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How Often Must Forklift Operators Be Trained

How Often Must Forklift Operators Be Trained
05 Aug 2014 Comments Joyce Schwob

Most people understand OSHA's requirement that drivers receive appropriate instruction before being allowed to operate a company's forklift - but many get confused when it comes to refresher training and performance evaluations.


Refresher training in relevant topics needs to be done when an operator:

  • has been observed to operate the vehicle in an unsafe manner
  • has been involved in an accident or near-miss incident
  • has received a workplace evaluation that reveals the operator is not operating the truck safely
  • is assigned to a different type of truck
  • Or when workplace conditions change in a way that could affect safe operation of the truck. Some examples would include; if a new racking layout has been installed, new loading methods are adopted or there is a change in traffic flow.


Performance Evaluations need to be done at least once every 3 Years

An evaluation of the forklift operator’s performance must be conducted every three years. Should the evaluation reveal any unsafe behaviors, it will be necessary for the operator to receive refresher training, as mentioned earlier.


Refresher Training Every Three Years?

While most forklift trainers agree that operators benefit greatly from refresher training every 3 years, OSHA does provide for "Avoidance of duplicative training" They state that if an operator has previously received training and that training is appropriate to the truck and current working conditions AND the operator has been evaluated and found competent to operate the truck safely, additional training in that topic is not required. That means that for operators who work safely and have had no accidents or incidents, a performance evaluation is all that the law requires.


However, if your concern is for safety and not just the letter of the law, we recommend the practice to bring safety issues to forklift drivers in group settings on a regular basis. Gathering the group once every three years to review safe operating procedures, watch a video and encourage discussion carries loads of benefits (pun intended). You can never be too safe or too prepared.


Save 20% on any safety training class fee. Class must scheduled by August 30th 2014 and held before 12/15/2014.


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