Forklift Safety

Safe operation is critical for any business with employees who use forklifts or other powered industrial trucks. Accidents are a constant – and very real – threat.

To help reduce the risk of accidents, OSHA’s Powered Industrial Trucks Standard 29 CFR 1910.178 requires operators to receive the following forklift training:

  • Formal instruction (e.g. forklift training video, discussion, lecture, written materials, etc.)
  • Practical training (demonstrations and practical exercises)
  • Evaluation of the operator’s performance in the workplace

Learn more about forklift training requirements, forklift certification and lift truck operator certification below. Plus, browse our variety of essential safety solutions.

Topics — What You Need to Know

Forklift operator training and certification is essential to ensure a safe, compliant work environment. For proper forklift certification, operators must be trained on topics such as:

  • Vehicle capacity and stability
  • Operating instructions
  • Vehicle inspection and maintenance requirements
  • Load manipulation, stacking and unstacking
  • Pedestrian traffic in areas where the vehicle will be operated
  • Operating in narrow aisles and restricted places
  • The requirements of OSHA’s forklift standard

OSHA requires that the person doing the powered industrial truck training have the knowledge, training, skills, and experience to train operators and evaluate their competence. It is the employer’s responsibility to determine who has the knowledge, training, skills and experience.

OSHA does not deem it necessary to require accreditation of the trainer, stating that trainers and evaluators with different backgrounds can achieve the level of ability necessary to teach and evaluate trainees. This can be the employer, an employee, or an outside training source.

For more details, view our Forklift Training FAQs and browse our forklift training solutions.

Forklift safety violations consistently appear on OSHA’s list of Most Cited Standards. Below are the most common violations for general industry:

  1. 1910.178(l)(1)(i) – Operator not properly trained (initial)
  2. 1910.178(l)(4)(i) – Operator not properly trained (refresher training)
  3. 1910.178(l)(6) – Not keeping safe distance from edge of platform
  4. 1910.178(p)(1) – Not taking defective truck out-of-operation
  5. 1910.178(q)(7) – Failing to properly inspect forklift before operation

Get quick access to OSHA's word-for-word Part 1910 workplace safety regulations in our OSHA Rules for General Industry: 1910 and Other Essential Regulations Guide.

Below are the most common powered industrial truck violations for the construction industry:

  1. 1910.178(l)(1)(i) – Operator not properly trained (initial)
  2. 1910.178(l)(4)(i) – Operator not properly trained (refresher training)
  3. 1910.178(l)(6) – Not keeping safe distance from edge of platform
  4. 1910.178(p)(1) – Not taking defective truck out-of-operation
  5. 1910.178(q)(7) – Failing to properly inspect forklift before operation

Check out our OSHA Rules for Construction Activities Manual for full-text Part 1926 and applicable 1910 regulations.

Forklift Safety Solutions

Ensure forklift operator and pedestrian safety with a wide range of products – including training, forms, signs and more – all backed our in-house compliance experts.

Forklift Training

Forklift training video designed to improve safety for both operators and pedestrians. Choose from variety of formats, including English/Spanish all-in-one programs.

Forklift Operator Checklists & Forms

Make it easy for your operators to record critical vehicle maintenance and safety details.

Forklift Inspection Kits

Provides all the supplies you need for pre-shift inspection.

Forklift Handbooks

Easily reference vital safety information on powered industrial trucks.

Forklift Safety Supplies

Browse a variety of safety tags, labels and posters.

KellerOnline® Tool

Our online safety management tool offers a wealth of forklift safety info and tools.

Forklift Safety Signs

Browse a variety of traffic and safety signs for your facility.

Training & Curriculum Development Services

Our experienced consultants provide engaging, effective on-site Forklift Operator & Trainer training.

J. J. Keller® OSHA Compliance Program

Ongoing on-site guidance and resources for improving workplace compliance.

J. J. Keller® Tier II Reporting Services

A facility with as few as two forklifts can meet the reporting requirement. Get help determining if you need to file!