How Long Does Forklift Certification Last?

How long does forklift certification last? In line with OSHA regulations, all forklift drivers must have their training evaluated and refreshed every 3 years. That’s true whether you live in California or elsewhere in the United States.

Why Does Forklift Certification Only Last 3 Years?

OSHA continuously unrolls safety updates. This is in an effort to reduce the chances of your business being affected by forklift-related accidents – ones that can result in lost productivity at best. And injury at worst. 

OSHA’s requirements could change yearly. By the time your 3 year-refresher rolls around, you could be unaware of key safety updates that affect and protect your workplace. 

That’s why OSHA’s 3-year certification policy remains in place. And also why you shouldn’t expect this renewal requirement to disappear any time soon.

What Do I Need to Know About OSHA’s Forklift Recertification Requirements?

OSHA cited 1,922 violations related to powered industrial trucks last year. Of those violations, a majority of them addressed:

      • Unsafe operation of powered industrial vehicles
      • Improper/poorly executed refresher training
      • Insufficient operator evaluation/refresher training

A majority of those 1,922 citations also came with a classification of “Serious,” which carries a $15,625 per violation maximum penalty fine from OSHA.

If you think that forklift operator recertification is cut and dry: it’s time to think again.

A refresher course may be required before the 3-year period is up if one or more of the following scenarios occurs. A failure to anticipate or respond to these scenarios can lead to OSHA citations, as well as the possible related fines.

Scenarios that require an earlier incidence of forklift operator recertification include (according to OSHA):
      • The forklift operator operates the vehicle in a manner that is seen as unsafe
      • An accident or near-accident has occurred with the forklift operator involved
      • The forklift operator intends to operate a different type of truck
      • An early evaluation of the forklift operator has exposed unsafe practices
      • Conditions in the workplace have changed in a significant enough manner to affect safe operation of the vehicle

How to Easily Renew Your Forklift Operator Training Certification

You’ll find several options available for renewing your forklift training certificate.

If you have an in-house training program with a certified in-house forklift trainer who is knowledgeable about the latest OSHA safety updates, your evaluation can be performed easily at your workplace.

(Want to have an in-house forklift trainer for ease of certification and evaluation? If you’re in the Northern or Central California area, discover more about getting an in-house forklift training program here.)

If you don’t have an OSHA certified in-house trainer, it’s time to look toward outside training programs. 

The highest standard of renewal comes through hands-on forklift training programs like those offered through this forklift training certification in Northern and Central California.

In just a few hours, in-person programs will give you hands-on training that covers OSHA’s newest safety standards. So that you are able to protect yourself from unseen injury. As well as protect the efficient operations of your workplace.

You may also find forklift operator training programs that offer opportunities for online renewal. However, there are a few things to know before choosing this method of initial forklift certification or forklift certification renewal.

Online Forklift Certification: What to Know

Online training programs initially seem like a quick and convenient way for getting forklift drivers certified. However, these online options can come with several drawbacks.

The biggest? You’re likely to see a disclaimer as soon as you enter your course, one that looks something like this:

“We make no guarantee that this course conforms to recommended procedures in your facility. Conforms to federal, state, or local laws that govern operation. Or that the information in this course is accurate or applicable to your facility’s operation or a forklift operator’s personal situation.”

Why can’t these online forklift certification programs promise that you’re learning everything you need to safely operate a forklift without injury or accident? 

Through these courses, you’re able to perform your certification test online. However, you won’t get the hands-on experience of safely exploring OSHA’s latest safety requirements.

Or the support of an expert team of forklift trainers who help you sharpen your forklift operation skills while making your warehouse environment the safest and most efficient it can be.

Your Forklift Certification Evaluation: What It’s Like for Online Forklift Certification Courses

You’ll hear a lot about convenience when exploring online options for forklift certification. But you should know: your forklift recertification requires a practical on-site hands-on evaluation as well as your written test.

This necessary on-site hands-on evaluation cuts into the promised convenience of these programs. Because it still forces you to go to an on-site location to complete your certification with a qualified evaluator.

Speaking of that on-site evaluation: you should know that the assessment required by these online programs is just that — an evaluation. It will validate your knowledge of materials covered, but will not ensure your ability to safely operate a forklift without accident of injury. 

A true recertification and evaluation can only be accomplished through a certified hands-on safety training program. Where you will also be exposed to the most recent updates to OSHA’s safety standards with a knowledgeable expert.

Your Best and Most Trusted Options for Forklift Recertification

The highest standard of renewal comes through hands-on forklift training programs like those offered through this forklift training certification in Northern and Central California.

Though an online forklift certification program might look tempting at first, you shouldn’t make your decision lightly.

Remember: you still need to obtain a hands-on assessment to be fully certified per OSHA standards. That’s true whether you take a class online or learn the most up-to-date OSHA safety and efficiency guidelines from an expert in-person team.

OSHA estimates that 25% of forklift-related accidents come as a result of inadequate operator training.

When it comes to inadequate training, stakes are high. Both for you and your workplace. 

OSHA fines for inadequate training can range between $7,000-$70,000. 

Not to mention the property/product damage, liabilities, and high insurance premiums that can cut into your bottom line. Or the risk of forklift operator injuries that lead to a worst-case scenario in any workplace.

So when the question How long does forklift certification last? starts being asked around your workplace, it’s worth carefully choosing the experts you choose to help with your evaluation and recertification process. 

Choosing a recertification program that knows the ins-and-outs of all of OSHA’s newest safety standards can make a huge difference when it comes to safety and efficiency of your operations.

Especially when that program comes backed by the kind of on-site expertise you need to confidently operate a forklift without accident or injury.