16 Nov 2020
Delta Materials Handling

Forklift Safety Training: Checklist

Why Is It Safety Training Important?

Forklift Safety Training is not only a federal legal requirement to operate forklift trucks, but also shares information and practices that contribute to an overall much safer workplace environment.

Improper training presents various risks that create an unsafe working environment. By introducing the opportunity for dangerous forklift operation, you risk:

  • Damage to material, equipment, and facilities
  • Fines and penalties
  • Injury to operators, employees, and pedestrians
  •  Loss of life

Proper training gives employees the knowledge to create a safe working environment by providing the following benefits:

Workplace Safety: Forklift operators who use their equipment safely reduce the risk of damaging materials or injuring employees.

Increased Equipment Life: Equipment which is used safely is less likely to be damaged and less likely to have excessive wear which could shorten the life of the equipment.

Reduced Costs: Additionally, equipment with more wear and tear will need more costly repairs, and possibly even replacement

Efficient Operations: When your employees are better educated on the capabilities of their equipment, they can perform faster and more productively

Lower Turnover: With safer working conditions and less employee injury, there are fewer employees leaving or taking off so you will not need to hire replacements or temporary employees as often

Enhanced Reputation: Companies with less injury and less recorded damage to goods have better reputations and will acquire more clients.

What are the Federal Guidelines?

As per the OSHA guidelines for powered industrial truck operation, the following are the requirements for forklift operator training and certification. Forklift operators must…

  1. complete training and earn certification from employer in order to operate forklifts
  2. participate in and pass performance evaluation every 3 years
  3. finish a refresher course when the operator assigned to a new type of forklift, when the operator is involved in an accident or a near miss, when the operator has been observed to practice unsafe operation, or when the workplace environment changes


What Should be Included in Forklift Safety Training?

As an OSHA requirement, there must be three phases of training. These phases include formal instruction, practical training, and an evaluation.

According to Section 1910.178 of OSHA Standards, formal instruction should include topics that relate to both forklift truck operation and workplace environment conditions. Additionally, operators should receive instruction on the specific type of truck which they are authorized to operate.

The following includes the list of topics which should be covered in formal instruction:


Practical training gives training participants the opportunity to watch forklift operation demonstrations and to drive a forklift truck under direct supervision of a trained instructor. This training phase allows operators to put into practice the principles learned in the formal instruction training.

During the performance evaluation, training participants are evaluated both in a written evaluation and in an obstacle course demonstration to ensure an operator is competent to drive a forklift truck safely and is able to operate trucks in a workplace environment.

Delta Materials Handling offers an OSHA compliant Forklift Certification Safety Training Program. Special rates may be available for large classes of company attendees, training done at customer site or frequent users. For more information on Forklift Operator Safety Training, click here.


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