Inhouse trainer or outsourced consultant?
There are two key methods to train forklift operators at your company, and gain OSHA compliance. The first option is to get a manager or senior staff member at your company certified as a forklift trainer. This forklift train the trainer technique, allows certification of one of your staff to be a trainer. That way forklift training can be done in-house, on-demand, any time you need the service.
Or, you can hire a forklift trainer who will train your operators for you. There are plenty of companies that will do this for you. Simple call your local forklift dealer and ask about their forklift trainer training programs.
This first option can be highly cost effective strategy if you have a lot of forklift operators that need to become OSHA-certified.
For smaller companies, you’ll want to engage an outsourced training consultant, because you won’t need the frequency and availability of an on-site trainer, because pf low turn-over of your staff. I
However, there are several scenarios where you’d want to establish a forklift trainer in-house:
- Your company has many brands and models of forklift equipment
- Warehouse equipment is specialized, unique or unusual.
- Your operation has moderate or high staff turnover
Your in-house forklift trainer can respond quickly to training demands. You high an operator this week, and on his first day, your train can become available to get him trained and productive with little lag time. That is going to promote efficiency, going to be cost effective and for an operation that runs multiple shifts and is moving a lot of volume, you are going to want nothing in the way of getting the work done in your warehouse.
Forklift trainer classes are called ‘forklift train the trainer’ programs
Forklift train the trainer courses, as they are called, are typically held at off-site at the certification company’s location. You send your trainer candidate to the consultant and he or she gets trained at the outsourced training facility. That said, if you have the capacity and need to have multiple forklift trainers trained, then it can be cost effective to bring trainer training to your premises.
If you only need one or two forklift trainers, sending them out to a class will be cost effective. If you need multiple forklift trainers trained, then book a training provider to come to your location to conduct a class. It is more cost effective .
OSHA’s directives on forklift trainers
As you surely know, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is the government body that administers safety regulations in the warehouse. Surprisingly, it has little to say about forklift trainers.
Here is what it has to say about requirements: Regulation 29CFR1910.178(l)(2)(iii) says:
“All operator training and evaluation shall be conducted by persons who have the knowledge, training, and experience to train powered industrial truck operators and evaluate their competence.” You can see it here at OSHA.gov.
OSHA’s Compliance Directive CPL 2-1.28A adds to that as follows:
“An example of a qualified trainer would be a person who, by possession of a recognized degree, certificate, or professional standing, or who by knowledge, training and experience, has demonstrated the ability to train and evaluate powered industrial truck operators.”
OSHA also issued a letter of interpretation on forklift trainers. To paraphrase, it said: Forklift trainers must have competency and skills to operate a forklift before teaching others.
This, of course, is fairly self evident.
Who should you recruit for a forklift train the trainer certification
When selecting candidates as potential forklift trainers, here are some times to help you identity and vet them.
- The should express interest in the position. Don’t appoint someone who is not keen on the role.
- Choose someone who speaks and listens well, and has excellent verbal communication skills.
- Select some with a great safety record, is a veteran, and is respected in the company.
- A good forklift operator can make a good forklift trainer, so ensure the have good forklift skills.
- Select a personality who will work to enforce safety rules, and is not shy about it.
- Some with good organizational skills and who is likeable (or respected) and can manage people well.
- Basic computer skills are helpful as trainers tend to use PowerPoint or similar presentation software. They should also be able to write decent emails.
- If your candidate has coached a team at the workplace or externally, then they can make a good trainer.
Good forklift trainers are critical to forklift safety
Forklift trainers are key to operating a safe warehouse and forklift work premises. They will be your team that train and motivate company forklift operators and warehouse pedestrians to maintain safety practices. You will want them to keep an eye on daily operations as safety watchdogs. Respected forklift trainers will help staff work safely.
What to look for in forklift train the trainer programs
Selecting the right forklift training company is critical. Here are a few tips to ensure you get a high quality outfit that can ensure you trainers are the best the can be:
- Find a program that is conducted on a pass/fail basis. You want your trainers to develop competency and be tested for that.
- A good trainer training company will identify a good forklift trainer and can tell you if someone is unfit to become a trainer.
- Trainer courses should have a duration of at least two classroom days. Ask how much classroom time is offered in an program.
- Ask about what materials come with the course or if there are additional purchases necessary for the trainers beside the tuition fee. Be cautious of overpriced videos and training materials that will be offered separate from the classroom time.
- Forklift operators must be re-evaluated every three years, according to OSHA. Not so for trainers. Still, find out what refresher programs are available to keep your trainers current.
- Ensure the training company is will to keep you updated on important new training topics, as well as any change in regulations.
Keep your forklift trainers current
It is worth keeping your trainers polished on the latest techniques and equipment. So, keep them busy where possible. If you have a forklift training master in-house, it will only help your operation stay safe. There is no regulation on how often trainers should be trained. Still, common sense says keep them active as trainers and trained well themselves.
Who should I contact for forklift trainer training?
There are many companies that can serve your needs.
The company trains its certified forklift trainers to:
- Learn to establish work standards for safety and speed.
- Certify operators;
- Coach one-on-one;
- Design the coaching plan and learning materials from LIFTOR sample templates
- Ensure evaluations and tests are valid and reliable
- Impart real operator on-job skills;
- Get recognized for profound knowledge of forklift operator training.
- Stay in compliance with your government’s forklift regulations.
…Forklift dealers are great training consultants
Finally, you might call your forklift dealer. We recommend Arbor Material Handling to train your trainers in the eastern U.S. They are in the Philadelphia area. In Los Angeles, call Toyota Los Angeles for our forklift training needs. In San Francisco, and north to Washington and beyond to Alaska, call your local Crown dealer.