The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) sets and enforces standards to make sure we all work in safe and healthful conditions. There are significant consequences and fines for breaking OSHA’s rules, so it’s important to know what is required to remain compliant. 

OSHA’s website is the best place for information, and it’s loaded with it. To help you out, here are answers to commonly asked questions about operating a forklift and forklift operator safety training.   

How old do you need to be to drive a forklift? 

You must be 18-years old to drive a forklift for non-agricultural operations. 

Do forklift operators need a valid state driver’s license? 

No. The only OSHA requirement is that operators are trained and certified to drive the specific type of forklift used in the workplace.  

Do forklift operators need training every year?  

No. Annual training is not needed unless there is an accident or other unsafe incidents, the forklift operator receives a poor evaluation, or if there are changes to the work environment or the type of forklift used. 

How often do forklift operators need recertification? 

OSHA requires an evaluation of every forklift operator at least once every three years. 

Do forklift operators need to be trained every time they drive a new lift truck? 

It depends. If your operator is certified to drive a 3-wheel electric forklift and you replace it with a newer model, they do not need recertification. However, if you add an entirely new type of forklift to your fleet, for example, an Order Picker or Reach Truck, your forklift operator needs to be trained on the new type of forklift before they use it. 

We only use small hand pallet jacks. Do our employees need to be OSHA certified to use them? 

Yes. Hand pallet jacks may look small and harmless, but any industrial truck is powerful and dangerous. 

We use golf carts to get around our facility. Do our employees need OSHA certification to drive them? 

No. OSHA does not regulate golf carts, but you are still required to maintain a safe workplace, which includes training your operators to drive a golf cart safely. We suggest you refer to the manufacturer’s operating instructions for proper use instructions.  

Do you provide forklift operator safety training? 

Yes, we do. Our program utilizes the SAFE-Lift training developed by experts at Toyota. Click here for a list of training dates at our location in Santa Fe Springs.  

We also offer Train-the-Trainer courses, refresher courses, and group classes at your location.  

What do you include in your training? 

Our three-hour forklift operator safety training includes classroom and hands-on instruction by Toyota-certified trainers. Every attendee receives a certificate, wallet-sized operator certification card, training booklets, and comprehensive testing. 

Make sure you’re OSHA compliant and that you check OSHA’s website often for the latest rules and regulations. It’s an essential factor in a workplace safety program and to protect your employees and your bottom line.   

Do you have questions we haven’t addressed? Contact us for answers!