Operating a forklift takes skill, practice and extreme caution. Many accidents have occurred from mistakes made by forklift operators and could have been prevented with stronger safety training and enforcement. Because of the extreme danger from forklifts, adequate training completed before one is certified to operate them. If you are taking forklift-training classes here are some things to expect.

Classroom Sessions and Hands-On Training

 In your forklift training, you can expect a classroom session with an instructor of approximately 4-6 hours. The instructor will teach you what you need to know about operating the forklift. He or she may use a variety of methods to teach the class such as lecture, PowerPoint, showing a forklift training video or DVD, demonstrating stability using a model and moderating classroom discussions. In addition to the classroom session, there will be hands-on training where you will work with the forklifts. Here you will be shown the forklift and have the opportunity to operate it with the guidance from your instructor. Depending on prior experience the operators may need hours or days of practice operation before they are ready for their final hands on test.

 The Parts of a Forklift

 You will also learn the parts of a forklift. The forklift is similar to a car in some ways, but there are also some major differences, such as the forklift having rear wheel steering.. You will learn about this machine, how it works, and the unique aspects of it. You will learn what all the controls do and how to work them.

 Understand Reasons to Work Safely

 Obviously throughout your training you will be taught safety procedures for operating the forklift. In addition, you will understand the specific reasons why these precautions are put into place. Your instructor will teach you to understand not just “what to do and what not to do,” but why it is important to understand these reasons in the first place.

 Real Consequences of Poor Safety Decisions

 You will be informed of real consequences that could result of poor safety decisions. The forklift is a powerful machine and if you are not safe with it, it could result in severe injury or even death to yourself or others. You will be shown the severity of consequences of not operating the forklift with caution.

 Identify and Correct Safety Problems

 In addition, you will be taught how to identify and correct safety problems when using the forklift. When you operate a forklift, you will be making judgment calls the entire time. You will be given various scenarios and told how to identify and correct safety issues. This will thoroughly prepare you for operating the forklift on your own.

Forklift Maintenance

Just like vehicles need proper maintenance, the forklift does as well. In your training you will be taught what to do to provide maintenance for the forklift. A forklift inspection needs to be conducted and passed before each shift to ensure proper safety for everyone involved.

Written by Written by Dan Smith of Forklift Training Systems, an industry leader in forklift training products and services.