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Forklift operation

Intro to Forklift : Chapter 2

Forklift Operation

By the end of this module, you should be able to:

Explain the requirement of a forklift certification.

Explain the safety and inspection of a forklift.

Demonstrate the operation of a forklift. Skip to quiz!


According to Occupational Safety and Health Administration, generally called OSHA standard 1910.178: Employers must ensure that all forklift operators are properly trained and certified. You must complete formal instruction, practical training, and a performance evaluation to earn your certification.

It is similar to a car license test, where you must first undergo training and pass the exam or certification test. Training topics provided by OSHA include operation instructions, warnings and precautions, steering and maneuvering, load capacity, inspections, maintenance, and many more.

There are multiple classes depending on the type of forklift.

US Forklift Certification Course Lineup:

  • Class I: Electric motor rider trucks

  • Class II: Electric motor narrow aisle trucks

  • Class III: Electric motor hand trucks or hand/rider trucks

  • Class IV: Internal combustion engine trucks (solid/cushion tires)

  • Class V: Internal combustion engine trucks (pneumatic tires)

  • Class VI: Electric and internal combustion engine tractors

  • Class VII: Rough terrain forklift trucks

US forklift operator training certification courses are divided into three categories such as:

  • Warehouse Forklifts, Classes, 1, 4, 5

  • Pallet Jacks and Order Pickers, Classes 2, 3

  • Rough Terrain Forklifts, Class 7

For a qualified Trainer/Evaluator Certification, you must pass the test.

Warehouse Forklifts, Classes 1, 4, and 5 include Electric Motor Rider Trucks, Internal Combustion Engine Trucks-Cushion Tires, and Internal Combustion Engine Trucks-Pneumatic Tires. All of these classes are for sit-down rider fork, gasoline or LPG (liquefied petroleum gas, ex. propane), regular fork, and counterbalanced lifts. A great option for new employees and retraining veteran operators on newly acquired equipment!

Pallet Jacks and Order Pickers, Classes 2 and 3 include High-lift straddle, Order pickers, Side loaders, turret trucks, low lift platforms, Low lift walkie pallets, Reach type outrigger, and more! Rough Terrain Forklifts, Class 7 includes electric and Internal Combustion Engine Tractor operators. Let's watch a video to better understand each class of forklift.

Forklift Safety

Before operating, one should protect their well-being and the safety of others by remembering these safety tips:

  • Only operate a forklift if you are authorized to do so.

  • Become familiar with the features and functions of each forklift you operate.

  • Give your forklift a thorough operational check each shift.

  • Only use approved forklifts in designated areas and locations.

  • Do not allow a pedestrian to pass under the forks or attachment of your forklift.

  • Assume the responsibility for keeping your forklift under control at all times.

  • Know your travel routes, that there is overhead clearance, that the bridge plates are secure, and that the warehouse and trailer floors are sufficiently strong.

  • Do not allow anyone to ride on your forklift as a passenger.

  • Never engage in reckless driving or horseplay.

  • Protect your arms, legs, and other body parts by keeping them within the forklift and overhead guard area.

  • Obey the rule against eating or drinking while driving so your full attention can be on your work.

  • Pick up a load only when you are sure it is stable.

  • Know and do not exceed the rated load capacity of your forklift.

  • Be responsible for your forklift—never leave it unattended.

  • Protect yourself by observing the “NO SMOKING” rule at refueling and recharging stations.

Almost all counterbalanced powered industrial trucks have a three-point suspension system; the vehicle is supported at three points. A pivot pin in the axle’s center is attached to the truck's steer axle. When the points are connected with imaginary lines, this three-point support forms a triangle called the stability triangle.

Powered Industrial Truck (PIT) Operator Training Program Outline. It is designed to assist trainers in providing sufficient operator training, as required by the OSHA-powered industrial truck standard.

The entire training program is a combination of both formal and practical training. Therefore, it is suggested that you are trained in a classroom along with practical application on a powered industrial truck in a common setting.

Introduction: The program aims to provide training based on the trainee’s prior knowledge, the types of vehicles used in the workplace, and the workplace hazards. The course will utilize videos, group discussions, and hands-on practice. Through training you should obtain the knowledge and skills to operate a forklift safely and effectively.

Types, features, and physics: Here, you will learn the following:

  • The basic types and functions of powered industrial trucks,

  • Read the forklift’s data plate,

  • The critical truck measurements that affect safety, and

The forces that cause tip-overs and the truck design considerations and safety ratings that help prevent them, including the stability triangle.

Inspecting the vehicle: Here, you will learn the following:

  • The purpose and importance of preoperational checkouts,

  • Areas covered during a preoperational checkout, and

  • The checklist for preoperational checkouts and what to do if a problem is discovered.

Driving the truck: Here, you will learn the following:

  • The elements of safe movement of a powered industrial truck,

  • The differences between an automobile and a powered industrial truck, and

  • Recognize the safety hazards associated with operating a powered industrial truck.

Load handling: Here, you will learn the following:

  • The elements of load-lifting safety, and

  • The safe operating procedures for raising and lowering loads in aisles.

LPG for lift trucks: Here, you will learn the following:

  • What LPG is and what its properties are.

  • The elements and procedures of safely refueling internal combustion vehicles.

  • Fuel tank components and maintenance including service, surge, relief valves, etc.

  • Related safety issues.

Battery and charging: Here, you will learn the following:

  • The elements and procedures of safely changing and charging batteries,

  • Filling procedures and maintenance, and

  • Related safety issues.

Safety concerns: Here, you will learn the following:

  • Review/reinforce the potential of serious injury, and

  • Review/reinforce safety procedures in your facility.

Specific truck and workplace training/hands-on: Here, you will learn the following:

  • Features of specific PITs (also known as Powered Industrial Trucks) to be operated,

  • Operating procedures of specific PITs to be operated,

  • Safety concerns of specific PITs to be operated,

  • Workplace conditions and safety concerns of areas where you will operate PITs,

  • The actual operation of specific PITs to be operated and specific workplace conditions where PITs will be operated.

  • Performing the powered industrial truck operator duties specific to the trainee’s position and workplace conditions.

At the end of the course, you will be provided a certificate of completion. Let’s watch a video to learn how to read a forklift data plate and the preoperational checkouts

Forklifts are like cars in some ways. They have a steering wheel, a foot pedal to go faster, and four wheels. But there are big differences too. One difference is how forklifts turn. A forklift turns using its back wheels, which lets it turn in a much smaller space than a car. But this also makes the back end of the forklift swing wider than a car in tight corners.

Another difference is how stable the vehicle is. A forklift only has three points of stability (front wheels and center of back axle) while a car has four points. This makes it easier for a forklift to tip over.

Forklifts are not as quick or solid as cars when stopping, turning, or going fast, especially when they are carrying something heavy. They are also twice or thrice heavier than an average car, which makes tipping over even more dangerous.

There are multiple training classes depending on the type of forklift. These are Class I to Class VII. Before operating a forklift, you should protect your well-being and the safety of others. Forklifts are powerful vehicles that require attention and care when learning and operating them.


Question #1: Which authority provides forklifts license?

  1. OSHA

  2. USHA

  3. FDA

  4. WHO

Scroll down for the answer...

Answer: OSHA

OSHA provides a forklift license.


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