Although the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) does not require forklift operators to have a driver’s license – having driving experience can certainly be helpful. Not only do many businesses require their forklift operators to have a valid driver’s license, but having one indicates that you have driving experience and subsequently you know how to maneuver a vehicle, accelerate, brake, steer using a wheel, back-up, understand traffic safety, handle heavy machinery, and possibly have some of the skills needed to safely operate a forklift.
Given that at American Forklift Training Centers, Inc. we take safety very seriously, we require our students to have experience driving a car as a prerequisite for forklift training. A slight forklift incident or accident can damage the equipment, destroy the load, and of course cause serious injuries to the operator and others – including fatalities. Accordingly, to prevent such consequences, we have set in place high standards for our forklift training programs, including having a driving experience as a prerequisite to forklift training. This requirement helps us further ensure that our students graduate with the skills, hands-on experience, and confidence to properly and safely operate a forklift.
That said, although we require driving experience as a prerequisite to forklift training, knowing how to drive a car doesn’t mean that you know how to operate a forklift. While there are similarities between a forklift and a car, there are also quite a few differences. For one, forklifts have different controls compared to a car. Second, they move differently. Third, not only are a forklift’s rear wheels used to steer, but forklift’s are heavier, and travel at a much slower rate. Fourth, forklift operators have to drive in reverse because the front view is generally obstructed. Fifth, forklifts aren’t as responsive as a car, since a forklift’s rear steering make it harder to stop a forklift quickly and swerve.
Therefore, not only is having driving experience recommended, but undergoing forklift training and earning your forklift certificate is necessary.
As alway, if you’d like to learn more about us, please call American Forklift Training Centers, Inc. today.