Train the Trainer

Forklift operator training reduces these 5 risks

Aug 03, 2016
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Of the almost 70,000 forklift accidents that occur annually in the United States, thankfully only a small percentage are fatal. Regardless, they all impact productivity and many cause injuries.

Everyone who works in a warehouse -- from new recruits to seasoned employees -- should have proper training to stay safe around forklifts and be up to date on the materials handling equipment they use and that is being used around them.

Here are the risks warehouse managers and their companies face when forklift operator training is not conducted, or is not done completed properly:

RISK 1: Training is required by federal law, so failure to conduct it is illegal

It’s against the law to not conduct training. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA): “It is a violation of Federal law for anyone UNDER 18 years of age to operate a forklift or for anyone OVER 18 years of age who is not properly trained and certified to do so.”


Each worker that operates a forklift must be trained on all classes of forklift equipment that they will be using in their job. (That’s also the law, as set by OSHA). Forklift training has to include several components:

  • Formal classroom instruction,
  • Practical training, or driving the equipment,
  • Plus, an evaluation of the operator’s performance in the workplace.

To determine if you should have an employee certified as a trainer, or if your company would be better off having Arbor train your operators, evaluate the following questions:

  • How big is your fleet of equipment?
  • Are you a 24/7/365 day per year operation or is your business more seasonal
  • What is your operator turnover
  • Do you operate any specialized equipment in your facility

RISK 2: Accidents happen more frequently

Most forklift accidents happen because the operator is not paying attention. This leads to the most common forklift operator accident: The lift truck tips over. A typical unloaded forklift weighs from between 2,000 to 8,000 lbs. Even unloaded, the equipment is heavy and without using proper operation and procedures can be dangerous. Forklift operator training is designed to help your employees avoid preventable accidents.

RISK 3: Damage to inventory happens more often

Damage to product is reduced when your facility has a team of forklift operators that are trained in visibility and maneuverability, and who understand vehicle capacity and stability.  Less damage to inventory means more product to sell. An additional benefit of operator training is that workers are educated on the importance of keeping a warehouse clean. They also learn these key factors:

  • The importance of keeping equipment properly maintained
  • That clearing debris off the floor is critical
  • Adequate lighting should be used at all times

These are all important factors in maintaining safe working conditions in a warehouse facility.

RISK 4: Unprofessional work conditions have negative impacts on workers and operations

Providing forklift operator training demonstrates to warehouse employees that their company is concerned about their health and safety. Operator training creates an environment where warehouse employees practice safety and diminishes improper material handling practices. It results in a warehouse that is compliant and works smoothly. That also builds confidence and job satisfaction among employees.

RISK 5: Endangering the operator and their co-workers:

Forklift operator training assists in protecting employees. Much of it is intuitive, however it reinforces key practices such as: Safety rules for travel; Understanding that riders are not allowed; and the use of honking the forklift horn at aisle intersections. These practices might seem to many like they are common sense, however it’s critical to keep them top of mind to ensure your company runs a safe and efficient warehouse.

To mitigate these risks to your business, call Arbor’s forklift training experts. Our team can help to bring your company into OSHA compliance and there’s even a financial upside to your operations over-all financial performance.

How Arbor can help with forklift operator training

At Arbor Material Handling, we uses the Raymond Corporation’s forklift operator training program called Safety On The Move.  The program is designed to help employers protect their workers, their warehouse equipment, and the associated materials, since it was introduced a quarter century ago in 1991. Studies show that effective forklift operator training, such as the program offered by Arbor, can assist in improving a company’s financial picture and profitability by reducing:

  • Workplace accidents
  • Warehouse equipment downtime
  • Product damage
  • Plus, it can increase worker productivity and customer satisfaction

The Safety On The Move program can help your company comply with the OSHA requirement that every operator of industrial forklifts in the United States be trained and certified in the use of the equipment before they can operate the lift truck as part of their job.

Raymond Corporation’s Safety On The Move program can also assist a company in complying with applicable forklift operator training requirements north of the border in Canada and also at facilities located in Mexico.

For more information, contact us via the box below or call us at  800-934-6568.

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