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Employer Confusion

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Author: Jeff Ord, ForkliftSafety.com

Most employers throughout the U.S. are demanding previous forklift operator training or certification from individuals making application for employment who want to operate forklift trucks. The OSHA Federal Regulation, CFR1910.178 para. (L), Operator Training, Powered Industrial Trucks, clearly and repeatedly states that it is the employer’s responsibility to train and evaluate each operator regardless of previous experience or prior training. All training and evaluations must be site and equipment specific. The word CERTIFICATION rears its “ugly head” only one time in the OSHA Powered Industrial Truck Regulation. It states: “Certification. The employer shall certify THAT each operator has been trained and evaluated as required by this paragraph (L)”. The above word, THAT, implies the process. The process being that the present and current employer is certifying to OSHA THAT each operator has been trained, tested, evaluation and authorized (again, site and equipment specific).

During an OSHA audit or investigation, the employer, in most cases, will be required to provide certification. The certification shall include the name of the operator, the date of the training, the date of the evaluation(s), and the identity of the person(s) performing the training or evaluation. If OSHA finds the employer to be non-compliant or in willful violation, severe OSHA fines and penalties can be imposed. In the event of an injury or death accident, consider the implications of a liability lawsuit if you, the employer, are not in compliance or the accident resulted from an employer’s willful violation or gross negligence.

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