How do I get my Forklift Operator Certification?

Feb 01 2022 | 2 Min. Read Training

For the safety of operators and other workers, OSHA requires forklift and MEWP operators to be certified before they operate the equipment. The employer is ultimately responsible for providing training programs since training must be tailored to each facility and equipment model. 

Training recommendations

Here are recommendations to keep in mind about training.

What OSHA requires

OSHA states that: “Training shall consist of a combination of formal instruction (e.g., lecture, discussion, interactive computer learning, videotape, written material), practical training (demonstrations performed by the trainer and practical exercises performed by the trainee), and evaluation of the operator's performance in the workplace. [29 CFR 1910.178(l)(2)(ii)]”.22

Formal instruction

This training component can be presented online, in a classroom, on videotape, or in written materials. It should cover basic knowledge of safety issues and best practices for daily operation of forklifts and MEWPs. A certificate of completion may be provided when this training component has been completed successfully.

In-person equipment-specific training

In-person forklift and MEWP training covers real-life applications and instruction for operating the specific equipment models used in the work environment. Since operators must be trained on the equipment that they’ll use, in the application(s) that are specific to that workplace, in-person training may include a number of pieces of equipment used in different areas.

Anyone who operates forklifts and/or MEWPs must be trained and certified for both the equipment type and the actual use. If jobs change, workers need to be recertified on the new equipment and how it’s used.

An operator is fully certified once she or he successfully demonstrates the ability to operate the specific equipment appropriately in the actual work environment.


Operators of forklifts and MEWPs should be recertified once every three years. If an operator is involved in a workplace incident involving their forklift or MEWP, he or she will need to be retrained and recertified. As noted previously, if a job changes workers need to be trained and recertified on the new equipment.

Transferring certification to a new employer

Unlike a drivers’ license, forklift/MEWP certification doesn’t follow wherever a worker goes. The formal instruction component transfers, but the operator must be trained and certified on the specifics of the new employer’s work environment and equipment.

Trust TrainMOR for your operator training

Forklift and MEWP operators need to be trained on a variety of operational and safety-related topics. In fact, training is mandated by OSHA. Your compliance is critical for your company and the safety and productivity of your employees.

When it comes to training operators on forklift and MEWP operation and safety, rely on TrainMOR. Contact us for information on our Mobile, Memorable, and Measurable training courses—available online, in classroom and on-site.

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