A fork lift is a practical commercial vehicle used to carry and transfer heavy materials. These are especially useful in companies where heavy parcels placed on palettes are often stored, sorted and moved about before they get to their final destinations. This precarious vehicle requires trained drivers to manipulate its massive bulk. In fact, employers who use this vehicle must comply with the OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) to have their forklift operators certified before they can ever get on the machine.
The following steps below describe procedures that you undergo for you or for your fork lift user to use that machine for the company’s benefit:
- Minimum requirements. A forklift driver must be at least 18 years old at time of certification. Regardless of gender, the candidate must be an employee of the company that provides their documentation. He must also have no criminal records or legal suits. Someone with clean driving records and a responsible attitude will be an ideal candidate. However, if the employer has many fork lift drivers, it is more economical to choose a tenured employee that can train the other drivers instead.
- Formal training. This includes giving out information in form of lectures, videos, and other educational materials provided by the OSHA website or from a qualified OSHA-training company. Some agencies actually offer formal training that covers a wide range of topics like how to operate a fork lift safely, familiarization with the different types of forklifts, the capabilities as well as limitations of each. After the formal training, testing is done to the attendees to measure their theoretical understanding of the forklift’s operations.
- Practical training. This requires the employee to take part in applied exercises and demonstrations of certified fork lift operators. The demonstrations are usually carried out by certified forklift operators and the trainees are expected to observe carefully as the former goes through the motions of manipulating the machine. After the demonstrations, the learners are tasked to perform exercises to show their dexterity in handling the forklift. These exercises are often graded based on the smoothness of execution.
- Certification. When the apprentice successfully passes the evaluations given by the trainer or a training firm’s invigilator, a certificate is issued as proof that the employee is indeed certified and has demonstrated abilities that he/she could safely manipulate the forklift. This certification is good for three years, under which the certified employee is expected to serve the company in exchange.
- Additional training. In cases of near-miss or unforeseen accidents, even certified fork lift operators need supplementary refresher courses on forklift safety and manipulation. Sometimes, forklift operatives need to receive continuing education especially when they handle hazardous substances.
It is at the total discretion of the employers as to who they decide to be certified from their pool of employees. This prudence in choosing the employees who receive training also extends to the fact that they can also choose to reveal what sort of materials are being carried by the fork lifts.