How to Get Your Forklift License
Working in a warehouse or factory floor will often require using a forklift. There are several types of forklifts around, all of which serve their own purposes. For you to safely and legally operate a forklift, you’ll need a forklift license first.
Here is how to get your forklift license:
- Decide what type of forklift you want a license for
- Apply to a certified course
- Attend theory training lectures
- Write your theory exam
- Attend practical training
- Final evaluation
The steps for getting forklift certified are similar to passing a school exam, so it won’t be too foreign. Keep reading to learn more about the process of receiving your forklift license!
The Six Steps for Getting Forklift Certified
The process of receiving your forklift license is thorough, as the trainers need to ensure that you’re fully capable and qualified to safely operate this vehicle. For you to be confident in your forklift-driving skills, you need to undergo extensive training.
1. Decide What Type of Forklift You Want a License For
Determining what kind of forklift you want a certification for is essential for beginning the training process. Each forklift variety has different functions and is used for different applications, so the training for all of them won’t be the same.
By deciding which forklift you want a certification for, you can enroll in courses and training accordingly.
2. Apply To a Certified Course
Once you’ve determined which forklift you’ll operate, you can look for OSHA-approved (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) courses and enroll. You can either choose in-person or online training. However, online training doesn’t guarantee you’ll get a forklift license.
The reason that certification isn’t guaranteed for online courses and training is that internet training isn’t per OSHA standards and regulations. This means you could go through the online courses, pass the assessments, and still not get certified. That said, it would be best to do in-person training that follows OSHA regulations!
If you currently work at an institution that uses forklifts in their facility, your employer can give you the necessary training.
3. Attend Theory Training Lectures
After determining the route you want to take regarding courses, you can start attending formal instruction. Formal instruction involves regular classroom procedures, such as receiving lectures, possibly watching videos, and taking notes.
The duration of theory training may vary from location to location and can depend on the type of forklift you’re getting a license for. However, formal instruction typically ranges between a couple of hours to a few days.
4. Write Your Theory Exam
After you’ve completed the necessary course/s, you’ll write a written examination that’ll test your knowledge of everything you’ve learnt. The pass mark for these exams or questionnaires can vary according to the grading standards of the institution. However, the passing score is generally 70-75% (but you should aim for higher!).
5. Attend Practical Training
Once you’ve got the theory training course out the way and passed the written examination, it’s time for you to tackle hands-on training. Like the theory course, practical training won’t take too long. However, the duration can also depend on the institution and what forklift you’re training for.
In contrast to formal instruction, hands-on training is between you and the trainer or facilitator only. The one-on-one basis might make the practical training a bit nerve-wracking for you, but don’t worry. Your practical will involve applying everything you learnt from theory to practise.
The qualified trainer will show you specific forklift operations and will proceed to give you a set of forklift tasks, such as loading. It’s essential to take your hands-on training very seriously, as the facilitator will grade your performance once you’ve completed the tasks. No pressure!
6. Final Evaluation
The final step to becoming a certified forklift driver is allowing the trainer to do a final evaluation of your overall performance when you operated the forklift. After completing your theory course, passing the assessments, and practical training, the relevant person/s can give you your forklift license!
Your forklift license will only be valid for a specific period. So, you’ll need to do refreshers to renew your certification.
What are Some of the Things You’ll Learn During Forklift Training?
After learning how to get your forklift license, you may wonder what you’ll learn besides driving the forklift. Since safety is the number one priority, the training will highly revolve around safe and proper operations, but there are far more.
Here are some things you’ll learn during forklift training:
- Driving on various surfaces. There will be times when you’ll possibly drive on slopes and rough terrain. So a portion of your training includes teaching you how to drive on surfaces that aren’t flat and smooth.
- Safely loading and unloading. Loading a forklift isn’t only about getting everything you need onto the forks. A forklift that isn’t loaded properly can be incredibly dangerous, as an unequal distribution of weight can cause the vehicle to tilt. So, you’ll be taught the best practises for loading a forklift.
- Navigating traffic. Learning to navigate a floor where there are several other workers is essential in your forklift training. You’ll need to learn the rules and regulations regarding the distance between you and other pedestrians.
- Carrying out inspections. Doing inspections on a forklift before and after use is pivotal. You might not know of certain things that could be wrong with the forklift or parts that have to be replaced if you don’t inspect it.
- Driving in narrow spaces. Learning how to safely maneuver in areas that aren’t spacious is another thing you’ll learn. There will likely be times when you have to work your way through tight spaces. So you’ll have to learn how to navigate spaces that aren’t the most convenient in the safest way possible.
Although getting your forklift license is a relatively fast process, it’s essential not to take the procedures lightly and to adhere to the safety regulations and practises at all times!