Getting trained and certified in forklift operation is essential to keep the workplace safe. But how often do we need to be trained and is annual forklift training required?
The answer to that question is No. The annual forklift is not required. However, regular training can be part of the safety procedure of the company. The frequency of training will be in the sole discretion of the employer. Of course, the more frequent, the better it is for the workers.
OSHA does also require the forklift operator performance be evaluated at least once every three years. The employer must ensure that the operators to be competent prior to driving the forklift in the workplace by evaluating their performance.
It is now in the shoulder of the employer the provision of the forklift training. The employer is the one who is responsible for the training and certification that also includes evaluation of their workers. This is to ensure that the forklift operators are competent and knowledgeable enough to their jobs safely.
There comes a time when you need to supply refresher training. Here are the circumstances when you need to conduct a refresher course:
- When operators are observed to be operating the powered industrial truck in an unsafe manner. There could be some unruly operators who do not follow the safety procedures. Horse playing, texting while driving, listing to music with headphones in the ear while operating are common violations. If you found your workers doing these violations, send them for retraining and reprimand them. Make them realize that operating a powered industrial truck need full attention and need strong focus when operating the truck.
- When the operators are involved in an accident such as a property damage incident or near-miss accident. The supervisor must make a report about the incident and suggest a recommendation so that such an accident can be prevented in the future. Workers who are involved must be retrained immediately to make them realized of the mistake that transpired that lead to the accident.
- When the forklift operator received a poor performance evaluation. You cannot certify an individual with poor performance and if he failed the written and practical tests. To help the operator cope up with their mistake, you can tell them to retake the course.
- When there’s deficiency in the safe operation of the forklift. One of the conditions you need to send the operator for retraining is when you found the operators showing an inability to operate the forklift and when they perform poorly during periodic evaluation.
- When there are changes in the workplace setting. Workplace setting can change anytime because goods and merchandise come and go or when there’s a lot of pedestrian working in the same location. If the business is in full swing and when there are a lot of materials in the warehouse constricting the forklift operation, retraining should be given to the workers.
- When the forklift operator is assigned to a new work location. One of the responsibilities of the employer to their new hires is giving them a workplace-specific training. The operators must be familiar with the current workplace setting. They must know the corners, stops, and exits of the workplace. They should know how confined the workplace is for maneuvering. They must know how pedestrian moves from place to place.
- When the operators are assigned to operate a different type of truck they are not accustomed to operating. – Let’s say for an example, an operator who is familiar operating a counterbalance but not trained to operate an order picker, he must be certified first to operate the order picker. He should know the controls, location and function of the engine, the steering and maneuvering of the truck, refueling/recharging of the machine, and the truck’s specific inspection and preventive maintenance.
- Formal instruction or classroom training. There are many methods you can use to deliver the classroom lectures. Nowadays, computer-aid instruction is becoming popular. You can use this method for better delivery of knowledge. Discussion and dialogue can also be given inside the classroom, it is one of the effective means to make the forklift operators participate in the lecture. Videos and powerpoint presentations can also be an effective way of giving lectures. Reading materials and handouts can be given to students for their reference of what they have learned during the lecture. This formal lecture or training doesn’t have to be conducted inside the classroom. It can be given in a place where operators can converge to take this formal instruction lectures.
- Practical training covers actual operating demonstration of the forklift in a workplace-simulated or in the actual workplace environment. It is performed by the instructor and the exercises performed by the students. You will spend most of your time doing the practical training. The instructor may perform different exercises, from basic to complex ones, the trainee must follow the exercises.
- The operator’s evaluation covers not only his ability to handle the truck safely in the workplace (practical test), but it also includes measurement knowledge acquired from the training (written exam). The trainee must pass both tests in order to get certified.
Is annual forklift training required? We always receive a question like this. It may sound simple, but if you dig deeper for the answer, you may learn more.
The annual forklift training may not be required, but OSHA has mandated that the frequency of retraining must be done at least every three (3) years.
The employers and managers must ensure that their workers are thoroughly evaluated in order for them to get certified. It is the obligation of the employer to supply such training. The operators can take the training inside the company premise or they can be sent to take the training in the school that offers such a course. The former option is more desirable than the latter mainly because the trainer can alter the curriculum so that it matches with the current workplace setup and behavior of the workers.