Forklift trucks play an essential role in many business operations. They are widely used in logistics, warehouse, construction, storage, and other types of activities that involve handling materials.
Both employers and workers who are newcomers to the industry should be aware that anyone working with forklifts must obtain adequate training and certification before getting deployed to the floor.
Forklifts and other lifting equipment are among the leading contributors to injury and deaths in Canada’s industrial sectors. The Occupational Health and Safety Council of Ontario reports that over 10,308 forklift-related accidents were recorded between 1996 and 2008 – that’s an average of 793 cases a year.
These accidents were attributed to the following causes:
- Lack of preventative maintenance and examinations
- Lifting devices hitting objects during racking operations
- Workers being struck by forklift trucks
Incidents like these make forklift operation and safety training imperative across all businesses. Training forklift operators in the safe use of the equipment increases their responsibility. This helps them become promoters of their own safety and that of their fellow workers.
In this post, we give you the basic information you need on how to train forklift operators and get them certified.
What Can I Expect From a Forklift Training Course?
A lift truck safety training course isn’t like a bachelor’s degree that takes at least 4 years to complete. It only requires at least 2 hours to finish. It is intended for employers, workers, and supervisors working with reach and lift trucks. The course involves classroom-based lectures, hands-on training, and performance evaluation.
Successful trainees will receive a license and a certificate. The latter is tangible proof that you have received legitimate training on how to operate a forklift. However, employees must be “recertified” every 3 years, or in the unlikely event of an accident due to error. If you’re operating new equipment and/or are under new operating conditions, you may need to undergo additional training, as well.
Employers are also bound to train their staff and regularly evaluate their performance.
Not All Forklifts Are Created Equal
There are different types of forklift. Each forklift is designed for a specific purpose and therefore has a unique set of characteristics. Operators must get into a forklift operation and safety training program intended for the type of truck they’re operating. This is the reason why employers must introduce the truck to them and give them the proper training specific to their truck assignment.
Since every lift truck is different, functions, controls, and maintenance also vary from one forklift to another. Before performing tasks using the vehicle, the operator must take time to familiarize himself with his truck.
Do Trainers Need Certification?
Employers who train their workers for the job also require certification to back up their credentials. A course called Train-the-Trainer Certification is for team members chosen by their companies to train and certify their fellow forklift operators.
When choosing a staff from your team to go through the course, select someone who has the skill in presenting and delivering information to others. Of course, this person must be a certified forklift operator and must be at least 18 years old.
The Train-the-Trainer course can be conducted at your own company. You can also send your staff to a training school.
Applying for a License, Forklift Training in Ontario
Ontario’s major cities hold Canada’s thriving business destinations. These cities include Toronto, Brampton, Ottawa, and Mississauga. It’s not impossible for forklift operators living in these cities to land a job in the industry. Your license is your ticket to securing a career as a forklift operator.
Here are some guidelines on obtaining a license and forklift training in Ontario:
- Choose the lift truck category you want to master
Your truck choice will determine the training course you must enroll in to get a license.
- Select a training provider
Make sure to choose a school that provides the training for your truck choice. The school should be compliant with the latest safety standards for lift trucks.
- Attend the training
Classroom lectures are the meat of the entire forklift training course. It’s where you get to learn and understand crucial lessons on forklift operation, including safety, operations, and maintenance.
The training usually covers these lessons:
- Routine forklift inspections
- Lift truck maintenance and repair procedures
- Proper loading and unloading procedures to ensure safety
- Periodic training to ensure the relevance of skills
- Keeping training records and certification evidence
- Existing laws and regulations that affect the operation of industrial trucks
Join the demonstration
Similar to applying for a driver’s license for the first time, you need to demonstrate that you have the skills to drive a lift truck. Hands-on demonstrations are the avenue for you to practice your lift truck driving skills with the guidance of an instructor.
In this stage, the instructor will conduct a written exam to gauge the knowledge you’ve earned from the lectures. Afterwards, you will take a performance evaluation. The purpose of this is to assess your skills in driving the lift truck. Focus on passing the written and practical exams to receive a certification.
Get your training record and certificate
These documents are evidence that you have completed and fulfilled the requirements of the course. Bring these documents with you when applying for a job. Again, you need to reapply for a certificate after 3 years.
Refresher Training for Experienced Operators
Even those who have been driving lift trucks for years need to brush up on their skills from time to time. That is why refresher training courses are available. These courses help reinforce the basics of forklift operations for experienced lift truck operators.
Refresher forklift safety training is urgent for operators who have been involved in an accident, mishaps, or near misses throughout their career. It’s also important for those who have been caught operating the truck in an unsafe manner.
In addition, you may need refresher training if you are:
- Expected to operate a new forklift
- Unfamiliar with a specific forklift’s controls and instrumentation
- About to drive a lift truck in a new workplace environment
- A newly-minted forklift operator and it’s your first time to drive a truck during peak-season operations in your company
Beware of Sanctions for Driving Without a Certificate!
The penalty for anyone driving a lift truck without a license could amount to $25,000 and at least 1 year of imprisonment. The offending individual will have to pay the fine himself, not the company. Companies that violate the law will have to pay a fine of $500,000.
Need More Manpower? Hire Certified Forklift Operators
Perhaps you need support for your machinery moving and transportation, warehouse relocation, or your business operations. These processes require a significant amount of power; you may need a third-party trucking and moving provider. Fortunately, we’re ready to take on the task with our fleet of heavy-duty forklifts and experienced operators.