A forklift is undoubtedly an essential vehicle in most industries since it is a crucial part of logistics operations. Forklifts are present in a wide variety of businesses in diverse industries. They are essential equipment for the aggregation, classification, and handling of loads. So what should you do if you intend to become an operator? Can you operate a forklift without a license?

Read on to find the answers to all your concerns

What Does an Operator Do?

What Does an Operator Do

It is a job that needs agility, tactics, concentration, and sound judgment. The forklift machines transfer tons of loads with great ease, which often makes operators less confident and may trigger severe accidents. The biggest issue with forklifts is that they need continuous servicing and repair. Still, it is necessary to stress that this is not something the forklift operator needs to do, but technical personnel.

What Do You Need to Become a Forklift Operator?

If you want to perform this profession, you only need some will and should fulfill the below requirements.

1. Age

It is a simple prerequisite for an individual to have met the legal age of 18 years before being eligible to function as a driver for any company.

2. Training

It is a crucial step when you seek an answer to the question, ”Can you operate a forklift without a license?”. You must provide an affiliated document (a certificate, card, or diploma) provided by an accredited training body or an internal document prepared by the organization that ensures that you possess the minimum information required about the use, function, and regulations of the forklifts.

Training Course

For this training to be successful, it must be provided by an organization specialized in the field, with personnel who are qualified in the matter and are continually updated and informed on other related risks.

1. Theoretical Training

The theoretical paper addresses occupational risk management & protection and the roles, laws, and responsibilities related to an operator. You will learn about different types of forklifts, their significant features, and how to maintain them (although that is not the operator’s responsibility).

2. Practical Training

Even if you want to operate a forklift without a license, you need practical training. The practical part focuses on actual forklift driving and load carrying. Hence, it is one of the essential steps to becoming a successful forklift driver.

What OSHA Says About Driver’s License?

What OSHA Says About Driver’s License

As per OSHA or The US Safety and Health Administration, to operate powered industrial forklift vehicles, operators across the United States must obtain safety training beforehand. And the regulations may vary depending on the territory.

Why Certification?

Forklift-related incidents are mostly a result of negligence on the part of the operator or lack of experience with the equipment in question. Forklift training helps ensure that the operator is qualified and well-equipped to handle forklifts in their setting correctly.

What Does Study Say?

Studies suggest that companies that practice adequate forklift maintenance programs for their operators and conduct regular pre-shift checks are more likely to eliminate forklift injuries, which in turn help decrease their losses and expenses. Additionally, pre-shift inspections may help detect maintenance problems and thereby maximize the equipment’s life, operator efficiency, and ultimately minimize forklift downtime.

License or Certificate

License or Certificate

A forklift license is a certificate. The certificate proves that the person has undergone training and is eligible to drive the vehicle safely. An employer is responsible for ensuring the certification of the driver. You can’t operate a forklift without a license/certificate.

Certification Test

The applicant has to appear for a written test to demonstrate forklift operators’ skills and verify their training. However, conformity with OSHA is not a must, although you need to submit specific documentation to retain the certificate.

Note: An oral examination is sometimes one of the easiest methods for testing and evaluation of learners. Your state can permit a written examination to seek worker’s compensation.

In Case of Non Certification

So, what happens if you try to operate a forklift without a license? A judge may assess a penalty for failure to license forklift operators on a case-by-case basis. Fines differ with the severity of the citation. Penalties for breaches of OSHA’s 1910.178 requirements for processing and storing of materials can be relatively heavy. Fines will go up to $250,000, and even jail terms are likely in certain situations.

Wrapping Up

Those who have a current forklift safety license can operate a forklift vehicle, and the certification has to be updated every three years. According to federal OSHA laws, a person does not need a driver’s license to run a forklift truck.

An employer should ensure all employees, a clean and secure workplace, free of avoidable dangers.

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