Forklift training is usually a requirement to obtain a forklift operator license in most states across the United States. The forklift certification can be acquired in one of three ways – through the completion of an approved course, through a written exam or by obtaining an endorsement, such as the Certified Safety Forklift Technician (CSFT) or the International Organization for Standardization (OHS). The third option, the certification exam, is usually not required for anyone who wishes to become a forklift operator. Instead, if the individual has passed a written examination that assesses his or her knowledge of forklift operation safety, it can serve as the basis for receiving an endorsement. This endorsement is good for a specific amount of time, typically two years, and must then be renewed every two years by contacting the Department of Labor. The exam is based upon current federal standards, so those who have previously taken the exam will find that they may have a leg up on those who have not.
The certification exam, which may be taken online or at a local training center, consists of two parts. The first part is a written exam, which is available for purchase from the employer or on the Department of Labor’s website. The second part of the exam is an evaluation of knowledge, memory and understanding of forklift training materials and procedures. The evaluation is given to an employee after he or she has successfully completed the training course, during which the employee will be assessed on his or her knowledge of forklift operations and operation safety. Once the employee passes the evaluation, he or she will receive his or her forklift safety training certificate. The certificate is good for two years, which means that if it is renewed, an employee will be evaluated every two years for another two years.
Some of the most common types of forklifts used by forklift operators include powered industrial trucks, pallet trucks, scissor lifts and fork trucks. While forklift operation typically only requires operators to have minimal technical knowledge, some operators are trained in a variety of specialties, including electrical operations, safety, mechanics and electronics. Operators who are hired by major companies such as Wal-Mart, Cargill, P & G, Kmart and UPS have more specialized training than those who work for smaller companies that hire independent contractors. Certification also serves as a form of safety training for the operators of forklifts, especially since some operators operate forklifts without the proper training or experience.