OSHA, the Occupational Health and Safety Administration, is a United States Department of Labor agency created by Congress to ensure safe working conditions in the U.S. Forklifts fall under OSHA’s powered industrial trucks section of their website.
OSHA ensures safe environments for workers by setting standards and enforcing them. They also provide training, education, and assistance to companies to help them be in compliance with OSHA standards. This includes companies that use forklifts and other powered industrial trucks (PIT’s) in their day to day operations.
OSHA sets federal standards and many states set and implement their own standards based on federal OSHA guidelines, amongst other things, to get drivers certified. There are federal standards in place for the general industry, marine terminals, and the longshoring industry.
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) is responsible for investigating forklift-related deaths. They have found that many forklift operators, as well as many management at companies, have not been fully aware of the risks of operating or working near forklifts. By not adapting and enforcing OSHA guidelines and or forklift manufacturer guidelines, accidents continue to be reported on a regular basis.
It is federal and/or state law in the U.S. to follow OSHA guidelines and properly train and certify all forklift and powered industrial trucks operators. Not only do companies save money when safety is a given top priority, they also save lives.
If your company does not have an OSHA approved forklift training and certification process in place, management needs to be made aware immediately. If you are a forklift driver looking for a job, you’ll increase your chances of finding gainful employment in your area no matter what state you live in, from Florida to California, and from Texas to Michigan.
There are many local forklift training facilities that you can get trained, certified and licensed at, as well as many online forklift certification sites. Costs range from about fifty dollars to a few hundred dollars. Your best bet is to shop around not only for the price, but for the best training you can find.