Forklift safety training programs are designed for first-time forklift operators and prepare the trainee for operating a forklift in different types of settings. These structured training programs are designed based on OSHA safety guidelines and Federal guidelines for operating construction equipment. If you are interested in a career as a forklift driver or forklift operator, you will need to take at least one OSHA-approved forklift training program and several different types of forklift courses. A forklift course typically includes a written test or a series of quizzes and exams, as well as a hands-on performance test.

Forklift Course Programs

Many forklift courses are hands-on classes and provide students with the advanced knowledge and skills they need to operate a forklift safely. Some forklift course programs can be taken online, but students will still need to complete a hands-on portion at an approved facility. Some forklift courses are very specialized and designed to train students how to operate a forklift made by a particular manufacturer or company. Others are more general and teach students skills that can be applied to all types of forklifts and construction equipment.

The primary goals of a forklift course program and forklift training are to:

  • Build the student's confidence in operating a forklift
  • Give students a chance to operate a forklift on different types of terrain
  • Provide students with basic knowledge about OSHA safety guidelines and regulations
  • Give students the opportunity to operate a forklift under the supervision of a manager or trainer
  • Enable students to complete an official forklift inspection check list
  • Give students the knowledge they need to perform safety checks and detect operational problems of a forklift

Types of Forklift Courses

Most forklift training programs are very similar in scope but some training centers and organizations offer some advanced or specialized courses in their field. Most forklift courses focus on forklift operation and safety, but some are designed to train students about all the different parts of a forklift. Other key concepts covered in a forklift course include: warehouse safety and operations; carbon monoxide dangers; safety on electrical pallet jacks; walkie stacker jacks; and articulating booms and scissor lifts.

Some of the most common types of forklift courses required to complete forklift safety training include:

  • Components of the Lift Truck
  • Fork Lift Physics
  • Lift Truck Safety
  • Basic Forklift Operation
  • Forklift Maintenance Protocol
  • Forklift Refueling and Recharging Requirements
  • Hazard Communication on the Work Site
  • Personal Protection Equipment
  • Emergency Situations

Completing Forklift Courses Online

If a student doesn't live near a facility that offers a forklift training program, they may be able to take some forklift courses online. Online forklift training courses typically include video tutorials, simulations, as well as online tests and quizzes. It's important for any student to look for OSHA-certified courses when searching for an online training program. Even though most of the training program offered online will be similar to an offline program, the student may be able to take specialized courses online. These include:

  • Pedestrian Safety Training
  • Propane Cylinder Exchange Training
  • Skid Steer Certification
  • Lockout Tagout
  • Aerial Platform and Manlift Operations

Students who successfully complete all required forklift courses may be eligible to receive forklift safety certification or a forklift operator license. Certification requirements vary by employer, and many employers are the ones responsible for providing forklift training at their work site. Students who decide to enroll in a forklift course independently need to make sure that the forklift training program is OSHA-approved and is being offered by a reputable organization.