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10 Things You Need to Know about Forklift Safety Training

June 19, 2015
Without proper forklift operator training, accidents and injuries would likely reach astronomical levels.

Forklift safety training is the foundation of fundamental material handling applications. Without proper forklift safety training, accidents and injuries would likely reach astronomical levels.

Safety retention is extremely valuable. Continuous and ongoing training can improve the overall safety, productivity and efficiency of any workplace.

Here are ten need-to-know facts concerning forklift safety training:

1. Forklift Safety Training Can Be Free

Often, forklift safety training can be offered for no cost at all. Whether it be a part of a promotional package or simply completed through electronic or virtual means, forklift safety training can be completed at no cost.

2. Often Forklift Safety Training Is OSHA Compliant

OSHA is the industry-leading, standard-raising organization that implements and updates safety practices across material handling applications. Many forms of forklift safety training remain compliant with OSHA, assuring the highest level of safety awareness.

3. Internationally Recognized Courses

Many forklift safety training courses are internationally accredited and are a desirable credential to hold to anybody traveling to international markets. In addition to overall prestige, forklift safety training diversifies the skill set of personnel across the world.

4. Comprehensive to Any Experience or Age Level

Forklift safety training can be easily comprehended and utilized by any worker of any age or experience level. No seminar or session is too difficult for anybody to learn.

5. Broad or Focused

Safety training can be applied in a broad spectrum presentation level or can focus on one of the many facets involved in forklift operations. Curriculum can be designed and devised in accordance with requirements or areas of improvement.

6. Offered Electronically

With cutting-edge improvements and the integration of innovative technologies, safety classes can now be offered electronically in entirety. This makes scheduling and completion of required coursework easier and simpler.

7. Use the Forklift Simulator

Perhaps the largest breakthrough in forklift safety training is the creation and integration of the first-of-its-kind forklift simulator. Now aspiring operators can sit behind the wheel of any forklift and simulate a real-time material handling project. Literally any situation can be created, and any scenario can be manufactured to enhance the edification of a forklift operator hoping to earn certification.

8. Builds Effective Teams

To complement the technical skills required to master forklift operations, safety training can also help build teams and establish leaders in safety awareness. As opposed to single safety training courses for individuals, group curriculum can help integrate and establish these practices on an organizational level and thus create effective and efficient teams.

9. Continuous Safety Training Is Always Best

The best forklift operators are committed to maintaining up-to-date knowledge of industry-leading safety practices. In addition to safety awareness, a forklift operator should likely retain certifications in various material handling capacities to further drive safe operations.

10. Accompanying Course Materials Readily Available

For those seeking additional materials to fully grasp and engage training curriculum, DVDs and books are also available to enhance the overall edification of various operators. These additional items can instill confidence in those who are learning the ins and outs of forklift safety.

Tom Reddon is a forklift specialist and blog manager for the National Forklift Exchange. He also sits on the Material Handling Equipment Distributors Association (MHEDA) Executive Dialogue team. Follow him on Twitter @TomReddon.


[Editor's note: The following was provided by the author, Tom Reddon, in response to the comments posted below.]

Per the feedback and comments, we wanted to clear up a few things. While we understand and appreciate the nature and complexity of operating a forklift, please note that we do try to find alternatives and information that can aid in the development of novice operators and seasoned veterans. While we understand the greatest courses can be a pricey endeavor, we have identified content and material available to the public at little to no cost that retains OSHA compliance. Please see these attached links:

Please note that in some people’s eyes this may simply be complementary or supplementary material, but the first two resources offer free services and the third at a nominal price that earns the customer a certification compliant with OSHA standard 29 CFR 1910.178. Please also note that the functionality and compliance of these programs are covered further in this accompanying link:

In regards to the use of DVDs and other applications such as the Forklift Simulator, we never suggested that this is the premiere method to attain a Forklift Operator Certification; we just recognize them as a wonderful learning tool to help those engaged in the process to further hone and develop their skills. Think of it like this: If you are learning how to play football, the best methodology is to practice on the field and develop your skill set. However, does it ever hurt to watch film or read playbooks to gauge some of the content or achieve a visual interpretation of how to effectively execute a play or task? We wouldn't think so. While it is not a foundation, it can still be can a great fundamental tool to aid in the learning process, which is why we suggested the use of both items as a complementary utility in the certification process.