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OSHA Forklift Certification Requirements

forklift certification requirementsOSHA forklift certification requirements are designed to ensure worker safety in every professional setting. Failure to comply with OSHA’s regulations and your organization could be at risk of expensive penalties and fines. Beyond the financial ramifications, there’s also safety to consider; OSHA estimates that 70 percent of forklift accidents in the U.S. are preventable. 

What are OSHA Forklift Certification Requirements?

Forklifts require a specific set of skills for operation. Forklift certification requirements from the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) help ensure operators have the skills necessary to safely use this equipment. Before an employee begins using powered industrial trucks, including forklifts, they must be trained and certified to OSHA standards.

Employers are required to provide this training. Every three years, employers must also provide refresher training. This refresher course may also be necessary after operator changes or workplace accidents. By keeping employees updated on operational requirements, managers help maintain compliance with OSHA regulations.

OSHA forklift certification requirements are simple:

  • Must be at least 18 years old
  • New operators must complete forklift training and become officially certified
  • Certifications must be updated every three years with additional training programs
  • Forklift operators must carry proof of their certification
  • Must be certified to operate the specific class vehicle
  • Trainees can only operate forklifts under direct supervision of certified employees

For additional guidance on OSHA forklift certification requirements, see the official OSHA website.

Get Certified TodayHow to Meet OSHA Forklift License Requirements

OSHA forklift training requirements are fairly straightforward. Aspiring forklift operators must complete training, take an exam, and then pass an in-person driving test. When it comes to actually complete these training requirements, you’ve got a couple of options from which to choose:

In-Person Training

Send your aspiring forklift operators to in-person training, where they’ll receive the traditional classroom learning experience. While often expensive and time-consuming, such training programs fulfill forklift operator training requirements in one fell swoop. 

In-House and Online Training

Many companies are opting to provide in-house training to meet OSHA forklift certification requirements. Our Train the Trainer course is a great way to educate a dedicated employee on the hands-on assessment portion of the certification process. Why spend extra time and money sending employees to an in-person training when you can educate them in-house instead? OSHA requires a hands-on assessment after the training course is completed. It can be conducted by any experienced lift operator you have on site. 

When combined with our online curriculum that can be accessed 24 hours a day, this option proves more affordable and more convenient than traditional in-person learning. It’s less stressful than classroom learning and participants can take the final exam as many times as they need to. In-house training is a great way to ensure your entire team is OSHA-compliant. 

The Dangers of Operating a Forklift Without Certification

Forklifts are incredibly powerful. When used improperly by untrained workers, they can be downright dangerous. According to OSHA, forklifts are a leading cause of workplace injuries and fatalities. Based on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there were 79 fatal forklift accidents in the United States in 2019. In addition to fatal accidents, there were also approximately 8,140 nonfatal forklift accidents that same year. 

While statistics can vary from one year to the next, these numbers demonstrate just how dangerous it can be to operate forklifts without OSHA forklift certification. These incidents are incredibly costly in terms of human suffering, but they can also have far-reaching financial ramifications. OSHA reports that the direct costs of a forklift accident can run between $30,000 and $50,000. Property damage, equipment repair or replacement, medical bills, workers’ compensation claims, and legal fees add up fast.

Getting certified to operate a forklift is the best way to prevent accidents. Certification courses typically only take a few days to complete, but they can make a world of difference when it comes to safety. If you’re an employer, make sure that all of your forklift operators are properly trained and certified. And if you’re an individual who wants to operate a forklift, make sure you get the training you need before getting behind the wheel. It could save your life or the life of someone else.

OSHA Forklift Training Requirements FAQ

You may have questions about forklift license requirements and similar topics. Read our FAQ below to get the insights you need to learn about all aspects of forklift certification.

How Often Does OSHA Require Forklift Recertification?

Forklift certification requirements dictate that all operators be trained and certified before starting work. This involves a written test and a skills test where the operator must demonstrate their knowledge of safe forklift operation. The certification must be renewed every three years.

What are the Consequences of Not Following OSHA Forklift Certification Requirements?

According to OSHA under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, any employer who willfully or repeatedly violates any standard or rule described in this Act, including not meeting forklift certification requirements, may be penalized with a fine of not more than $70,000 for each violation, and not less than $5,000 for each violation.

What are the Benefits of Following Forklift Certification Requirements?

In short, it means you’re OSHA compliant. Once you have your OSHA forklift certification card  and follow proper certification requirements, the benefits include:

  • Safe Work Environment: Trained forklift operators can take the necessary precautions to guard against accidents, injuries, and fatalities.
  • No Compliance Penalties: OSHA-compliant forklift operators are licensed to use a lift. This means you won’t have to worry about OSHA penalties otherwise caused by letting unauthorized workers operate lifts.
  • Increased Productivity: Since trained forklift operators know the ins and outs of how to use a lift, they can perform everyday tasks correctly. The result: your business can boost its productivity.

What Does it Mean to be an OSHA-Certified Forklift Operator?

OSHA compliance is a must for any business that hires workers that use forklifts every day. By completing OSHA-compliant training, workers can receive insights on how to safely operate different types of forklifts. The training verifies that forklift operators know exactly what to do to maintain a safe, productive work environment.

What Will Happen if Workers Operate a Forklift Without a License?

Businesses that let workers operate a forklift without a license can put operations, their employees, and their customers in danger. Unlicensed forklift operators are susceptible to mistakes that lead to accidents. If a forklift accident occurs, it can lead to equipment damage, injuries, or fatalities. When the accident involves an unlicensed forklift operator, it can lead to OSHA penalties, too.

Is it Worthwhile to Enroll My Entire Staff in Forklift Certification Training?

Your goal is to maintain workplace safety. To accomplish your goal, it can be beneficial to enroll all of your workers in OSHA-compliant forklift certification training. Workers can use the training to improve safety across your work environment. Over time, they can help your business avoid forklift accidents and optimize its productivity.

Get Help Meeting Forklift Training Requirements offers comprehensive online resources that meet all OSHA forklift training requirements, including recertification training for workers who need to update their certification. Whether you’re an individual seeking certification for a new job or a manager looking to certify your team, has a range of options to help you meet OSHA standards

If you have any questions or are ready to become OSHA-compliant, don’t hesitate to contact Our experts can be reached at 1-888-699-4800, and we’re ready to help you with all of your forklift certification needs. Don’t delay in prioritizing workplace safety – get started with today.

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