Forklift Training Demystified - National Safety Council

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
  • A performance evaluation must be held every three years for every operator
  • 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

How Injuries Affect the Bottom Line

In addition to the emotional toll 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

Forklift Training for Lift Truck Operators