Do You Need a License for a Forklift in America?

forklift licenses

The short answer? Yes! There are several reasons that a forklift license is important. Along with this is the occupational safety and health administration that mandates – all operators of powered industrial trucks be involved in safety training classes. This is all part of the licensing and certification process. Further to this – the training and evaluation should be done just about every three years in order to maintain the license and its validity.

The importance of having a license is serious business as there are critical dangers that can arise from untrained persons operating the forklift.

The type of conditions and the operator of the forklift for the specific job also presents the requisite conditions that the applicable license is needed. There can be repercussions to using one of these pieces of equipment without the correct licensing. Having a license also shows that the respective operator has undergone the training needed to operate their forklift.

This also means the identification of and negating any hazards which may arise. Additionally acquiring the forklift license does not stop accidents from happening but acts to minimize the risk.

Operator Requirements

Forklift operators are responsible for operating the forklifts they drive. Each state has its own requirements and regulations regarding forklift operator training and licensing. Part of these regulations includes training on proper work practices such as how to load or unload a forklift safely.

Just be minded that you must be at least 18 years old in order to get your forklift license.

Do You Need a Drivers License?

A driver’s license is surprisingly not a prerequisite to operating a Forklift. Even though a person may not have a driver’s license it is still possible to gain a license for a forklift operator. This license remains valid in the USA for three years and if the forklift driver moves from one employer or contract to another the license will still remain valid.

Types of Forklifts these Licenses can Apply to

Rough terrain forklifts

offroad forkliftThis is used in industrial applications where bumps and uneven surfaces are encountered frequently. It requires methodical control to lift loads that are heavy, awkward, and bulky.

Hazardous materials forklifts

These are forklifts used to load and handle dangerous chemicals, powders, solids, flammable liquids, and gasses. While these may never be used in a residential area, they can be used in industrial and commercial locations. To ensure safety working around hazardous materials, the forklift operator must be licensed and have the proper personal protective equipment to handle such materials.

Pallet jacks

The use of pallet jacks is limited by certain regulations of OSHA. These are used for placing pallets on flat surfaces or other work at ground level such as a loading dock. A forklift with a flatbed uses this to load and unload heavy, bulky objects such as other parts.

Order pickers

This is used in warehouses, distribution, and receiving facilities as an efficient way to move heavy, bulky objects. It is used to lift pallets and cases off the ground and place them on the conveyor belt.

Stand-up forklifts

This is used for vertical lifting. It is commonly used in loading docks, warehouses and any other area that has vertical lifting requirements.

Sit-down forklifts

forkliftsThe forklift truck rides on a seat. The operator sits on the seat while they operate the forklift. These are commonly used in warehouses, distribution and receiving facilities and other indoor applications as well as outdoor applications with rolling off-premises.

Self-propelled lift trucks

The forklifts can be operated by a power drive system, electric motors or hydraulic power units (pumps). Self-propelled does not mean that the operator has to do everything by hand; it means that the vehicle moves by itself. It is normally used in manufacturing, industrial and warehousing applications since it is faster than pushing a pallet from one place to another using only hand strength to push manually.

Narrow-aisle forklifts

Narrow aisle forklifts are used in warehouses and industrial sites where long narrow aisles are used to load and unload materials. These are commonly used in large stores that require a small space for their inventory to be stored.

If you’re looking to purchase or rent a forklift, we can help!