Forklift training is mandatory for anyone desirous of becoming a forklift operator. Contrary to some perceived impressions, everyone cannot operate a forklift. In fact the skill is so important that the United States Federal court requires all operators be trained and authorized.
OSHA Federal regulation CFR1910.178 states: “Only trained and authorized operators shall be permitted to operate a powered industrial truck.” It could not be any clearer that not just anyone can come on a job and begin driving a forklift. It certainly is not unskilled labor.
Becoming Trained and Authorized
Training and authorization can be divided into two basic categories.
- Lift Truck Knowledge
- Operating Skills
Some instructors refer to these as classroom theory and practical application. Whichever descriptions are used the meaning is the same. All legitimate training centers should offer basic knowledge and hands-on experience.
The non-experienced industrial truck driver learns to appreciate the basic components of a forklift. Just as vital is a general understanding of the different types of forklifts and how they are powered. Therefore the types of forklifts, the operation of the forklift, forklift safety; maintenance, refueling, and forklift recharging are covered early on in the training course.
The different types of powered trucks are also explained, such as diesel powered, electric powered, gasoline powered, and LP-gas powered. Once the basics are explained the student will progress to the operating skills portion of the program which will provide hands-on experience in a variety of circumstances and situations. Especially important is to identify trainers who will provide hands-on experience on forklifts which require a sit down rider, on a counterbalanced truck.
Training Videos and DVDs
Forklift education has come a long way where modern technology is concerned. The industry has kept pace with the use of DVDs, CDs and the ever reliable VHS videotapes. As long as the producers of the training materials state their product is OSHA compliant, the material will be useful and up-to-date.
Individual videos and DVDs are sold as well as actual training kits which come supplied with other useful aides in addition to the video presentation. A typical kit might include the following:
- DVD or VHS videotape
- CD Rom
- Wallet ID Card
The price of the educational materials can vary greatly. Ranging from a low price of $89.95 to a high price of $417.50 there seems to be adequate supplies for any desired price target.
Online Training Classes
The Internet has made online training very commonplace. Websites now specialize in providing needed information in easy to understand presentations broken up with helpful reminders and quizzes throughout the lessons. Take for example an online course offered by the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) which helps prepare an employee for the actual test. This free online instruction is equipped with quick check screens and underlined keywords (in yellow) which enable the student to understand the practices and concepts related to working in the safest ways possible. Only after clicking on the correct answer to the multiple choice questions can a student progress through the program. Ability to return and review sections is an asset to retaining the information presented.
Price of Online Courses
Expect to pay on average $89.00 for a complete online training program including testing and certification. Shopping for comparison would be a good way to get the education needed at the most affordable prices.
The United Kingdom has made it easy for its citizens to get the best training possible by offering a list of accredited training courses, thus removing questionable training programs from consideration. Collaboration by the Consolidated Fork Truck Services and the British Industrial Truck Association has made the accreditation possible.
Outside the UK a company must be searched carefully if assurance of its reliability is to be obtained. OSHA has the model course that should be followed by any training facility and The Occupational Safety and Health Administration charges $89.00 for its program.
From start to finish learning how to identify specific health and safety hazards associated with operating a powered industrial truck will take roughly four hours. Once completed, the student can confidently show his credentials as a trained and authorized forklift operator.