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Creating an Effective Forklift Training Program

There are a number of benefits associated with effective forklift training that any construction manager worth their salt could name off the top of their head. These aren’t small benefits, either—they are behemoth merits like protection against lawsuits, OSHA compliance, and the assured health and safety of all workers.

Still, despite the importance of strong forklift safety training, the majority of businesses opt to develop forklift training programs in house, and these are rarely as comprehensive or successful as intended. In fact, more than 50% of businesses experience a few forklift accidents per year.

That being the case, it’s clear that a little extra guidance is necessary when it comes to forklift safety training, so we have outlined some of the most important components of a forklift safety training kit to help.

Only Subject Employees to The Proper Type of Training

Those who have worked in industrial spaces for any length of time know how brutally boring it is to sit through training programs that aren’t relevant to them. This isn’t just frustrating for employees, it’s economically disadvantageous for businesses, too—why pay employees to absorb training materials that they will never need when they could be performing the roles they were hired to do?

Employers have an opportunity to make sure that they are only showing employees relevant training materials as part of their forklift safety training programs. For example, there is no need to ask employees to learn how to safely operate pallet jacks if they will only be using rough terrain forklifts for their role.

Forklift Training Program

Make Sure Forklift Training Materials Are Inclusive

America is one great melting pot; there’s no official language in the United States, and the labor workforce of this country reflects that fact. Because a great many workers who need to receive forklift safety training may speak little to no English, it’s important that effective forklift training materials in Spanish is available as an option as well.

The essential goal of forklift training is to protect employees as much as possible; if employees are unable to understand the content in the materials, the training will fail to serve its purpose.

Prepare Workers with Forklift Equipment and Hand Signals Knowledge

Though it may seem like second nature to managers developing a forklift safety training program, many new operators are unfamiliar with basics like hand signals and the parts of the forklift.

Businesses should be sure to cover all of the fundamental hand signals for safe forklift operation.

Common hand signals include:  

  • Raise and lower the tines
  • Tilt mast back and forward
  • Move tines in direction finger points
  • Dog everything
  • Stop

Simple as it sounds, teaching these signals can prevent unnecessary accidents from taking place, and keep workers better protected from potential dangers.

Additionally, spending some time in training to discuss the different components of a forklift will better prepare workers to operate them when the time comes, and to assess them for trade-in value if that’s ever necessary.

Only Supply Training Materials That Are OSHA Compliant

One of the biggest reasons that many employers institute forklift training programs at all is because OSHA requires it. In order to abide by the rules set in place by the agency, a training program must have these components:

  • A formal portion (such as a lecture or video)
  • A practical portion (such as a physical demonstration)
  • Certification from the employer that each operator has received training
  • Certification from the employer that each operator is evaluated every three years
  • Evaluation of an operator’s readiness after receiving formal and practical training
  • Assurance that an employer will supply refresher training if an operator falls short

Beyond these core pieces, there are many specific topics that a training program must cover in order to meet OSHA requirements—there are a dozen truck-related topics required alone.

Fortunately, it’s not necessary for businesses to take on the task of developing forklift safety training programs all on their own. Forkliftsafety.com is deeply familiar with OSHA’s standards because we have spent decades collaborating with the agency in order to create our approved and compliant forklift safety training kits. Our expertise and experience are here to assist businesses in keeping their workers protected.

Rather than dedicating hours upon hours to developing a lackluster program in house, get started easily and quickly with our effective and compliant forklift safety training program now.

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ForkliftSafety.com's OSHA Compliant forklift training kit is highly recommended by large liability insurance companies to their insured clients. Programs for the safe training of forklift operators has been their only business for nearly 20 years!

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ForkliftSafety.com was named to present the 2018 OSHA Compliant Forklift Operator Training Seminar January 22, 2018 for attendees at the California Rental Association's sponsored event "The Rental Rally" at the SouthPoint Casino, Las Vegas.

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