a powered industrial truck (except for training purposes), the employer shall ensure that each operator has successfully completed the training required by this paragraph (l), except as permitted by paragraph (l)(5).


Training program implementation.


Trainees may operate a powered industrial truck only:


Under the direct supervision of persons who have the knowledge, training, and experience to train operators and evaluate their competence; and


Where such operation does not endanger the trainee or other employees.


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.


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.


Training program content. Powered industrial truck operators shall receive initial training in the following topics, except in topics which the employer can demonstrate are not applicable to safe operation of the truck in the employer's workplace.


Truck-related topics:


Operating instructions, warnings, and precautions for the types of truck the operator will be authorized to operate;


Differences between the truck and the automobile;


Truck controls and instrumentation: where they are located, what they do, and how they work;


Engine or motor operation;


Steering and maneuvering;


Visibility (including restrictions due to loading);


Fork and attachment adaptation, operation, and use limitations;


Vehicle capacity;


Vehicle stability;


Any vehicle inspection and maintenance that the operator will be required to perform;


Refueling and/or charging and recharging of batteries;


Operating limitations;


Any other operating instructions, warnings, or precautions listed in the operator's manual for the types of vehicle that the employee is being trained to operate.


Workplace-related topics:


Surface conditions where the vehicle will be operated;


Composition of loads to be carried and load stability;


Load manipulation, stacking, and unstacking;


Pedestrian traffic in areas where the vehicle will be operated;


Narrow aisles and other restricted places where the vehicle will be operated;


Hazardous (classified) locations where the vehicle will be operated;


Ramps and other sloped surfaces that could affect the vehicle's stability;


Closed environments and other areas where insufficient ventilation or poor vehicle maintenance could cause a buildup of carbon monoxide or diesel exhaust;


Other unique or potentially hazardous environmental conditions in the workplace that could affect safe operation.


The requirements of this section.


Refresher training and evaluation.


Refresher training, including an evaluation of the effectiveness of that training, shall be conducted as required by paragraph (l)(4)(ii) to ensure that the operator has the knowledge and skills needed to operate the powered industrial truck safely.


Refresher training in relevant topics shall be provided to the operator when:


The operator has been observed to operate the vehicle in an unsafe manner;


The operator has been involved in an accident or near-miss incident;


The operator has received an evaluation that reveals that the operator is not operating the truck safely;


The operator is assigned to drive a different type of truck; or


A condition in the workplace changes in a manner that could affect safe operation of the truck.


An evaluation of each powered industrial truck operator's performance shall be conducted at least once every three years.


Avoidance of duplicative training. If an operator has previously received training in a topic specified in paragraph (l)(3) of this section, and such training is appropriate to the truck and working conditions encountered, additional training in that topic is not required if the operator has been evaluated and found competent to operate the truck safely.


Certification. The employer shall certify that each operator has been trained and evaluated as required by this paragraph (l). The certification shall include the name of the operator, the date of the training, the date of the evaluation, and the identity of the person(s) performing the training or evaluation.


Dates. The employer shall ensure that operators of powered industrial trucks are trained, as appropriate, by the dates shown in the following table.
 If the employee was hired: |   The intial training and
| evaluation of that must be completed: ____________________________|_______________________________________________ Before December 1, 1999 ... | By December 1, 1999. After December 1, 1999 .... | Before the employee is assigned to operate a powered industrial truck. ____________________________|_______________________________________________


Appendix A to this section provides non-mandatory guidance to assist employers in implementing this paragraph (l). This appendix does not add to, alter, or reduce the requirements of this section.

Be sure to review the complete OSHA Regulation 1910.178