Did you know: Frequently, people misunderstand that you need a license to drive a forklift. In fact, there is no such a thing as a forklift license, however there are certifications. What’s the difference? Currently, the government does not verify forklift skills or abilities like when you receive a vehicle license. Obtaining a certification to drive a lift is to show that you have been trained to use it in a safe manner & understand it’s function. A certification is only good for a specific type of lift and only in the environment where the certification took place. Therefore, even if you have been certified on a lift at one company, it doesn’t mean that you can use a lift at another. Even if you are using the same style lift! Generally speaking, it is the responsibility of the owner of the lift to verify that anyone using it has received proper training on that lift. Thus the “certification”.
Did you know that not all forklifts are the same? Because of this fact, there is a need for multiple types of forklift certifications to exist. In America, there are a total of three different types of forklift certifications. They are; Standard Forklift Certification , Order Picker Forklift Certification , and All Terrain Forklift Certification. These different certifications were created by the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA), and employees are only allowed to utilize forklifts that they’ve been certified to operate. Descriptions of the certifications and which lifts they cover is included below;
Standard Forklift Certification:
This is the broadest of the certifications, as it covers just about every forklift out there. With a standard certification, you are trained for each particular type and variation of forklift. As long as it falls under the standard forklift category, of course. Standard forklifts are:
- Sit-Down Forklifts
- Stand-Up Forklifts
- Narrow Forklifts
- Hand-Driven Forklifts
- Rough Terrain Forklifts
Those forklifts, be they electric or not, fall under the standard forklift category. As long as you’re certified for that specific type and variation, you can operate it!
Order Picker Forklift Certification:
This type of certification is probably the most unusual. This certification gives you the credentials to operate a lift that raises and lowers YOU and the load. Under the other certifications, you stay stationary while the load is being picked up or put down. The order picker certification provides safety training on a forklift that raises and lowers you and the load. There are just certain times where you have to be on the same level as the load so you can place and move stock.
All Terrain Forklift Certification:
This last type of certification does what the name implies! It permits the operator to handle the forklift on all terrains and in all types of weather. Commonly found on construction sites, these are usually used for moving bricks and other large items.
So now the big question, which certification is right for you? First, it depends on your job and what you need the forklift to perform. If you work on a construction site, or in an unpaved area of rugged terrain, get an All Terrain Certification. Should you work in a warehouse moving loads from spot to spot, a Standard Certification will probably do just fine. Find yourself in a warehouse with racked pallets, or materials high up, then you’ll probably need an Order Picker Certification. Second, ensure the company that hired you handles getting you the training you need. If not, then you should definitely inquire about proper certification for your safety as well as the company’s. Finally, it’s better to know these things for yourself than to take someone else’s word for it! Risking a safety violation because you don’t have the proper certification can be a costly mistake.