NITCO Statement to our Valued Customers...
Get Onsite Forklift Safety and Skills Training for Your Company
Safer employees. Increased productivity. Reduced insurance premiums. Lower equipment costs. These are some of the top reasons to invest in forklift operator training.

There is also this critically important reason: According to the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA): “It is a violation of Federal law for anyone … to operate a forklift … who is not properly trained and certified to do so.” The good news is that OSHA regulations offer a great deal of latitude in how you meet this requirement (more on this in the “OSHA Regulations” section below).

The even better news is that the experienced forklift training instructors at NITCO are equipped to provide you with the highest quality forklift operator training — even tailoring their training program to your work environment and the equipment your operators are using.

Forklift Training That Complies With All OSHA Requirements

Anyone who has ever dug into OSHA forklift training and certification regulations knows that it can be hard to find clear guidance at what exactly OSHA requires.

To help save you the headache of wading through the red tape, the forklift training experts at NITCO have thoroughly studied all applicable OSHA forklift training regulations to develop an industry leading training program that meets all of the requirements.

Here are a few important takeaways from an OSHA Powered Industrial Truck Operator Training FAQ page:

The standard requires employers to develop and implement a training program based on the general principles of safe truck operation, the types of vehicle(s) being used in the workplace, the hazards of the workplace created by the use of the vehicle(s), [etc.] …

Formal (lecture, video, etc.) and practical (demonstration and practical exercises) training must be provided. Employers must also certify that each operator has received the training and evaluate each operator at least once every three years. …

OSHA standards call for forklift operator training that is both general in nature and also specific to the type of equipment being used. That’s why our expert instructors provide onsite forklift training that is customized to the needs of your operators and your operation.

Hands-On Forklift Operator Training

NITCO’s hands-on forklift operator classes are held onsite at your facility — both for convenience and so your equipment operators can apply the lessons learned to the actual machines they are using, where they will be using them. (There are seven classifications of forklifts and OSHA specifies that operators be trained on all equipment that they operate.)

The sessions begin with a classroom component featuring best practices, video examples and candid discussions about the real-life risks. For example, an estimated 100,000 people are injured each year in incidents involving a lift truck. Sadly, there are also as many as 100 fatalities each year, approximately half of which are caused by the machine tipping over. Video depicting actual lift truck accidents help underscore the hazards and the ever-present need to be vigilant about proper safety techniques.

Training also includes an informative discussion of load capacity and placement, since there is a direct correlation between load capacity and stability, and tip overs. (Knowledge of basic “forklift physics” is proven to keep operators safer.) The classroom segment wraps up with a written test.

NITCO’s forklift operator training also includes a hands-on component — focused primarily on ensuring that operators are following best practices when they perform their daily forklift safety inspections.

* Because these quick, but very important, daily inspections are also required by OSHA, NITCO has created a free, downloadable Forklift Safety Inspection Checklist.

During the hands-on training, the instructor helps operators work on specific skills and tasks, including those unique to the types of equipment they use on the job. Additionally, aerial lifts and any equipment that puts an operator up in the air require specialized training to counter the increased risk. Operators must also know how to read and interpret the data plate that is attached to every forklift.

The number one priority is to ensure that each operator feels both “competent and confident” with the equipment they’re using.

At the conclusion of these forklift certification classes, each operator who completes the training is issued a wallet card and a certificate for the employer to keep on file. Both of these documents can turn out to be extremely important if an accident should ever occur, prompting OSHA to make an onsite visit.

Forklift Certification [What is Required by OSHA?]

Again, OSHA’s old-fashioned website does not offer clear, one-stop instructions on what is required. While it does not require forklift licenses, when it comes to forklift certification, OSHA says: “All powered industrial truck operators must be trained and certified by their organizations.”

Elsewhere, in Section 1910.178(l)(6), it says: “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.”

NITCO’s training sessions, and the related documentation, are designed to keep you OSHA compliant.

OSHA’s Rules for Forklift Usage and Pedestrian Safety

OSHA also emphasizes the need to be extremely vigilant about the safety of pedestrians in any environment where forklifts or other Powered Industrial Trucks are operated. An OSHA website page devoted to pedestrian traffic and safety recommends that: “Forklift traffic should be separated from other workers and pedestrians where possible.”

Regarding pedestrian safety, OSHA offers clear guidelines for drivers, pedestrians and plant managers, the most important of which are that:

  • Drivers must always yield the right of way to pedestrians, a responsibility that includes being alert and watchful, in addition to a list of additional specific operator safety precautions.
  • Pedestrians must be aware that lift trucks may not be able to stop suddenly and that drivers’ visibility may sometimes be limited due to blind spots.
  • Plant managers must ensure that “permanent aisles and passageways [are] free from obstructions and appropriately marked where mechanical handling equipment is used,” that safety signage is utilized and that measures are taken to separate forklift usage from pedestrian traffic.

Who Should Receive Forklift Training?

Every forklift operator is required by OSHA to receive training. As mentioned earlier, OSHA states that it is a violation of federal law for anyone to operate a forklift unless they are “properly trained and certified to do so.”

Train the Trainer – Helping You Create Your Own In-House Training Program

NITCO also offers “Train the Trainer” instruction to help generate your own in-house training program. Our expert instructors have trained thousands of forklift operators — and forklift safety trainers — on all types of lift trucks, scissor lifts and aerial lifts throughout New England and upstate New York.

Having us train key members of your team is a great way to meet OSHA requirements by developing your own in-house expertise. This can be especially useful for operations with large fleets and lots of equipment operators.

Onsite Forklift Training [and Why it Is Far Superior to Online Options]

Beware online training sites that promise OSHA compliance. It is obviously not possible to train operators on the specific equipment that they use on the job (as required by OSHA) in an online format.

Plus, the primary reason OSHA exists is for workplace safety. Going through the motions on this important matter arguably does a disservice to your employees and could be costly for your organization in the event of an incident that might have been avoided with proper training.

Cost of Forklift Training

Our in-depth onsite training is more expensive than online options, but is priced to be very affordable. Another key difference between online training and NITCO’s far more comprehensive, safety-oriented program is that instructors provide their contact information, along with an invitation to follow-up with a call or email should they ever need advice or guidance. Contact Us for Forklift Training Pricing Information.

7 Top Benefits of Forklift Training

Benefit No. 1 is, of course, workplace safety! However, the list of reasons to invest in quality forklift operator training also includes:

2. Keeping compliant with OSHA — Nobody wants to give OSHA a reason to disrupt daily business operations.

3. Avoiding fines — OSHA regularly fines companies for violating its regulations involving forklifts and other Powered Industrial Trucks (PITs); for example, this report of an Illinois company that was fined $108,020 for violations involving defective powered industrial vehicles and lack of fall protection.

4. Increased productivity — Well-trained operators are better skilled and can therefore execute their work with maximum productivity. Quality training also decreases downtime caused by equipment problems or injuries.

5. Lower equipment and maintenance costs — Well-trained operators cause less damage to the equipment; skillful operation and diligent daily vehicle inspection also has a positive impact on ongoing maintenance costs (brakes, lift mechanisms, etc.).

6. Reduced insurance costs — Incidents and accidents can cause insurers to increase premiums.

7. Peace of mind — It’s always better to know that you’ve done your due diligence when it comes to workplace safety.

Hopefully, this answers most of your questions about forklift training and certification. If you have additional questions or like to schedule a time to talk about professional forklift training for organization, please don’t hesitate to contact us today!

Finally, we always like to remind forklift operators of these three fundamental safety tips:

  • Keep your load low
  • Keep your speed slow, and
  • If you can’t see what is in front of you, don’t go
Get OSHA-Compliant Forklift Training for Your Company  

Frequently Asked Questions

What forklift training does OSHA require?

OSHA specifies that operators be trained on the specific materials handling equipment they use on the job and that training occur “at least once every three years.” It leaves a lot open to interpretation regarding its operator training standards. For example, an employer can tailor training sessions based on the actual work they do and their actual warehouse or worksite conditions. Check the OSHA “Training Assistance” page for more specifics.

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How long does the forklift training session take?

This is a common question from managers and foremen and, of course, we understand why — there is always a lot of work to be done, and minimizing downtime is a key part of functioning at maximum efficiency.

We try to run through the training as efficiently as possible, but it’s good to plan for the session to last at least 3-4 hours. However, most managers and foremen understand that OSHA-mandated training must be taken seriously, since it keeps their employees safe and is ultimately good for the bottom line.

Click here to learn more about our hands-on forklift operator training classes.

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Is forklift training required for each type of lift truck an operator uses?

Yes. According to OSHA, “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 … then the operator training must include instruction on the safe conduct of those operations.”

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Why does OSHA require forklift operator training?

The goal, obviously, is to minimize the number of injuries to workers who operate powered industrial trucks. According to OSHA, other benefits of an effective training program include “lower cost of compensation insurance, less property damage, and less product damage.”

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Does OSHA also require daily forklift inspections before each shift?

Yes. Because these quick, but very important, daily inspections are also required by OSHA, NITCO has created a free, downloadable Forklift Safety Inspection Checklist.

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Forklift Safety Checklist

Forklift Safety Checklist

This free, easy-to-use checklist neatly organizes pre-shift inspections, helping forklift operators and warehouse professionals reduce downtime, increase efficiency, save money and stay safe.