Safety Month: Forklift Safety

June is Safety Month in North America, and to raise awareness for workplace safety, Refresh Leadership will be highlighting five areas of focus for organizations in all industries. For the third week of Safety Month, we are covering forklift safety.

Safety Month: Forklift Safety

Forklift related injuries are more costly than other injuries. An Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) study in the U.S. determined about 25% of all forklift related injuries are related to inadequate training.

Forklift Requirements

The Powered Industrial Truck (PIT) standard covers not only forklifts, but powered pallet jacks and other ride-on material handling equipment. The standard has two requirements before certification—formal instruction and practical training and evaluation. Practical training and evaluation must be performed on the specific equipment being used. Thus, practical training and evaluation should always be completed by a competent forklift trainer with intimate knowledge of the job site and access to a forklift similar to those used at the work site. Certification will always be site- and equipment-specific, as a forklift certification is not a license to operate in every environment, on every machine.

What are your options?
It’s important to not place inexperienced forklift operators or operators of powered pallet jacks and similar equipment, unless your company commits to spending the time to properly train, evaluate, and certify this person. It’s best to commit to providing all training, and here are some options:

Third-party trainers, like technical and vocational schools or safety companies:

  • The safest way to ensure training is done properly and certification is completed is to find a third-party organization in your area that specializes in certification.
  • The third-party will need to discuss details of the work environment with the client and perform the practical training and evaluation on a similar piece of equipment.
  • Third-party training is often more thorough than client training.
  • Even if provided by a third-party off-site, remember this will still be a site- and equipment-specific certification.

Online courses available:

  • Use an online course on that fits your needs.
  • Then, give practical training associated with your site and specific forklift and evaluate the operator at the worksite.

Remember, powered industrial truck certification always requires a date and signature that certifies evaluation of the operator on the same type of forklift in similar conditions, as well as formal training.

Stay tuned for next week’s article where we will shine a light on Slips, Trips, and Falls!

What does your company do to raise awareness to safe procedures in the workplace? Let us know in the comments section below!


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