Forklift Training — Develop an In-House Program

Mark Stromme, Sr. EHS Editor

April 3, 2023

So, you want to train your forklift operators in-house, instead of sending them out to the expensive third-party training facility. How would you go about setting up an in-house program? First, you need to understand OSHA’s forklift training regulation (at 1910.178(l)). A very important part of the regulation addresses who can train employees.

OSHA states that all operator training and evaluation must be conducted by persons who have the “knowledge, training, and experience” to train operators and evaluate their competence. The standard doesn’t go into more detail. It’s up to the employer to ensure trainers meet these general qualifications, but OSHA has no requirements for trainers to take certain classes, hold any sort of certifications, or be re-certified as trainers at specified intervals.

The only aspect of this that OSHA has clarified is that the trainer does need to have experience operating the equipment. An OSHA letter of interpretation (dated 7/23/03) says that the trainer will only have sufficient “experience” if they have the practical skills and judgment to be able to operate the equipment.

For example, if the employer uses certain truck attachments and the trainer has never operated a truck with those attachments, the trainer wouldn’t have the experience necessary to train and evaluate others on the safe use of those attachments. However, the standard doesn’t require the trainers operate a forklift regularly (i.e., outside of their operator training duties) as part of their job function or responsibility.

Talk with a Compliance Specialist today at 833-982-1236

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