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Safety: Vehicle Safety

An online resource for OSHA’s Forklift training?

What sawmill doesn’t utilize a variety of powered industrial trucks? They’re part and parcel to daily operations and a commonplace site at every facility. But there’s nothing commonplace or ‘run-of-the-mill’ when forklift safety is at issue.

Most everyone knows the general rules of thumb when it comes to forklift operation and safety:

  • Before using a forklift, examine it for hazardous conditions which would make it unsafe to operate.
  • Wear a seatbelt and drive safely; never exceeding 5 mph; slowdown and use caution in congested areas.
  • Operators must be at least 18 years of age.
  • Covers and/or guardrails must be provided to protect operators and all workers from open pits, tanks, vats, ditches and other workplace hazards.

And you also know that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), mandates that employers provide OSHA compliant training to employees, temporary or permanent, assigned to operating a forklift. But did you know there is an online resource,, that can assist with OSHA compliance efforts regarding forklift certification and training?

OSHA forklift training requires:

  • Formal instruction – lecture, written material, interactive computer learning, discussion – conducted by a certified trainer.
  • Practical training consisting of demos by the instructor and exercises practiced by the trainee. Training needs to be specific to the workplace and to the type of equipment that the trainee will actually be using, in addition to being compliant with OSHA forklift certification requirements.
  • Evaluation of the trainee’s knowledge of and performance in two specific categories.
    1. The specific equipment: The differences between the powered industrial vehicle and a car, the capacity and stability of the forklift, how to refuel and/or charge the batteries, operating the engine or motor, maneuvering the vehicle around the workplace, vehicle inspection and maintenance, location and operation of controls, limitations of the vehicle, etc.
    2. The workplace environment: The characteristics of the surface/floor that the vehicle will be used on, the composition and stability of the types of loads that will be transported, stacking and unstacking of loads, the nature of the expected pedestrian traffic, the layout and widths of aisles, hazardous environmental conditions, etc.
  • Refresher training conducted whenever an operator has been observed operating the vehicle in an unsafe manner or has been involved in an accident. Plus, each operator’s performance should be re-evaluated, even if incident free, at least once every three years.

Bottom Line: It’s the employers’ responsibility to comply with OSHA’s workplace and wellness standards. ( And modern technology can assist in that effort. To learn more about online OSHA compliant training, visit