Training for Powered Industrial Trucks

Last week, my employer graciously gave me an opportunity to broaden my knowledge base through some train the trainer classes.  As a student of safety, I tackle these opportunities like an outside linebacker with a free lane to the quarterback.  The three days of training encompassed forklift and aerial work platforms.  22 years in manufacturing have made industrial trucks very common to me, but there was a lot that I just didn’t know.  For instance, in 1999, OSHA updated the training regulations for forklifts.  Part of that update was the addition of 22 specific topics to be introduced to prospective operators in a formal instruction setting.  This is something that cannot be covered in a half-hour session as many employers think.


Forklift image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons. Retrieved from











Here is a quick list of what I learned in forklift training:

  • Formal instruction – The preferred method is a combination of lecture and video in a classroom setting.  The video portion is important as it could be submitted as evidence in legal proceedings as proof that all topics have been covered.  This portion should take at least four hours.
  • Practical training – A hands-on demonstration by an instructor and a demonstration of understanding by the trainee.  This could be covered in some type of obstacle course.
  • Practice in the working environment – This should be done under the watchful eye of a knowledgeable, trained and experienced operator.
  • Evaluation – This is a critical part of the process and one that most employers overlook.  This should be conducted within a few weeks of the initial training and every three years thereafter.

For more information on forklift training, refer to 29 CFR 1910.178 of the OSHA regulations or ANSI B56 of the American National Standards.

Is your forklift training program adequate?



  1. Great Article, Keep up the outstanding work.

    John Veatch
    Lean Concepts Inc

  2. Tom Robinson says:

    Good article. Even after 22 years in manufacturing, always something to be learned.

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