Is forklift certification required?

 Forklift certifications are an interesting topic, and one where there is a lot of misinformation that people believe. OSHA requires that forklift operators be trained and certified before they can run a forklift on their own. They do not, however, offer any type of training or certification program. In addition, they don’t endorse or approve of any specific certification or training program. Instead, they simply require that the employer certifies that forklift operators have been properly trained and know how to operate it safely.

Third Party Certification

Many employers will use third party training and certification companies for their forklift drivers. Once a forklift driver attains the certification from this company, the employer will certify that they are able to operate the forklift in their facilities. While not required by OSHA, this is a great way for a company to get their employees properly trained without having to do it all in-house. Of course, the company is still going to be the one that is directly responsible for confirming that an employee is able to safely operate a forklift.

OSHA Forklift Training Requirements

While OSHA doesn’t do their own training courses, they do have some requirements for what type of training someone must be given in order to be considered certified. The training has to consist of three sections. The first is formal instruction, which is typically going to be in a classroom setting where the student learns by a book, instructor, video, or other method. The next is a practical hands on segment where the potential forklift operator is shown how to use a forklift by an experienced professional. Finally, the third section is an evaluation of the operator’s skills to ensure they have the ability to safely operate these machines.

Each of these segments can be done at the employees worksite, or they can be sent off to third-party providers. Either way, they need to be able to understand and be able to demonstrate how to safely operate a forklift.


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