A common question we hear a lot in the forklift industry is, “Do I need a forklift certificate?” And in one word, the answer is ‘Yes’! Whether you’re working for a small or large company, per OSHA requirements, you must have your forklift certification as well as authorization from your employer to operate a forklift.
Think about it, similar to a car…forklifts are essentially large, moving vehicles. They’re used on both private and public grounds and their drivers are in fact operating heavy equipment.
Now, would you want someone driving a car out on the street without a license? If driver’s licenses weren’t mandatory, would there be a good chance that car accidents would increase? Injuries? Fatalities? You bet. Reason being, when one obtains a driver’s license, they’ve completed and passed a training on how to safely drive and maneuver a car. They’re not only protecting themselves, but all those around them.
Likewise, for the safety of all…you should want all forklift operators trained and certified. At the very least, they should know how to safely and properly steer and maneuver the forklift. They should know how to load and unload, how to stack and tier, and how to inspect and maintain the equipment. The purpose of a forklift certification is not to create added work for the employee, instead it’s aimed to increase safety and reduce accidents, injuries, and death.
On that grounds, OSHA, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, requires all forklift operators to not only obtain a forklift certification, but they must renew the certificate every three years, sooner if the operator is involved in a forklift accident, if the operating environment or the equipment changes, or if he or she is observed driving a forklift in an unsafe manner.
OSHA doesn’t play around. They have the authority to fine an employer $7,000 for every forklift operator not certified and this number can increase to $70,000 if willful negligence is proven.
*Side note, if you are running a business (large or small) with non-certified forklift operators, do not risk the dangers and penalties. Contact us today. We can come to you and quickly certify your staff at an affordable rate.
We can’t repeat it enough, the risks associated with non-certified forklift operators is not worth it. Putting dangers and penalties aside, there is also the problem that if an accident does take place with a forklift involved, many times insurers will reject the claim since the forklift operator was not certified. Save the expenses, headaches, and risks…have your team certified.
Looking for more reasons to obtain your forklift certification?
1) Studies have revealed that certified forklift operators earn more than non-certified forklift operators.
2) Although some jobs don’t require a forklift certification upfront, having your certification prior to hire increases your marketability among fellow operators competing for the same position.
3) Increase efficiency and productivity. A non-certified forklift operator can easily become confused and waste a lot of time trying to figure out how to operate the vehicle, maneuver, lift, stack, etc… On the other hand, a certified forklift operator will know his or her way around the equipment and how to safely and properly use it.
Forklifts come in a variety of types. There are sit-down designs, stand-up designs, pallet jack types, “order picker” trucks, and more. In order to know how to operate a forklift safely you will have to be formally trained in the different styles as well as know what ways they work best.
4) Increase safety for yourself as well those around you, such as the pedestrians walking through the work area.
5) We’re sure you’re aware that forklifts are expensive pieces of equipment. As such, you don’t want to risk damaging the equipment by lacking the knowledgeable on how to operate it.
6) Similarly, you don’t want to risk damaging or losing inventory. Improper handling of a forklift, which is quite common among non-certified forklift operators, causes inventory loss. The accumulation of lost inventory can add up in unnecessary expenses.
7) Once you’re certified as a forklift operator, you’ll gain a higher level confidence in your capabilities and skills. Not only will this help you grow professionally, but you will feel more satisfied, motivated, focused, and overall able to work better.
Therefore, once again, if you are a business, then you should highly consider implementing the need to certify all forklift operators. The costs associated with hiring non-certified operators outweighs the small cost of certifying your staff. Don’t risk the costs associated with fees, penalties, denied insurance claims, damages, medical expenses, inventory loss, etc…etc…
Forklift certifications are necessary. They help you obtain and keep a career, provide you with the knowledge and confidence to perform your job, and protect you, those around, as well as your inventory.