This is one of the most common questions. Operating forklifts does not require any special license. You just need to be trained and evaluated by your employer. In the USA, the operator must be at least 18 years old. The employer can designate a person to be a trainer, and that person can train and certify other employees to operate. Just make sure that you have your training records on file, so they can be shown to OSHA if you get a visit.
Let's take a closer look at the requirements.
Forklift Training Format
The regulations require that the forklift training consist of three elements: Formal instruction, hands on training, and performance evaluation.
Training shall consist of 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 performed by the trainee), and evaluation of the operator's performance in the workplace.
Authorized Forklift Trainer
The employer has the authority to designate a person to train and certify employees to operate forklifts. It is important that the trainer have the knowledge, training and experience. It is a good idea to document this designation in writing, with an explanation of why the employee was selected.
All operator training and evaluation shall be conducted by persons who have the knowledge, training, and experience to train powered industrial truck operators and evaluate their competence.
Forklift Training Content
The Powered Industrial Truck regulations include a complete list of the items that must be included in forklift training. Refer to the regulations to evaluate your training program.
We recommend the Forklift Operator Training DVD Compliance Kit.