OSHA Requires Forklift Operators in to be Trained

Forklift training is an OSHA requirement for any business utilizing forklifts in their daily operations. Businesses that fail to adhere to the OSHA requirements risk heavy fines. For example, if a single violation is classified as serious, it can cost a company $13,494. Repeat violations cost even more.

Avoiding OSHA fines is not the only reason to ensure that your forklift operators are properly trained and certified. The purpose of OSHA guidelines is to prevent serious injuries and deaths.  The OSHA Standards are the road map to achieving that.

Forklift Safety Training San Francisco as Required by OSHA

The OSHA Standard 1910.178 – Powered Industrial Trucks covers all the requirements for companies using forklifts, including the training requirements for personnel who will operate the forklifts.

The OSHA guidelines for Forklift Training include such things as operating instructions, warnings, and precautions for the types of truck the operator will be authorized to operate. They also include truck controls and instrumentation. They also include how to safely operate the powered industrial truck, and much more. The requirements are comprehensive.

In section 1910.178(l)(4) the Forklift Safety Training Refresher Course requirements are laid out:

The Operator has:


An evaluation of each powered industrial truck operator’s performance shall be conducted at least once every three years.

Certified Forklift TrainingROI Safety Services is California’s Trusted Provider

ROI Safety Services has been providing two forklift safety training & certification courses for businesses in San Francisco.  If you’d like more information on our programs, please click here.

Forklift Safety Training FAQs

Does OSHA require powered industrial forklift operators to have a valid driver’s license?

OSHA does not require that a forklift operator in San Francisco to have a valid driver’s license. Their requirements are focused only on forklift operations. Simply put, to operate a forklift, the operator must be trained and evaluated every three years. The employer must have a record documenting that the driver has successfully completed the training. That is the only operating “license” required by OSHA.

Is a vision/hearing test required before an employee may operate a forklift?

The OSHA’s powered industrial truck standard does not specifically address vision/hearing requirements for operators. However, even though Federal OSHA doesn’t specifically address it in the regulation, there are obviously some potential concerns and safety issues and these need to be evaluated in light of the specific operations.

In fact, OSHA has issued a letter of interpretation stating that an employer must determine if full vision is mandatory for the operations and advises that appropriate medical personnel be consulted.

And, OSHA has issued other interpretations addressing both visually and hearing impaired potential forklift operators. In general, OSHA states that it considers physical impairments on a case-by-case basis. If the employer can show that a physically impaired employee would be a danger to himself and other employees when operating equipment such as a forklift, the employer has the right to not allow that employee to become a forklift operator in San Francisco. If the employer knew this fact but allowed the employee to operate the vehicle, OSHA could cite under the General Duty Clause, which guarantees all employees a safe and healthful workplace – free of known hazards.

ROI Safety Services does not train individuals, only companies and their employees.