I’m a Part Time Forklift Operator, Should I Have Full TrainingIf you will be just using the truck on a part time basis, should you still need to have full forklift training? This is another common question we heard a lot from beginners and experienced individuals alike.

All forklift operators, irrespective of their employment status, whether full time or part time, hired or contracted, will need to take full training in order to legally operate the forklift in the workplace.

Anyone who will use this machine must have a prior training. The workers, whether temporary, permanent or supplied by an agency, must know how to operate them properly so that accidents can be avoided.

To increase the chance of landing a high-paying job, forklift operator must have a recent training in as much as possible. The employer may ask for proof of latest training. The operator card and the certificate with the date on it are the solid proof of evidence.



What Does the Full Training Covers?

  1. Classroom training – the fun part starts inside the classroom. This is where you will shown with instruction materials such as power point presentations, video lessons and online teaching. You will learn the safety, operational controls basics, current OSHA standard, and other topics that may be deemed required. From the classroom you will learn the fundamentals and absorb theoretical knowledge.

  2. Practical training – This is where you experience operating the forklift; you will do hands-on operation under the keen supervision of the trainer. You have to do the demonstration in person, the aspect you can’t experience from online training. This is why I don’t recommend to students the online training, you will not get properly certified with such method of training.

  3. Administering written exam - To measure the knowledge you have gained from the classroom and the hands-on exercises, the trainer will administer a written test. The passing rate varies; hence it depends on the trainer or school that conducts the training.

  4. Evaluation/Certification - This is when the trainer evaluate your actual driving performance. The trainer will give a set of instruction that you need to perform. You will operate the forklift in a range of different conditions, use the forks with an attachment, maneuver the truck in confined space, lifting and transporting loads, loading and unloading materials from and to specified location. If the trainer is happy with your driving skill, you will be guaranteed to receive your certificate and operator card.

The length of training and certification vary, in some classes/types of forklift, it only take a day, while for other types such as rough terrain, the training could last up to 2 days.



When Do You Need to Get Retrained?

  • While, workers need to take the training prior to operating the equipment, OSHA states that employers don’t need to provide annual training. It is the responsibility of the employer to ensure that the operators have the knowledge and confidence by evaluating their performance every three years.

  • However, there could also be instances when training needs to be given to operator outside the normal three (3)-year evaluation. In a circumstance like when there’s a significant change in the workplace such as mass volume of merchandise is being stored confining the operation of the forklift and restricting the pedestrian traffic.

  • Another instance when retraining should be provided is if there’s a new type or class of forklift introduced in the workplace the operators are not familiar to its use. And we say by type, we refer to basic difference in operation controls and purpose (a rider truck compared to stand-up forklift; order-picker compare to reach truck).

  • Retraining should be supplied when the worker has been observed operating the machine in an unsafe manner endangering himself and others in the workplace.

  • Forklift operators who have received poor performance rating in the certification must be sent to retraining as well.

  • Lastly, retraining should be conducted when the operator is involved in an incident or accident such as near miss or property damage, the worker should be given refresher course to make him realize the mistake he has done and correct his behavior. The refresher course is an excellent way to make sure that accident will not happen again.

Forklift Operator Job Descriptions

When you get into a job as forklift operator it is best to know first what your job responsibilities and duties are. You don’t want to be in the way of others to avoid conflict, you don’t want to ask your colleagues you will look foolish, you don’t want take a guess of what’s happening. Know your job duties in the workplace. Typically, here are the common job descriptions of a forklift operator:

  • The typical nature of the job of being a forklift operator is transporting materials from place to place. This is the basic responsibilities you are required to do in constant. Since the nature of the job is physically tiring and demanding, anyone who wants to be a forklift must be in good health condition and physically fit.

  • As an operator, you are required to do daily inspection of the equipment and log the findings in the checklist. Daily inspection ensures the forklift is good working condition prior to operation. The inspection also enables the company to perform maintenance on the equipment whenever needed.

  • The other tasks that you need to handle are monitoring and maintaining merchandise inventory and keeping it in record; organize the materials sometimes stack them in the rack way up.

  • Part of your job is the maintenance of the equipment by cleaning the forklift, oiling and refueling/recharging them. This will be the common things you will do with the machine.

  • Maintain clean work environment. You will regularly attend housekeeping.

  • Maintain safe work practices at all times, aside from that, you need to advocate safety and health practices of the company to other workers in the workplace. You will be required to attend toolbox talk and other safety meetings.

Employers Still Need To Provide Workplace-Specific Training

Workplace-specific training is also needed for part time forklift operator who has just arrived at work. Not only will they be able to familiarize themselves with the ins and outs of the workplace, this enables them to identify the specific hazards present in the area.

When I was in Saudi Arabia, my employer use to do this; every time new workers arrived in the company, it is required for them to take a workplace-specific training as part of the company safety protocol.

Having such training makes the new employees feel welcome and making them aware what are lies ahead of them by acclimatizing to the work environment can minimize the occurrence of the accidents.

Having a workplace-specific training can help transform the worksite into a better and safer work environment free from accidents.



To Conclude This

Driver training is significant part of the company’s health and safety procedure. In fact, forklift driving should be given due importance because of the reason that this machine has caused accidents resulting to injuries and deaths every year.

If you’re just employed as a part time forklift operator, you still need to have forklift training. It only takes a day or less to complete the course.

Just spend some time and effort, you will reap the benefits of having forklift training completed.


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