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Forklift Training Demystified

  • Forklift fatalities are prevalent in manufacturing, construction, and trade, transportation and utilities. Employers must ensure forklift operators complete the training and evaluation specified in OSHA regulation 29 CFR 1910.178(l)(1).

    Who Conducts Training?

    According to OSHA, "National Safety Council local chapters, private consultants with expertise in powered industrial trucks, and local trade and vocational schools are some available resources."

    Learn more about training options directly from OSHA.

    OSHA Regulations

    OSHA regulations regarding lift trucks do NOT apply to:

    • Compressed air or nonflammable compressed gas-operated industrial trucks
    • Farm vehicles
    • Other vehicles intended primarily for earth moving or over-the-road hauling

    Determining how to protect workers depends on the type of truck used and the worksite, according to OSHA. Here is an overview of OSHA forklift training regulations:

    • Operators must be 18 years or older
    • Trainers must be experienced and directly supervise trainees
    • Training should include formal and practical instruction, and evaluation of job performance
    • Training must address the specific characteristics of the lift truck and environment in which it will be operated
    • Refresher training is needed when:
      • Operator has an incident or a near miss
      • Operator has been observed operating the lift truck in an unsafe manner
      • Operator is assigned to a new lift truck
      • Conditions change in the workplace
    • A performance evaluation must be held every three years for every operator

    How Injuries Affect the Bottom Line 

    In 2014, 57 people were killed when a forklift was the primary source of injury, and 32 people died when it was a secondary source. In 2013, forklift injuries involving days away from work affected about 100 out of every 10,000 full-time workers.

    In addition to the emotional toll these deaths and injuries take on families and loved ones, there are also direct and indirect costs to employers.

    Direct Costs

    • Compensation payments for employees unable to work
    • Medical expenses for anyone injured
    • Costs for legal services if needed

    Indirect Costs

    • Hiring and training replacement employees
    • Overtime
    • Lost productivity
    • Repair of damaged equipment and property
    • Reduced morale
    • OSHA fines
    • Dissatisfied customers
    • Damage to the facility's reputation

  • NSC Lift Truck Operator Training

    NSC provides forklift training to fit your needs. Discover the benefits of training with the NSC Lift Truck Operator course.

    Learn More

FAQs About Lift Truck Operator Training

OSHA provides a list of frequently asked questions.

Learn More

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