How to Get Your Forklift License

Driving a forklift is a serious job because it involves serious risks to personnel, inventory and buildings. OSHA is the federal government’s workplace safety watchdog. One of their regulations is that all forklift operators must complete a training and certification program to ensure that they can be safe operators of industrial lift trucks. (They also must be recertified every three years.) 

Here are the steps you need to take in order to get your forklift operator license. 


Formal Instruction

The formal instruction phase involves classroom-style learning. This can be conducted in-person, online, or a combination of the two. According to OSHA this can include “lecture, discussion, interactive computer learning, video, and/or written materials covering forklift operation and safety best practices.” 


Hands-On Training and Evaluation

This phase involves witnessing demonstrations performed by the trainer (this is usually someone who works for your employer or prospective employer) along with practical exercises performed by you, the operator trainee, under supervision by your trainer.


Employer Certification

In the final stage of this process, your employer will 1) confirm that you have received the proper training, and 2) evaluate your performance as you operate a forklift in their work environment. If they are satisfied with your abilities, they certify you, and you’re ready to go. 


The license certifies you to operate the following types of forklift:

  • 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

In your training, your employer will have you focus on the lift trucks they will need you to operate, and the tasks you’ll be expected to perform, while getting to know your work environment and protocols. This may include:

  • How to work safely around pedestrians in the workplace
  • Forklift capacity, stability, steering, maneuvering, and visibility 
  • How to construct, transport, stack, and unstack loads
  • Pre-shift inspections and any maintenance you will be required to perform
  • How forklift attachments work
  • How to charge batteries (electric trucks) and/or refuel (internal combustion trucks) 
  • How to safely operate a fork truck on different surface conditions, ramps, and slopes

If you’re interested in forklift sales, rentals or training, come and talk to us at Ring Power Lift Trucks. For 60 years, our locally-owned and operated business has provided superior products and the newest technology in forklifts, exceeding our customers’ expectations. With 14 convenient locations throughout Florida, Ring Power Corporation has become one of the largest Caterpillar® dealers in the Southeastern United States because of our dedication to customer service. Whether you need to buy a new or used forklift, or you’d prefer a short-term or long-term forklift rental, we’re here for you. We also supply forklift parts and service in north and central Florida for every make and model of forklift.  Call 877.544.5438 or visit our website for more information.



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