The Importance of Proper Forklift Operator Training

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There are an estimated 855,900 powered industrial trucks in the United States, including forklifts. If you own or manage a warehouse, freight yard, farm or similar business, you should provide forklift operator training to your material handlers. Consider the top three reasons to make this a strict company policy.

Employee Safety

According to the Federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), an average of 85 fatal forklift incidents have occurred each year since 1981. These fatalities resulted from the following:

  • Forklift overturned: 42 percent
  • Victim struck by forklift: 46 percent
  • Victim hit by falling material: 8 percent
  • Victim fell from forklift: 4 percent

In addition to these fatal tragedies, OSHA states that there have been 34,900 serious accidents and 61,800 minor accidents involving forklifts each year since 1981. OSHA also estimates that providing proper training for your employees could reduce the risk of injury or death by 25 percent, a substantial reduction in risk that makes forklift operator training a must.

OSHA Compliance

OSHA standard 1910.178 requires forklift operators to be fully trained and employer-certified before they are legally allowed to operate this industrial machinery. To comply with OSHA regulations, employers must establish an effective and comprehensive forklift training program that combines formal classroom training, practical hands-on experience and an evaluation. Noncompliance not only creates a safety hazard in the workplace, but it could also set you up for hefty fines and penalties.

Worker Productivity

As if safety and compliance weren’t enough, you can also expect your employees to work more efficiently when they have received proper training. They’re able to operate the forklift with confidence rather than spending time checking the manual or fumbling with the controls. In this way, investing in forklift operator training for your material handlers pays you back in increased speed and productivity.

Atlas Toyota offers code-compliant forklift operator training materials and programs at our locations throughout Illinois and online. For questions about training or the OSHA requirements that apply to your business, please contact our Operator Training Department at 708-325-0649. You can also fill out our training materials order form to have materials delivered to your business location.