Developing Forklift Safety Training Program

How to Start Developing Your Own Forklift Safety Training Program


Rather than hiring an outside contractor to perform training classes it’s not uncommon for companies to handle all safety procedures and training in-house. In some cases it may simply be more convenient to have dedicated safety and training personnel instead of scheduling classes with an outside trainer.

Making sure those in-house trainers are knowledgeable and skilled, on top of complying with OSHA is not necessarily a walk in the park and a successful forklift safety training program will do both.


Successful Programs Meet OSHA’s Recommended Practices

To ensure their training programs meet OSHA’s recommended practices, many companies send their training personnel to specialized Train-The-Trainer classes. These classes help trainers develop the skills to teach safety guidelines and protocols. But having knowledgeable trainers won’t (by itself) make your safety training program a success.

You’ll need to carefully evaluate your facility, your equipment and your employees – both operators and pedestrians – to create a comprehensive safety program that protects your employees and your assets. To get you started we’ve provided a checklist recommended by OSHA to guide you as you begin developing your program.


Steps to Start Creating Your Own Program

  1. Identify the equipment in your workplace

Your operators will need to be trained on each type of equipment they’ll have to operate so identify what types of equipment your operators currently use.

  1. Evaluate your facility’s hazards

This could be blind corners, inclines, high-traffic intersections, loading docks, etc. Make sure you train employees on safety protocols for navigating these areas.

  1. Establish your training methods for both operators and pedestrians

Determine when and how your operators and pedestrians will be trained and what type of training they’ll receive. As you begin identifying training methods be sure to provide both in-class and practical training for operators and avoid these pitfalls of online training.

  1. Create your training program content

Your operators should be comfortable in any equipment they’ll have to operate, so go through everything they’ll need to know including loading and unloading procedures, operating on inclines, battery charging, and replacing LP tanks.

Make sure pedestrians know safety procedures concerning forklift operation.

  1. Determine a valid employee evaluation

Many evaluations include a written test combined with a visual evaluation of the operator’s skills using the equipment.

  1. Develop a documentation system

As the employer, you’re responsible for certifying that your operators have been trained and evaluated. Our own operator training documentation is specific to OSHA’s requirements.

  1. Prepare refresher training

Whether one of your operators is involved in an incident or conditions change in your facility, refresher training will come up, so be prepared.


For more ways to create a successful, OSHA compliant operator safety training program read our complete guide to forklift operator and pedestrian safety training.