Forklift Drivers – Skills They Have and Benefits of OSHA Certification

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Forklifts are one of the most useful machines when it comes to moving heavy loads, loading up vehicles, airplanes or transporting heavy materials such as concrete through a construction field. They are certainly a tool we cannot live without in this modern world. The name of this machine came from the fork-like attachment upfront that can either be raised or lowered and be inserted under a cargo so it can lift it.

They are either powered by a combustion engine similar to what you would find in a regular gas or diesel-powered car or by an electric engine and battery. Consider how well has battery technology developed in these last few years, it is more and more common to see it implemented into forklifts. Most forklifts can be used by a single operator who sits inside of the cabin and can control the wheels, the acceleration and extend, retract or adjust the fork’s height.

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While all of this may seem like it is easy to learn and control, there are several dangers that can arise from driving around a forklift. If you have a regular driving license for vehicles such as a bike, car or a truck, that does not mean you are qualified to operate a forklift. You will need to have certain skills to be able to control such a tool.

Maneuvering a forklift is not the same as maneuvering a regular car. It has a much tighter turn radius in the front, but the wide back has a very wide swing which might be dangerous. This is why most drivers for these kinds of machines need to have the proper skill to spot if anyone is near or around while maneuvering. Most machinists may also use a spotter who can direct and give affirmation that there is enough clearance around the forklift. Without the proper skill, there is a good chance that someone might damage property or even harm someone by operating a forklift.

Workers must also have skills in reverse driving. Driving a forklift can have a lot of blind spots, so an experienced and skilled driver must know about all about these before entering the cabin. Without the right knowledge, a person might endanger the safety of others.

Since forklifts are mostly used for picking up and carrying very heavy loads, there are a lot of factors that need to be considered when it comes to stability. Any sudden movements, slips or bumps can cause the expensive load to fall and be seriously damaged. It may also pose a risk to workers or pedestrians’ health around the forklift. The heavier and taller the load, the more unstable and careful the driver must be. This is a skill that needs to be taught and learned through on-site experience.


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Forklift drivers are skilled more than just in creating a safe environment at the workspace. An experienced worker also has the ability to finish work at a much faster and effective rate than someone who has much less experience with forklifts. By working safely and efficiently, a good forklift driver can save a company thousands or even ten thousands of dollars when it comes to property damage or health hazards.

OSHA certification

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For workers to be properly trained and educated in safety around the work environment, it is best that they earn their OSHA certification. Occupational Safety and Health Administration or OSHA has been used for more than 50 years to train people for proper safety in the workspace. It provides workers and companies the knowledge to properly understand safe health practices and to avoid all types of hazards that are possible while on the job.

According to, you must have an OSHA forklift operation certification if you want to operate a forklift while at work.

There is also the option for workers to individually enter online OSHA training which is a more cost-effective way for a company to ensure that their workers and work environment will meet all OSHA standards. This way a company can avoid being fined huge sums of money because of the various possible safety hazard inspections that can happen at any time or place.

Without the right OSHA training, workers are putting themselves and their fellow co-workers at a much higher risk of a life-threating injury or even death. Both the workers and companies can benefit from such OSHA certificates.

There are a couple of OSHA safety courses available. One offers extensive information about safety hazards and requires somewhere around 30 hours to finish the course, the second one is around 10 hours and is for entry-level workers. Finally is the general safety training that should be done by anyone that plans to work in an environment that has possible safety hazards.

The OSHA training for general safety can teach workers about safety training, the basics of first aid, fire protection and more. With this course you can also learn everything there is about handling electricity hazards safely, protection from fall, Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response (HAZWOPER) and more. The lessons in the course do not have to be as generic though, they can be easily tailored to a company’s or worker’s needs.

Benefits of OSHA training

If you are still wondering why you should get an OSHA certificate for yourself or for your workers (if you own or manage a company), there are still some benefits you can get from such training.

While OSHA is completely optional, it can be a great way to improve your online resume, because this type of skills are what every company needs. Most employers will first list through every candidate that has such a certificate and then will start considering the ones that do not.

More opportunities

By taking up OSHA courses to earn your certificate, you will probably start getting a lot more offers for work in other companies. A company that offers jobs in more hazardous environments always appreciates workers who have the proper safety training. Proving that you have a good skill controlling and driving a forklift and that you have safety awareness can go a long way.