worker driving a forklift in warehouse

Training and permits required for all forklift drivers

Did you know that every employee who operates a forklift at your place of business must be certified to drive a forklift? Did you also know that BCN Services can help with obtaining that licensure?

Powered industrial trucks, more commonly called forklifts, are used in many industries to move materials. They can also raise, lower, or remove large objects or smaller objects on pallets or in boxes, crates or other containers.

An operator can either ride a powered industrial truck or use it as a walking operator. (Over-the-road haulage trucks and earth-moving equipment that are modified to accept forks are not considered powered industrial trucks.)

What are hazards associated with operating a forklift?

There are many types of powered industrial trucks and each type presents different operating hazards.

A sit-down, counterbalanced, high-lift rider truck is more likely to be involved in a falling load accident than a motorized hand truck because the sit-down truck can lift a load higher. Other factors are workplace type and working conditions. For example, retail establishments often face greater challenges maintaining pedestrian safety than other worksite types.

Beyond that, many workers can also be injured when:

  • lift trucks are inadvertently driven off loading docks
  • lifts fall between docks and an unsecured trailer
  • a lift truck strikes them or
  • they fall while on elevated pallets and tines.

fork lift caution signForklifts injure about 95,000 workers in Michigan each year, according to recent data. That means about 10 percent of all reported workplace injuries in the state are caused by powered industrial trucks. Injury reports show that more than 40 workers are hospitalized each year with severe forklift-related injuries.

A total of 46 Michigan workers died as a result of forklift-related injuries between 2001-2015 and nearly 100 workers are killed each year across the nation due to these injuries.

It is a violation of Federal law for anyone UNDER 18 years of age to operate a forklift or for anyone OVER 18 years of age who is not properly trained and certified to do so.

How can we reduce powered industrial trucks hazards?

Determining the best way to protect worker injuries largely depends on the type of truck operated and the worksite. Training is the single most important way to prevent forklift related injuries. Employers must ensure that each powered industrial truck operator is competent to operate it safely, demonstrated by successfully completing training and evaluation.

What is OSHA requirement for forklift training?

BCN Services can provide training and licensure by providing:

  1. A MI/OSHA-compliant online training course. The course takes 45 minutes to complete. An internet-connected computer is all that’s needed.
  2. A forklift operator’s evaluation form for your employee’s forklift “driver’s test.” This is done on-site at your place of business. Your best and most experienced licensed forklift driver evaluates your “trainee” employee while he or she operates the forklift using the operator’s evaluation form. This takes about 15 minutes.
  3. The Physical Qualification Form which your employee needs to complete.

Upon successful completion of the above, BCN Services can issue an operator’s permit to your employee at no cost to you.

All forklift drivers need to re-certify every three years by completing a 30-question quiz provided by BCN Services. We also handle forklift record-keeping for training and issuing permits.

Call BCN Services at 800-891-9911 and speak with our Risk Management Department for free forklift training and licensure assistance. Read more here about workplace safety from BCN Services.

Patrick Boeheim, Safety & Risk Manager