Washington State University
Environmental Health & Safety Practical Forklift Training

Practical Forklift Training

The practical (operating the forklift) training requirement is met by each operator being trained by a department operator who has the knowledge, training and experience to train and evaluate operators.  Practical training consists of forklift operation demonstrations done by the trainer and practical exercises performed by the trainee, while under direct supervision.

The training demonstrations and practical exercises are to be specific to the forklift(s) the employee will operate, the conditions where the forklift(s) will be used, and tasks the employee will be required to perform.  The forklift operator evaluations can be documented on this form.

Required practical training topics include topics related to the forklift and workplace:

Topics related to the forklift

  • Manufacturer’s operating instructions
  • Warnings and precautions for the types of forklifts the operator will be authorized to operate
  • Differences between the forklift and automobile
  • Forklift controls and instrumentation.  Where they are located, what they do, and how they work
  • Engine or motor operation
  • Steering and maneuvering
  • Visibility (including restrictions due to loading)
  • Fork and attachment adaptation, operation, and use limitations
  • Forklift capacity & stability
  • Any inspection and maintenance the operator will be required to perform
  • Refueling
  • Charging and recharging batteries
  • Operating limitations

Topics related to the workplace

  • Surface conditions where the forklift will be operated
  • Composition of loads to be carried and load stability
  • Load manipulation, stacking, and unstacking
  • Pedestrian traffic in areas where the forklift will be operated
  • Narrow aisles and other restricted places where the forklift will be operated
  • Use of door opening and closing devices
  • Hazardous (classified) locations where the forklift will be operated
  • Ramps and other sloped surfaces that could affect the forklift’s stability
  • Closed environment and other areas where insufficient ventilation or poor forklift maintenance could cause a build-up of carbon monoxide or diesel exhaust
  • Other unique or potentially hazardous environmental conditions in the workplace that could affect safe operation

Departments are to evaluate forklift operators at least once every three years.  The evaluation consists of observing the forklift operator conducting routine tasks to determine if the operator is performing safely.


Forklift Operator Training and Evaluation Form