Understanding Training Requirements for Forklift Operators
Risks of Using Forklifts To Operators & Others In Area
Forklifts are designed to increase the efficiency of load transfer hence they have compact designs which may make them unstable during load transfer at times. The stakes of accident occurrence when a large amount of weight is loaded on a compact forklift in high traffic areas in the workplace are high. Moreover, different types of forklifts are prone to different types of accidents. The workplace environment is also a crucial factor in making the use of forklifts even more hazardous. Use of forklifts requires special precautionary measures because of the risk of exposing passersby to the risk of forklift dangers. Other accidents may be caused by the unintentional movement of forklifts, accidental falls of the forklift, knockouts against a lift truck and falls from raising pallets or a prong.
Reducing Risks by Training the Operators
As it has been mentioned earlier, different types of forklifts require different precautionary measures. It falls upon the employers to ensure that the operators are competent and experienced enough to handle a forklift, as OSHA does not especially certify forklift operators. According to the OSHA website, it is illegal for any person under 18 to operate forklifts or operate them without training and certification. Employers are responsible for all the training as well as evaluation of operators and for the actual certification of the employees. In short, the employer has to certify the operator himself. The training, however, should meet the OSHA standards.
The training requirements outlined by OSHA necessitate that formal instruction are provided to the trainees that may include lectures, discussions, computer-mediated-learning, video aids and other written documents. Practical training, of course, is the crucial requirement of OSHA operator training standards for the operators, as is an evaluation of the employee’s performance in the workplace.
OSHA also requires that the operators be trained by persons who have the required knowledge, expertise and experience in handling forklifts and should know how to evaluate the trainee’s performance. However, as per the standards defined by OSHA, the specifications for an evaluator are not very strict and employers can easily employ operators for training purposes. Moreover, it further facilitates the employers, as they are not required to get a certification from OSHA but are responsible for the certification themselves. This, however, also entails that if an accident takes place regarding a forklift, the employer can be deemed directly responsible for it – implying negligence.