Forklift operation is a very in-demand occupation. Experts expect that the need for this job will increase by 7% by 2028. But like any job, you’ve got to ask questions. 

Inquiries like, “How old must you be to operate a forklift?” and “How can I become forklift certified?” are crucial.

This guide will help prepare you for a few realities of becoming a lift driver. Read on below for a list of forklift operator FAQs. 

How Old Must You Be to Operate a Forklift?

The quick answer is that you must be 18 years old. But, there are exceptions to this rule. There are federal laws determining the age a person must be and the situation in which they can become forklift certified. 

If this sounds complicated, here is a basic breakdown. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) has rules protecting minors from exploitation in work environments. 

Typically, you must be at least 18, but 17-year-olds can drive motor vehicles (and forklifts) under certain circumstances.

Does Forklift Operation Need Licensing?

There is no such thing as a “forklift license,” rather you become forklift certified. The difference is that licenses come from government offices. Certifications are awarded for meeting specific criteria to do a skill.

How Can I Become Forklift Certified?

You can take an in-person or online OSHA course. These courses are provided by colleges, universities, vocational schools, or local companies. 

Am I Certified Forever Once I Can Drive a Forklift?

There is no such thing as a “forever certification” for lift operation. OSHA states that the driver is only certified if: 

  • They maintain a safe driving record
    • Accidents, near-misses, and lack of safety can void certification
    • Evaluations revealing unsafe driving can also void certification
  • They keep driving the same forklift
  • There are no changes in workplace¬†operation
    • New workplace rules and regulations may require new training

How Often Do Workers Need Forklift Training?

Every forklift operator must take a refresher course at least every three years. This training is the employer’s responsibility regardless of whether it’s in-house or through an outside firm. 

How Long Do Forklift Training Classes Take?

Lift training usually takes one to two days. Each class may run from six to eight hours and combine classroom learning and hands-on forklift driving. 

When Does a Forklift Need Replacing?

If your forklift still works, it likely doesn’t need replacing. However, you should keep in mind the 50% Rule. Said rule states that if repairing something is greater than 50% of its cost, you should replace it. 

Do You Want to Become Forklift Certified?

Never be afraid to ask questions about your work. At best, you’ll waste your time without proper information. At worst, you risk harsh penalties.

Now that you know how old must you be to operate a forklift, you can begin the path to becoming a certified forklift operator. Superior Industrial Products is an independent forklift equipment, rental, and training provider. 

You’ll learn everything you need from our OSHA-certified courses. Contact us for more information about class times and schedules.