You may have stumbled upon a training school that offers online forklift certification and now you are wondering if it is legit?
This is also the question most people asked coming to this website.
Before I answer that question, let me cite the OSHA regulations concerning this:
First the 29 CFR 1910.178 (l)(2)(ii) that states:
“Training shall consist of a combination of formal instruction (e.g., lecture, discussion, interactive computer learning, video tape, written material), practical training (demonstrations performed by the trainer and practical exercises performed by the trainee), and evaluation of the operator's performance in the workplace.”
This particular regulation says that the forklift training shall be composed of both the classroom and practical training. In online training, you cannot receive both. Therefore, the online certification doesn’t fulfill this requirement.
The second regulation is the 29 CFR 1910.178 (l)(1)(i) that says:
“The employer shall ensure that each powered industrial truck operator is competent to operate a powered industrial truck safely, as demonstrated by the successful completion of the training and evaluation specified in this paragraph (l).”
How can then an employer ensures that the operators are competent enough to operate the forklift if the method they get their training from is from an online source that doesn’t satisfy the first regulation stated above?
In online training, the operators cannot be evaluated and therefore cannot be certified by the qualified trainer.
The third related regulation, that I would like to bring to bring your attention to, is the 29 CFR 1910.178 (l)(2)(i)(A) that stipulates the training course should be:
“Under the direct supervision of persons who have the knowledge, training, and experience to train operators and evaluate their competence.”
How can you be evaluated by a knowledgeable trainer if the training is to be conducted online? Remember, the evaluation shall cover the classroom training by administering a written examination and practical training by evaluating the performance of the operator through hands-on operation/driving.
You cannot be trained and evaluated for your competence through online training.
My Answer to the Question is
Now to answer that question if it is legit, my answer is it doesn’t comply with the above-mentioned OSHA regulations and therefore the online certification should only be used as an instructional method to form a part of the training course.
I am not saying it is not legit, I am only stressing that if it is to be done 100% online it won't meet the terms of OSHA's current 29 CFR 1910.178 standard.
If You’re an Employer, What Can You Do Then to Certify Your Operators
You can designate a qualified individual from your fleet to become an in-house safety trainer. Doing so satisfies the 29 CFR 1910.178 (l)(2)(i)(A) stated above.
A trainer should be someone who is a senior worker, a team leader or a supervisor who has extensive experience and knowledge handling different types of powered industrial trucks.
You, as an employer, can decide who is that someone that meets that description.
In addition to this, you will need training materials that you can use in the certification.
You can buy this training kit complete with operator card and student handouts from Amazon: FLC Forklift Certification Training Kit
If you can’t find someone who has the knowledge to be designated as a trainer, you can enroll a qualified individual to take the Train-The-Trainer Course in the training school.
You can browse the list of training schools near you, just click the state where you are located below or on the left of the screen.
If You Are an Individual, You Can Do This Instead
If you are not connected to any company and you are planning to take a training course, you can also enroll in a course. Browse through the state where you are located below or on the left of the screen, there you will find the training school you can take the training from.
It will compose of classroom lectures and hands-on training and lastly the evaluation.
To measure the understanding you’ve obtained, a written test will be administered. The test is rudimentary and you can pass it very easily. After passing the written test, your performance in the operation of the forklift will be evaluated. You will do a set of tasks, do the tasks properly and you will be guaranteed of receiving your training certificate.
Congratulation, you are now a certified forklift operator. You can show the certificate to an employer if you are applying for a job.
To Finalize This
You may be attracted to enroll in an online forklift certification course because of the convenience it offers. But does it satisfy the OSHA regulations. I don’t think so.
Yes, you could receive your operator card but you would not obtain the knowledge and competence through this mean.
We strongly recommended to you to take the in-classroom training by enrolling in a course offered by the school. There, you can experience firsthand what it is like to become certified.