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Is Forklift Certification Really Necessary in the US?

By Edited Apr 7, 2016 0 0

In the US, OSHA requires you to have forklift certification in order to become an operator. This mandatory law is in place not only to ensure your safety, but also to protect all others who will be within close contact of you as the driver. These credentials are easier to obtain than ever before thanks to technology and all of the possibilities that go along with it. The internet has now made training online a real possibility and within closer reach than ever imagined. In some cases, this can be done not only online over your personal computer, but also it can even be done over your cellular phone that is equipped with smart phone technology. Who would have guessed that? Because of these changes, individuals seeking training can actually get their studies completed while they are still working at another job or tending to other matters of attention.

Some people have arrived at the misguided conclusion that forklift certification is simply obtained by taking a test of some sort. This is not the case. This type of training entails many different areas of importance to study. However, employers are not required by OSHA to provide this service to future or current candidates. All potential employees are to obtain these credentials prior to being employed. They are to possess the skills necessary to demonstrate all aspects of previous study. They also must be able to model safety in the workplace or other type of hands on setting. This being said, the employer is required to concur that the employee does in fact possess these important skills to avoid a rather significant fine.

There are several different approaches toward the instruction itself. All of these mentioned may be combined or all separated at the discretion of the particular training agency. There may be a classroom discussion model where any topics can be covered ranging from safety, maintenance, and general operational issues and training. A test will be given to ensure the learner’s comprehension of the given material. Another approach may be the hands on approach. The student will be evaluated while utilizing the equipment or certain aspects of the machinery under carefully monitored personnel. The candidate will be evaluated for proper use of safety standards. The student will be given an operational test that will determine passing or failing standards.

Some of the major topics to be covered include, but are not limited to, the following; OSHA guidelines, maintenance, visibility, utilization, hazardous conditions and operation, uneven terrain, and instrumentation. All training is required with a passing grade in order to become an authorized operator.

The cost of forklift certification varies. Some online courses may be $49 while self paced courses may be around $300. Very few companies provide on site training as it is not a requirement as earlier stated, but those that do typically charge anywhere between $100 and $150. If you feel this is an option for you, do your research and find the best program that fits both your time and your budget. Because this testing is imperative, it must be done prior to even considering a career in heavy machinery. So the answer to the question originally addressed would be yes, this is a prerequisite required by law, therefore making it necessary. 

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