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What Is Forklift Training?

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  • Written By: Lori Kilchermann
  • Edited By: Lauren Fritsky
  • Last Modified Date: 30 November 2016
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Forklift training is the equivalent of driver's training for the forklift operator. Prospective operators are required to undergo forklift training to understand not only the ways to operate a forklift, but to understand safety issues and proper methods of moving through a tightly-populated working environment. Separate forklift training sessions are developed for those working in an enclosed shop-like setting and those operators who will be outside on a construction site. Daily inspection of the forklift as well as other safety protocols are taught during the course of study. Part of the training that has virtually nothing to do with the operation of a forklift is a course on the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) that informs an operator on the proper precautions to take in the event of a puncture or spill of a chemical or product.

The forklift is a very useful tool in the hands of a trained operator, however, it can be a very dangerous and even lethal weapon when operated by an untrained individual. All potential operators must undergo forklift training by a qualified instructor prior to climbing aboard a forklift. The training covers all aspects of proper forklift operation from daily inspections to start of shift and end of day checks. The basics of using the controls of the forklift and the abilities and limitations of the machine are also taught. Methods of warning other employees that a forklift is traveling through their work area are also discussed.

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Some imperative lessons are taught during forklift training, such as the number of things to check prior to driving into a trailer at a dock site. The placement of the trailer tires, ensuring a chock block is placed into position to prevent the trailer from rolling and the proper method and arrangement of pallets to distribute the load properly are all part of forklift training. The forklift training is an Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requirement in the United States and is intended to prevent on-the-job injuries and death.

Education on the MSDS materials is very important part of forklift training for a prospective forklift operator. If the operator notices a leaking container or damages one himself, he must know how to find the proper method of cleaning up a spill, the nature of the product and its effect on people as well as any other safety precautions and warnings that may be required. This information is all included on the MSDS sheets.

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