Forklift Certification

I’m now a certified forklift operator, whatever that means. Flaming Lotus Girls organized a certification class with this OSHA certified guy. This was partially in response to Todd Blair, a member of SRL, being severely injured after the conclusion of Robodock; though a forklift wasn’t specifically to blame for his injury, I think it got us all thinking about safety in general.

And it’s not as if this certification will actually help keep anyone safe.

In order to pass, you had to score a 60% on a True/False quiz and drive the forklift around the yard without killing anyone. It’s hard to fail. The next time you see a certified forklift driver, know that they might have only scored a 61% on a True/False test.

The 30 minute video told us not to let people ride around on the forks, not to lift things that exceed the rated capacity of the forklift, not to lift things that are too big, not to drive around like a crazy person with the forks at head-height, to honk the horn before you go backwards, not to service the forklift unless you are “authorized”, and to never check a fuel tank with a lighter.

The hands-on instruction was fine. As has been said before, the way to get good with the forklift is to practice. I stuck around for a while watching the beginners and he helped them figure it out. Though no one I saw had any real trouble. It’s just a matter of familiarizing ones-self with the controls.

the $100 certification is good for 1 year. In the workplace, it will help protect employers from lawsuits if something unfortunate happens. (Note that FLG is not an employer). The instructor mentioned that he usually gets called out when OSHA came by for a workplace inspection of a company and the company called him so he could do an emergency certification class. He’d pre-date the certificates. Nice.

At least everyone found out that our forklift has a horn; it’s on the forward/reverse shifter.

If you really want a good forklift safety video, watch this and you’ll be all set. (no really, watch that video)

The best forklift training is
1 – a friend helping another friend with the controls
2 – practice


  1. Chuck says:

    Thanks for the interesting article. I was a certified forklift driver that managed to get into an accident with one. It was the result of not opperating it correctly. You are correct that a cert won’t keep anyone safe, but the education and yearly updates are a good reminder to use common sense.

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