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Author: Jeff Ord, ForkliftSafety.com 

For the past several months we have seen a large increase in inquiries coupled with safety training kit sales from employers that have been subject to OSHA random inspections. Specifically, OSHA inspections have focused on employer forklift safety training record keeping and training course materials. 

In order for an employer to be compliant with OSHA’s forklift operator safety training regulation, 29CFR1910.178, Powered Industrial Trucks, paragraph (L), “Operator Training”, the employer must be certain that every employee that operates a powered industrial truck has been trained, tested, evaluated and authorized. All training must be site and equipment specific regardless of prior training or experience provided by the employee’s previous employer. A driving evaluation test form for every forklift operator must be completed and filed for each and every forklift their employee(s) operates to include any new or used forklift(s) they acquire including rentals and loaners. 

The OSHA Federal Regulation, 29CFR1910.178, Powered Industrial Trucks, paragraph (L) (6) clearly states: “Certification. The employer shall certify that each operator has been trained and evaluated as required by this paragraph (L). The certification shall include the name of the operator, the date of the training, the date of the evaluation and the identity of the person(s) performing the training or evaluation.” What this means is that the employer and only the employer is certifying to OSHA that their company is in compliance with the training requirements and that every forklift operator has been properly trained and evaluated according to OSHA’s requirement. 

From a liability standpoint, in the event of an injury accident the employer will be required to produce a driving evaluation test form that was previously conducted regarding the competence of the forklift operator on the specific forklift involved in the accident. Our company, ForkliftSafety.com works closely with defense attorneys on select cases as an attorney consultant or expert witness provided the employer is in strict compliance with the OSHA forklift operator safety training regulation. We have reviewed lawsuit cases where an employer has authorized an employee to operate another forklift that is similar or nearly identical to the forklift that the forklift operator was evaluated and tested on with a documented driving evaluation test. The problem is, the nearly identical or similar forklift has slightly different controls, features and characteristics and the manufacturer’s data plate was more than 300 lbs. less at a 24” load center than the forklift that the operator had been evaluated and tested on. This is when the jury gasps and sucks all the air out of the courtroom during an injury tip over accident and the defense attorneys lose ground for any further argument. 

In order to avoid costly OSHA fines and penalties and liability lawsuits, the employer must be certain that all new hires or employees operating powered industrial trucks (forklifts) have been trained, tested, evaluated and authorized, site and equipment specific, regardless of the employees prior training or experience from their previous employer(s). 

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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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