If you've found your way to this article, it's probably because you, one of your employees or someone close to you would like to become a forklift operator. In that case, there are a number of steps you'll need to take before you can legally drive a forklift. According to the Occupational Health and Safety Act (also known as OHSA), only a 'competent' individual with a valid forklift operator's license may legally operate a forklift in Canada. But what, exactly, does that mean? How do you become a licensed operator? How do you qualify as a competent individual?
While OHSA and government bodies such as Ontario's Ministry of Labour (also known as the MOL) regulate and enforce forklift operator training requirements, no one associated with establishing and enforcing these regulations are directly involved with the operator certification process. Instead, it is ultimately the responsibility of an employer to make sure all of their operators meet the legal requirements for operating a forklift in Ontario.
Fortunately, there are a number of ways for businesses to train their forklift operators. Among the most popular methods include developing an internal training program, on-site or off-site training by a qualified 3rd party provider and online training courses (theoretical only). The first portion of the certification process is what's known as operator safety awareness training, which covers the theoretical portion of the certification process. According to OHSA/CSA standard B335-15, all operators must pass a knowledge verification quiz after reviewing the following safety material:
Everyone that achieves a passing grade in the knowledge verification quiz receives a certification card (often referred to as a 'forklift license'). With this in hand, operators may proceed to the practical component of the operator training process where they will acquire the practical skills and experience necessary to qualify as a competent operator. Here, it is the employer's responsibility to ensure that each operator is trained to operate the lift truck(s) they will encounter on a day-to-day basis by an industry expert. Specifically, operators must demonstrate that they can regularly perform the following procedures in a manner consistent with competence standards:
"As can be seen on the Ministry of Labour's website, there are countless tasks that must be performed by an operator to be considered competent. However, as far as practical training is concerned, only those aspects that are applicable to a given work environment need be covered," noted Ed Cook, Lucas' operator training instructor.
Are you ready to get certified? Book your spot in our next forklift operator training course below:
To fully ensure you're in compliance with provincial and federal regulations, we strongly recommend that operators receive their theoretical certification in-person, whether it is at a dealership or on-site, rather than using an online training service. As noted above, employers are obligated to ensure that their employees qualify as 'competent' if they are to operate a lift truck within the workplace. Since the onus is on employers to ensure compliance, it makes sense to use a more trustworthy and reliable educational format (i.e., in-person training sessions) rather than trusting a faceless and impersonal piece of online software.
"With online training courses, there's no way to verify that a potential operator has reviewed all of the material or legitimately passed the knowledge verification quiz as required by law," commented Ed Cook. In other words, the loose and informal format of an online training course means that there's no way to ensure an individual reviewed every portion of the knowledge base or completed their examination without assistance from other online resources or another individual.
Despite the widespread availability of online operator training courses, there are distinct advantages to in-person operator training courses that should be considered before booking online such as:
Beyond ensuring legal compliance and improving workplace safety, there are a number of ways that business can benefit from high quality operator training:
The benefits of a professional certification course aren't limited to businesses. As an individual, you'll gain the following:
As you can see, there are myriad reasons to pursue an in-person certification course at a reputable and established dealership or training facility. Fortunately, we know just such a place! At Lucas, our theoretical operator training course consists of a 4-5 hour session led by an instructor with over 20 years of experience in the lift truck industry. With hundreds of courses under his belt, you can be confident that Ed Cook will deliver on all of the benefits mentioned above. So, whether you're an individual looking to get certified for the first time or a large corporate group looking for on-site training, we've got you covered!
I attended Lucas' operator training course when I got certified for the first time almost 3 years ago and had a great experience. As someone with limited experience in the industry at the time, I was pleasantly surprised by how easy the material was to pick up and I imagine the biggest reason for that was how it was delivered. Ed Cook - the instructor - was very knowledgeable and personable, which made it easy for everyone to stay engaged throughout the 4 hour course. I came to this article because I need to renew my certification in a few weeks and I'll definitely book with Lucas again - I always recommend Lucas' course whenever someone mentions that they need to get certified.
Hi James, we're very happy to hear you enjoyed our on-site operator course and will be back for re-certification!
The store that I'm working at wants me to get certified on a forklift so I can help in the stockroom, and I didn't really understand how to do that before now. We don't have an internal training program like you mentioned, so it's good to know that the training will be covered in the process of certification. I'll be sure to talk to my manager about finding a training and certification program, or else maybe do some online research to see if anyone is doing programs in my area.