Table of Contents
Best Online Forklift Certification Programs of 2022
What is a Forklift?
A forklift is a type of powered industrial truck (PIT) that uses forks on a mast to lift, load, and unload heavy objects. Forklifts can be found in a variety of workplaces, including construction sites, warehouses, and factories. They are versatile vehicles that are very helpful, but they also come with a variety of hazards.
Why Do I Need Training to Operate a Forklift?
Training for driving a forklift is essential because forklifts do not maneuver or operate like any commercial vehicle you may have driven before. Consider the following true story:
An employee was operating a sit-down forklift for the first time. It was her first day of training, and her employer decided she knew enough to use the forklift by herself. She was confident that it was just like driving a car and agreed that she was ready. Not an hour later, she made a right turn and drove the forklift into a railing pole. The force of the turn pulled her from the vehicle, and her leg flew out of the cab. Her leg became pinned between the lift and railing, crushing and fracturing it.
As you can see from this story, the employee had not been adequately trained. She just assumed she knew everything there was to operating a forklift and ended up being injured as a result. Forklift training is absolutely necessary to avoid accidents that are otherwise easily preventable. Forklift safety training typically results in a wallet card certification that safety training has taken place. This is the case with the training offered here at Hard Hat Training as well. Browse our forklift safety training and certification (forklift license) course page to start training today.
Do I Need Certification to Operate a Forklift?
OSHA Requirements require all forklift operators to be at least 18 years old, and they must be certified to do so. Certification shows that you are qualified to operate a forklift and you understand all the hazards associated with them. Without the proper training, you put yourself and others at risk.
There are three simple, but important steps to becoming certified:
- Receive proper instruction through a course
- Receive hands-on training and pass a practical evaluation
- Receive certification upon completion of the course and training
Why Get Forklift Operator Certification?
It is important to get certified to operate a forklift because it is one of the best ways to keep yourself and others safe, and it is also required by law. As mentioned above, OSHA Requirements require forklift operators to be certified. Operating a forklift without proper certification can lead to being suspended from your workplace or losing your job.
Forklift Certification Cards
At the end of the course you take to become a certified forklift operator, you can receive a card showing you completed the course. This is usually a small plastic card that can fit in your wallet or pocket. Some workplaces may require you to carry this certification card with you at all times when operating a forklift; however, some may not. Make sure to check with your employer to know whether or not you need to carry your certification card with you when operating a forklift.
Where to Get Forklift Operator Training
There are many third-party retailers that offer forklift operator training and certification, but here at Hard Hat Training, we offer the best forklift certification training options. Our website catalog contains training for over a hundred different topics, including forklifts.
Wherever you get forklift training, though, it is always a good idea to find a quality source with reliable information. Our Quality Assurance team spends hours doing the research to assure you that you will get the most relevant and accurate information possible on forklift training.
How Long Does It Take to Learn to Drive a Forklift?
Ultimately, how long it takes to learn to drive a forklift will depend on where you get your certification and training. Our Hard Hat Training course for forklifts usually takes approximately 2-3 hours to complete, excluding the hands-on experience and practical evaluation necessary to become certified.
Most employers determine when you will be ready to drive a forklift after you become certified. This can take anywhere from one to two days following the course training.
Does Forklift Certification Certify Me to Drive All Forklift Types?
Unfortunately, all forklifts are different, and one forklift training course does not qualify you to drive any type of forklift. Some forklifts operate differently and require specific training that is not covered by another.
This is true even from one manufacturer of a forklift to another, as it varies from one type of forklift to another. If your workplace starts using a forklift from another manufacturer, you will be required to receive forklift training again that is specific for the new type of forklift.
Consider the differences in counterweight and traveling, for example, between a sit-down and a stand up forklift. These two types of forklifts are very different, and training will help you learn their center of gravity and load capacities. Without training to do so, you may accidentally overload the forklift and cause a tipover.
Is Operating a Forklift Like Operating a Car?
Operating a forklift is not the same as operating an everyday car. Most often, forklifts use rear-wheel steering, making it very different in how it moves and turns. Forklifts are also intended to move at slower speeds, since high speeds make it more likely to tip over or drop a load.
Components of a Forklift
There are many more controls and levers in a forklift that you need to know how to operate that are not found in an everyday car. There are three pedals: the accelerator, the brake, and the clutch. Some forklifts include an extra pedal for inching speeds when engaging and disengaging a load.
There are also levers in the cab to operate the forks, which move along a vertical mast. Because of these components, visibility while driving the forklift can be limited and make it dangerous to drive without the help of a spotter.
Do I Need a Driver’s License to Operate a Forklift?
Federal OSHA Requirements do not include a requirement stating that you need to have a driver’s license to operate a forklift. A certification card and a forklift operator license are terms that are often used interchangeably, but they have nothing to do with a commercial motor vehicle driver’s license.
Options for Forklift Certification Training
There are a few options available to you from our catalog when it comes to forklift certification training. Because there are different types of forklifts, it is important to know which one you will be operating in your workplace. Some forklift trainings we offer at Hard Hat Training include:
- Sit-Down Forklift
- Stand Up Forklift
- Walkie Stacker
These trainings cover both rough terrain and indoor variants of these forklifts. The method of training you wish to receive has some options available from our site as well.
Online Forklift Certification
We offer forklift certification training online, which is the most cost-effective option. It is also very manageable because it is self-paced and can be started and stopped at any time as needed. Online trainings can be taken anywhere and anytime but come with downsides, too, because there isn’t an instructor who can answer the questions you may have. If this is a must, then consider our onsite training option.
Some sort of practical evaluation and hands-on training will be necessary, even once the online training is complete. We have options to provide you with this here at Hard Hat Training. For more information, contact us on our website or speak with one of our customer service representatives.
Onsite Forklift Training
Onsite training is a great option if you want the opportunity to get some hands-on training and work with an instructor who can answer your questions. This is also a great option for you to be trained onsite with the forklift you will be using once you are certified.
One of our trainers can come to you, or if you are an employer, you can use the train-the-trainer module with our DIY training kit to learn and then teach your employees yourself.
Does Forklift Certification Expire?
Forklift certification does expire after a period of three years. Before this time is up, you can easily renew your certification by taking a refresher course, which helps reevaluate you as competent enough to continue operating a forklift.
There are certain circumstances that may demand you be reevaluated as competent enough to drive a forklift outside of the three year period as well. These circumstances include:
- You are involved in a forklift accident or near miss.
- You receive a poor evaluation or are observed driving in a dangerous manner.
- You are assigned to operate a different type of forklift from the type you were previously trained to use.