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Forklift Safety Training

Forklift training is very important for workers operating powered industrial trucks or forklifts. There are approximately 100 fatalities and over 36,000 serious injuries that occur on or around forklifts every year.

Proper forklift training and certification can not only help save a workers life and prevent serious injury, it also increases the average income for the certificate holder when compared to those that do not have proper training and certification.

This online forklift safety course is designed for those individuals operating fork trucks, platform lift trucks, motorized hand trucks, and other specialized industrial trucks powered by electric motors or internal combustion engines.  These vehicles are powerful pieces of machinery and OSHA requires each operator to be properly trained in their safe operation.

This course has been developed from the OSHA standard for forklift safety, 29 CFR 1910.178.  Upon completion, you will receive a forklift training certificate listing the OSHA standard covered.  The 100% online course is completely self-paced, fully narrated with photos, video, interactivity, and testing.  It is packed with valuable information and is designed to maximize your retention of that information.

Please note: This course does not provide a license to operate a forklift, this would necessitate physical, hands-on instruction.  This course is designed to provide an understanding of forklift safety, based on the OSHA standard.

Did you know that OSHA requires a competent person be present on every job site?  If you are a supervisor or would like to get forklift training that includes the duties and responsibilities of a competent person on a forklift job site, we also offer a Forklift Safety for the Competent Person Course.

Course Details

This course is approximately 3 hours in length, with an exam at the end, and is completed entirely online. Once you pass the exam with a score of 70% or better, you can print your personalized certificate right from your computer, or download it as a PDF.

This self-paced course is fully narrated and packed with photos, video, interactivity, links to related content, and downloadable material.

Topics Covered Include

  • Definitions
  • Classifications
  • Components
  • Maintenance
  • Inspection
  • Controls and Instrumentation
  • Visibility
  • Designations
  • Hazard Identification
  • Responsibilities
  • OSHA Inspection
  • Engine Operation
  • Operating Limitations
  • Much more!

Why etraintoday.com?

Employee Progress Tracking

Employee Progress Tracking

Our customized progress tracking software will automatically provide up to date information on where your employees are within a course.

Mobile Delivery

Mobile Delivery

We believe that training should be delivered where and when the customer needs it. That’s why, in addition to standard computer access, our courses can also be taken on tablets and smart phones.



A well-designed and thought out course increases student engagement and retention. The quality of the content and delivery of our online training is second to none.



The owners of etraintoday.com have over 25 years of experience delivering high caliber training in the safety field, certifying many thousands of students.

Ease of Use

Ease of Use

You don’t have to be a computer whiz to take our training! We’ve made enrollment and course access as easy as possible, so that you can quickly get to what’s important – the training.

Customer Service

Customer Service

It is important to us that our customers get any questions or issues answered quickly. We guarantee that our staff will be accessible and responsive, whether by phone or email.

How do I get my forklift license?

In the United States, operating a forklift does not require a traditional "license" like a driver's license for cars, but OSHA does require that forklift operators receive proper forklift certification training. This certification ensures that operators have received the necessary training to operate forklifts safely and are familiar with OSHA regulations concerning forklift operation.

What are OSHAs forklift training requirements for forklift operators?

Training and Evaluation: OSHA requires employers to develop a forklift operator training program specific to the type of forklift to be operated and the conditions of the workplace. The forklift training program must consist of a combination of formal instruction (e.g., lectures, videos, written materials), practical training (demonstrations and exercises), and an evaluation of the operator's performance in the workplace.

Certification: After successfully completing forklift training and evaluation, the employer must certify that each operator has received the training and evaluate each operator at least once every three years. The certification must include the operator's name, the training date, the evaluation date, and the identity of the person(s) performing the training or evaluation.

Operator Age: Operators must be at least 18 years old to operate a forklift in a non-agricultural setting.

What does a forklift operator do?

A forklift certified operator manages and operates forklifts to load, unload, transport, and stack materials within settings like warehouses and construction sites. They play a key role in logistics and supply chain operations, ensuring efficient material handling.

Main Duties Include:

Loading and Unloading: Safely loading and unloading goods from vehicles, ensuring secure and efficient handling to minimize damage.
Stacking and Retrieving: Organizing goods in storage bays and retrieving them as needed, often using high-reach forklifts for materials stored at height.
Supplying Production Lines: Providing materials to maintain continuous operation in manufacturing settings and managing finished goods storage.

Safety and Maintenance:
Operators perform pre-operational equipment checks, adhere to safety protocols, and maintain cleanliness to ensure a safe working environment. They must be trained and certified according to OSHA standards, demonstrating skills like attention to detail and spatial awareness.

Additional Responsibilities:
Forklift certified operators may also engage in inventory management tasks and general warehouse duties. Their role demands physical fitness and the ability to navigate tight spaces safely, contributing significantly to the productivity and safety of the operation.

Does OSHA require training to operate an electric pallet jack?

Yes, OSHA requires training for operators of powered industrial trucks, which includes electric pallet jacks. According to OSHA standards (specifically, 29 CFR 1910.178(l)), employers must ensure that each operator is competent to operate a powered industrial truck safely, as demonstrated by the successful completion of training and evaluation. The training must cover both general principles of safe operation and the specific type of equipment the operator will use, in this case, electric pallet jacks.

The training program must include a combination of formal instruction (e.g., lecture, discussion, interactive computer learning, video tape, written material), practical training (demonstrations performed by the trainer and practical exercises by the trainee), and evaluation of the operator's performance in the workplace. Topics must cover vehicle operation, load handling, vehicle maintenance, and understanding the workplace environment where the electric pallet jack will be used.

After initial training, operators must be evaluated at least once every three years, and refresher training is required in certain situations, such as the operator being involved in an accident or a near-miss incident, demonstrating unsafe operation, or when there are changes in the workplace or type of vehicle that affect operational safety. This ensures that electric pallet jack operators are always equipped with the necessary knowledge and skills to operate these vehicles safely and efficiently.

How long does a forklift certification last?

Forklift certification under OSHA regulations is valid for three years from the date of the initial or most recent evaluation. After this period, operators must undergo a refresher training course and evaluation to renew their certification. Additionally, retraining may be required sooner if the operator is involved in an accident or near-miss incident, is observed operating the forklift unsafely, the workplace conditions change in a way that affects safe operation, or if the operator is assigned to use a different type of forklift. The aim is to ensure that all forklift operators maintain their skills up to date and adhere to the latest forklift safety standards, contributing to a safer workplace environment.

What is the difference between a forklift and a Hi-Lo?

A forklift is a versatile vehicle designed to lift and transport materials, and the term "hi-lo" refers to a specific subset of forklifts distinguished by their unique control mechanisms and design features. Unlike traditional forklifts, which are operated using a conventional steering wheel, hi-los are equipped with a joystick-like control for navigation, offering a different user experience. Additionally, hi-los are characterized by their raised platforms, allowing operators to stand while maneuvering the truck. This design is particularly beneficial in industrial and warehouse settings, enabling the efficient movement of heavy objects at various heights. By eliminating the need for ladders or precarious standing positions, hi-los enhance workplace safety and productivity by facilitating the secure lifting and transportation of goods.

How many different types of forklift are there?

There are several types of forklifts, each designed for specific tasks and environments. While the exact number can vary depending on how one categorizes them, here are nine common types:

1. Counterbalance Forklifts: The most common type, with forks at the front and a counterweight at the back to balance loads.
2. Reach Trucks: Designed for warehouse operations, these have two outer legs that distribute the load weight, with a reaching mechanism to extend into racking.
3. Pallet Jacks (Pallet Trucks): Manual or powered, these are used for moving pallets over short distances.
4. Order Pickers: Tailored for warehouse use, allowing the operator to be lifted with the forks to pick items from shelves.
5. Sideloaders: Ideal for handling long or awkward loads, these forklifts carry the load at the side.
6. Telehandlers (Telescopic Handler): With a boom and extendable arm, these are used for higher lifting and reaching capabilities, often in construction and agriculture.
7. Rough Terrain Forklifts: Designed for uneven surfaces with pneumatic tires, suitable for outdoor construction sites.
8. Electric Forklifts: Battery-powered and used indoors for their lack of emissions and reduced noise.
9. Stackers: Used in small warehouses or retail spaces for stacking and moving pallets.

Each type is tailored to specific requirements, such as load capacity, maneuverability, and the ability to operate in different environments, from tight warehouse spaces to outdoor construction sites.

What is the most popular type of forklift?

The most popular type of forklift is the counterbalance forklift. It is widely used across various industries due to its versatility and straightforward design. Counterbalance forklifts have forks at the front and a counterweight in the back, allowing them to lift and transport heavy loads directly in front of them. This design enables the operator to drive up to the load without the need for extended arms or other mechanisms, making it suitable for a wide range of lifting tasks.

How much money can a forklift operator earn?

The salary of a forklift operator can vary widely depending on several factors including the operator's experience, the industry, geographical location, and the specific employer. In the United States, the average hourly wage for forklift operators typically ranges from approximately $15 to $20. However, experienced operators working in high-demand industries or regions with higher living costs could earn more, sometimes exceeding $25 per hour.

Annual salaries could range from around $31,000 to over $52,000 for more experienced operators, with the median annual wage being in the vicinity of $36,000 to $40,000. It's important to note that these figures are general estimates and actual earnings can vary. Additionally, forklift operators who work overtime hours may significantly increase their total earnings, as overtime pay is typically higher than the regular hourly rate.


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