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Forklift Training FAQs

Listed below are some of the most commonly asked questions about forklift training.

1. If my employees have already received training, or have been operating
trucks for many years, must I retrain them?

No. An employer does not need to retrain an employee in the operation of a powered industrial truck if the employer certifies that the operator has been evaluated and has proven to be competent to operate the truck safely. The operator would need additional training in those elements where his or her performance indicates the need for further training and for new types of equipment and areas of operation.

2. My employees receive training from the union on the use of powered industrial trucks. Will I have to provide any additional training?

When a worker reports to work, the employer must evaluate the employee to ensure that he/she is knowledgeable about the operation of the powered industrial trucks he/she will be assigned to operate. This evaluation could be as simple as having a person with the requisite skills, knowledge and experience observe the operator performing several typical operations to ensure that the truck is being operated safely and asking the operator a few questions related to the safe operation of the vehicle. If the operator has operated the same type of equipment before in the same type of environment that he/she will be expected to be working, then duplicate or additional training is not required.

3. Is testing required?

No. The standard does not specifically require testing; however, some method of
evaluation is necessary.

4. If my employees receive training, but accidents still continue to occur, what should I do?

Refresher training in relevant topics is necessary when the operator has been involved in an accident or near-miss incident.

5. I have three different types of trucks in my workplace. Can I provide training on just one type of truck?

If an operator will be expected to operate all three types of vehicles, then training must address the unique characteristics of each type of vehicle the employee is expected to operate. When an attachment is used on the truck to move odd-shaped materials, then the operator training must include instruction on the safe conduct of those operations so that the operator knows and understands the restrictions or limitations created by each vehicle's use.

6. What does OSHA expect to achieve as a result of improved operator's
training?

OSHA's goal is to reduce the number of injuries and illnesses that occur to workers in the workplace from unsafe powered industrial truck usage. By providing an effective training program many other benefits will result. Among these are the lower cost of compensation insurance, less property damage, and less product damage.

7. How often must refresher training be given?

The standard does not require any specific frequency of refresher training. Refresher training must be provided when:

  1. The operator has been observed to operate the vehicle in an unsafe manner.
  2. The operator has been involved in an accident or near-miss incident.
  3. The operator has received an evaluation that reveals that the operator is not operating the truck safely.
  4. The operator is assigned to drive a different type of truck.
  5. A condition in the workplace changes in a manner that could affect safety operation of the truck.

8. Do I have to train all employees in my workplace?

Any employee that operates a powered industrial truck must be trained.

9. I only have powered hand trucks in my workplace. Do the training requirements cover the operators of this type of vehicle?

Yes. The use of powered hand trucks present numerous hazards to employees who operate them and those working in the area where they are used.

10. I employ drivers from a temporary agency. Who provides them training - the temporary service or me?

OSHA has issued several letters of interpretations on the subject of training of temporary employees. Basically, there is a shared responsibility for assuring employees are adequately trained. The responsibility for providing training should be spelled out in the contractual agreement between the two parties. The temporary agency or the contracting employer may conduct the training and evaluation of operators from a temporary agency as required by the standard; however, the host employer (or other employer who enters into a contract with the temporary agency) must provide site-specific information and training on the use of the particular types of trucks and workplace-related topics that are present in the workplace.

If your employees are in need of training or certification, please contact one of our training specialists:

For Eastern Missouri & Illinois: Dennis Lammlein at (314)-308-7037
For Indiana: Rachel Woodward at (317)-538-7744