California Forklift Training Requirements


If you’re operating forklifts in California, you may be wondering what the state’s forklift training requirements are and how to get certified. Operating a powered industrial truck such as a forklift is no small task and must be done safely and according to OSHA regulations in order to avoid accidents, injuries, or even death.

Forklift operators need to be properly trained and certified before they can operate these vehicles on the job. This blog post will cover the necessary steps for completing California Forklift Training Requirements so that you can stay safe and compliant while working with powered industrial trucks. Keep reading to learn more about getting certified in California. The State does have it’s own State Specific OSHA plan called Cal/OSHA and they oversee all safety training requirements.

Overview Of California Forklift Certificate Requirements

Forklift operation is a popular job in California, and employers need to understand the requirements for operating these powerful machines. Whether you operate them yourself or have employees do it, California state law mandates certain safety training requirements for forklift operators.

Here, we’ll discuss all of the major aspects of obtaining a California Forklift Certificate. Read on to learn about the key training and certification requirements necessary to operate a forklift in The Golden State legally.

Forklift Certification Requirements

Forklift certification is required by law in California for any worker operating a powered industrial truck. All operators must have completed the necessary training and evaluation to be certified and meet all minimum age requirements before obtaining their license.

Training must include both classroom and practical instruction on the proper operation of forklifts, with an emphasis on safety and accident prevention. Specific details regarding each type of forklift being operated should also be included in operator training programs. 

In order to obtain a valid certificate, operators must complete formal instruction provided by a qualified instructor, followed by a written exam that covers workplace-related topics such as safe operating practices and working environment hazards associated with forklift use.

Additionally, employers must provide practical hands-on training so that workers are familiarized with operating their particular forklifts in an actual work environment. Refresher courses should be held regularly for those who are already certified in order to keep them up-to-date on new laws and regulations related to the industry.

Training Requirements

In order to become a certified forklift operator in California, employers must comply with state and federal training requirements for operators. Training must include classroom instruction on workplace-related topics such as hazard awareness and operating the truck safely and efficiently.

It also requires practical training in an actual work environment offsite from the facility where the forklifts will be used. This includes being evaluated on their operator’s performance before the successful completion of certification. 

Furthermore, all trainees must pass a written exam that tests their knowledge of OSHA regulations regarding safe operation. The exams typically cover proper training and usage of equipment, hazard avoidance, near miss reporting, and other workplace-related topics. It is important to note that refresher courses may need to be taken every three years, depending on an employer’s policies or industry regulatory guidelines.

Certification Process

In California, becoming a certified forklift operator requires the successful completion of both formal instruction and a hands-on evaluation. This process usually includes classroom teaching on workplace safety topics, such as the safe operation of powered industrial trucks, hazardous materials handling, and pre-operational inspection procedures.

Afterward, practical training will be done in an actual work environment in order to evaluate the operator’s performance. Refresher courses may also be required every few years for properly trained and certified forklift operators.

Minimum Age Requirements

Under California’s forklift requirements, operators must be at least 18 years old. Companies must also ensure that their operators have passed a medical exam and participate in an operator evaluation before they are allowed to operate a lift truck.

Operators who fail the evaluation or do not meet minimum age requirements cannot receive certification until they pass all required assessments. Employers should also ensure their operators are properly trained on how to safely use powered industrial trucks, as well as relevant workplace-related topics such as general safety regulations and near-miss prevention.

This helps to reduce the liability of employers and prevent accidents from occurring in the workplace.

Refresher Training

Refresher training is an important component of forklift certification in California. It’s designed to help operators review and refresh their knowledge of the regulations, safety requirements, and workplace-related topics needed for proper operation.

Refresher courses typically consist of a classroom-style lecture and/or hands-on training at an offsite facility which allows for a focused evaluation of the operator’s performance within an actual work environment.

This approach helps ensure that operators properly trained and certified with up-to-date information on safe operation can keep business owners compliant with OSHA regulations in order to decrease liability risks, increase efficiency, improve job opportunities, and ultimately save lives.

California State Laws On Forklift Training

California has specific laws and regulations in place that govern forklift training and certification, including general safety requirements, written notices of training, and operator training rules.

General Safety Requirements

Paragraph 1: Properly trained and certified forklift operators are critical for safely operating any type of powered industrial truck in California. Operators must be aware of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations, as well as have a clear understanding of what it takes to operate this type of equipment properly. 

Paragraph 2: California’s employers must ensure their personnel receives the proper safety training before they can legally use lift trucks or order pickers in actual work environments. Training topics should include near-miss scenarios, emergency response strategies, and workplace-related topics that may arise while operating forklifts. 

Paragraph 3: Employers should also provide refresher courses every three years to keep employees up-to-date on OSHA standards and forklift operations. Refresher courses should review all aspects of operating the equipment including how to avoid accidents or even death due to improper operation or lack of knowledge in certain areas such as hazardous materials handling techniques or confined space rules among other subjects.

Written Notice Of Training

Written notice of training is one of the requirements for forklift operators in California. To comply with state regulations, employers must provide written information to employees about the training they will receive and any additional safety protocols they must adhere to while operating a forklift. 

Employers should also keep records related to their staff’s forklift training, including documents such as course material, proof of successful completion, operator evaluation forms and other documents that demonstrate an employee has been properly trained and certified in order to operate a lift truck safely. This ensures that all staff members are knowledgeable when it comes to the safe operation of industrial equipment. 

California law requires operators to complete both classroom instruction as well as practical hands-on experience in actual work environments before being given proper certification. Refresher courses may also be required every three years or after certain instances, such as near misses or accidents involving powered industrial trucks.

Training Requirements For Operators

Proper and safe operation of forklifts requires operators to be trained in the design particularities of their lift truck, as well as federal and state laws related to workplace safety.

To obtain a certificate that proves they have been properly trained and certified to operate a powered industrial truck (PIT), workers must complete formal instruction, practical training, and evaluation at an offsite facility or on the job, followed by passing a written exam.

This is especially important in California, where employers are legally required to ensure all employees involved with operating forklifts are properly trained before allowing them to handle these powerful machines.

Popular Cities For Forklift Training In California

California offers numerous cities for forklift training, including Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, Sacramento, Oakland, and more.

Los Angeles

Los Angeles, the largest city in California, is one of the state’s top destinations for forklift training. It offers a wide range of certified courses from reputable organizations such as the Industrial Truck Association (ITA).

Offering both classroom-based and hands-on programs for forklift operators, these classes are tailored to meet every budget and skill level. Moreover, Los Angeles has access to a variety of specialized Forklift Training Centers that can provide essential guidance in proper handling and safety procedures.

San Diego

San Diego is a great place to obtain your forklift certification in California. The city’s temperate climate and unparalleled venues make it an ideal setting for both training and job opportunities.

It also has several reputable private companies that offer comprehensive, cost-effective forklift training classes designed to meet the latest regulations and standards in accordance with Cal OSHA laws.

Companies like Sky High Industrial Training are available to help new entrants gain their license quickly while providing high-quality instruction in the safe operation of equipment like electric walkie stackers, stand-up counterbalance lifts, narrow aisle turret trucks, order pickers, and more.

After completing the program, any student will be ready to operate any type of lift truck safely behind the wheel or working on the shop floor.

San Francisco

San Francisco is a great city for forklift training. The city has a range of training facilities, experienced instructors, and competitive prices to choose from.

Workers can complete the necessary requirements to obtain their certification in just one-weekend course or a more comprehensive program based on individual needs. Companies have also chosen San Francisco as the best place for their workers to become certified due to its rich cultural background, diverse workforce, and world-renowned educational institutions.

Additionally, skilled trainers are available throughout the Bay Area so companies can ensure they receive quality instruction from an expert in the field before issuing certifications.


Sacramento is a popular city in California for forklift training. In Sacramento, there are many certified and specialized businesses that offer various types of forklift operator classes.

These classes usually include safety protocol instruction, OSHA requirements, and basic driving instructions to help prepare individuals for their certification exams. Also offered are private on-site programs tailored according to business needs or individual learning styles.

Students will also benefit from the support services available such as job placement assistance and tutoring if needed. Additionally, classroom sessions can be attended online should remote learners require it for better convenience.


Oakland is a popular city for forklift training in California. It has quickly gained recognition as one of the best places to get certified due to its convenient location and access to quality instructors.

Oakland offers a wide array of programs at all experience levels, from beginner classes to advanced courses focusing on forklifts’ safety and proper operation. The city also hosts several specialized certification programs designed specifically for warehouse operators or those who need extra refresher courses.

Those who complete their training in Oakland will be rewarded with an OSHA-approved certificate that can help boost job prospects or support career advancement.

Types Of Forklift Training Courses

offer a variety of training courses, including Operator Training, Train the Trainer, Refresher Training, Maintenance Training, and Hazard Awareness.

Operator Training

Operator Training is essential for those who want to learn how to operate a forklift safely and efficiently in the workplace. It provides training on basic operations, handling of hazardous materials, loading/unloading techniques, as well as instruction on proper maintenance and preventive care. Operator Training also provides an overview of OSHA regulations regarding safe operation practices.

Train The Trainer

Train the Trainer is a course designed to equip forklift instructors with the skills, knowledge and practical experience necessary to provide safe and effective instruction. This type of training is essential for employers who want their employees to become qualified operators of powered industrial trucks such as order pickers and other specialized forklifts.

Train the Trainer courses to cover topics such as hazard recognition and prevention, teaching methodology, workplace-related topics, classroom etiquette, record-keeping requirements, and more. The instructor also receives hands-on training in order to be well-versed in operating all types of forklifts in actual work environments.

Refresher Training

Refresher training is essential for forklift operators to stay abreast of changes in equipment and safety regulations. All licensed operators must take refresher courses every three years to retain their certifications.

Refresher courses are also important for experienced operators as they can help prevent accidents due to incorrect or outdated procedures. The refresher course should cover all the material from the original forklift operator license and provide hands-on, practical instruction with updated materials that address new technologies, industry standards, or other relevant workplace-related topics.

Maintenance Training

Maintenance Training provides instruction on proper maintenance techniques for forklifts and other powered industrial trucks. It also teaches operators about preventive maintenance, troubleshooting, best practices for frequently performing repairs, and safety protocols to follow when conducting maintenance on lift truck systems.

This course usually takes place in a classroom setting with a detailed look at all parts of the lift truck and how they interact with each other. Maintenance training courses cover topics such as fuel types, safety features, functional parts of the machine, battery charging methods, diagnosis of common faults, and more general knowledge about operating powered equipment safely.

Refresher Course

Refresher courses are a great way to stay up to date on forklift safety protocol and other related topics. Refresher courses provide an overview of material covered in the initial training and refreshers on newer protocols and methods that may have developed since then.

Participants receive hands-on instruction in a safe environment while learning proper operation techniques, near-miss prevention and workplace-related topics. They can be held at an offsite facility or at your own location with one of our trained instructors leading the course. 

Refresher courses help employees retain their skills, keep them confident with operating machinery and showcase new workplace trends and technologies such as wireless connectivity for inventory-keeping purposes.

Refresher certification is also beneficial when hiring seasonal workers who need to be quickly re-educated before they can begin working alone on the floor or even when hiring experienced operators from another organization where processes might differ from yours.

Refresher Certification

Refresher Certification is important for forklift operators to refresh and maintain the skills necessary for safe operation. Refresher courses are designed to review or introduce the operator to new topics related to the workplace, such as near-miss incidents, material handling techniques, and safety regulations.

The course also covers how to operate forklifts in different conditions and environments properly. Participants learn best practices through activities and hands-on training at offsite facilities. Upon successful completion of the refresher course, trainees receive a certification proving they have been adequately trained in operating forklifts according to OSHA standards.

Hazard Awareness

Hazard awareness is an integral part of operating a forklift safely. Training courses cover topics such as how to recognize potential hazards in your work environment, how to control them and what actions should be taken if an accident happens.

It is essential that operators know the signs of a potentially hazardous situation and understand how to act swiftly in order to ensure their safety as well as the safety of other workers. Additionally, knowledgeable trainers will teach operators about proper maintenance practices so that hazardous situations can be avoided in the future.

Materials Needed

For proper forklift training, employers must provide manuals and operator evaluation forms to all trainees.

Training Manuals

Training manuals are a necessary resource for operators to review, understand and properly use when operating forklifts. These manuals provide detailed information on the operation of different models and instructions for maintenance, safety practices, and general knowledge about the equipment.

Training manuals also include diagrams that illustrate best practices for performing forklift-related tasks such as loading materials, turning corners or safely navigating tight spaces. The manuals should be up-to-date with any new regulations regarding the proper operation of powered industrial trucks. Having access to training manuals is essential in providing employees with comprehensive instruction on safe operations so they can work productively in their job roles.

Operator Evaluation Forms

Operator Evaluation Forms are a critical part of California Forklift Training Requirements. They provide employers with feedback on operator performance and help ensure that employees are properly trained and certified to operate forklifts safely.

Such forms include details about operators’ knowledge, skills, abilities, attitudes, and behaviors related to workplace safety topics and the successful completion of their job duties. Employers must use Operator Evaluation Forms in order to maintain an up-to-date record of training status for all employees operating forklifts in the workplace.

How To Get Certified In California

Getting a forklift certification in California is simple! All you need to do is contact the National Forklift Foundation, complete formal instruction, and receive practical training and evaluation. Read on to learn more about this essential process.

Contact The National Forklift Foundation


Forklift operators play an important role in many industries, and they must be properly trained and certified to operate one safely. The State of California requires that all forklift operators have a certificate verifying their training and certification in order to legally operate a lift truck.

With the right materials, right instructor, and the right course, you can become a licensed forklift operator in no time. Now get started on your journey to becoming a certified forklift operator by contacting the National Forklift Foundation for more information about what you need to know and do.

Complete Formal Instruction

Formal instruction is essential to becoming a certified forklift operator in California. It requires that potential operators attend and complete classes designed to provide the knowledge and skills required to safely operate forklifts in the workplace.

This training provides learners with a comprehensive understanding of CAL/OSHA regulations, safety protocols, vehicle operations, loading techniques, maintenance procedures, hazard awareness and more. The formal classroom instruction typically takes place at offsite facilities so as not to disturb other operations within the business.

Receive Practical Training And Evaluation

Practical training is an important part of the certification process in California. It includes hands-on training and allows operators to practice safe operating techniques onsite or at an offsite facility, under the watchful eye of a qualified instructor.

During practical training, operators should be evaluated on their ability to properly maneuver a forklift and their knowledge of any workplace-related topics associated with operating forklifts. 

Operator performance should be monitored periodically during practical evaluation and retraining may be required if any deficiencies are identified. The employer must carefully document all practical operator evaluations and certify that each operator has successfully completed the required refresher courses and can operate the powered industrial truck safely in their actual work environment.

Benefits Of California Forklift Training

Learning the proper way to use forklifts can lead to a variety of benefits, including reduced liability risk, enhanced safety, and increased job opportunities. Read on to find out more about California’s Forklift Training requirements!

Reduced Liability Risk

Reduced liability risk is one of the primary benefits of getting forklift training in California. By ensuring that operators are properly trained and certified, employers can reduce their exposure to lawsuits or other legal actions in case of an accident on the job.

Additionally, with all employees properly trained and informed about OSHA requirements for operating heavy machinery, businesses can avoid penalties associated with non-compliance.

Enhanced Safety

Enhanced safety is one of the main benefits of undergoing proper California forklift training. It teaches operators to use the equipment safely at all times, reducing the risk of accidents in workplaces involving powered industrial trucks.

Training includes classroom instruction as well as practical experience in an actual work environment, allowing workers to become comfortable and confident operating their lift truck safely. Employees are trained in areas such as safe steering techniques, load capacity limits, proper pace selection and hazardous situation awareness.

With this knowledge, they will be equipped with the necessary skills to prevent injury or even death due to incorrect operation procedures on a forklift. This will also reduce liability risks for employers who have taken adequate steps toward making sure that their staff has been properly trained and certified for their jobs using lift trucks within California requirements.

Increased Efficiency

The efficient and safe operation of a forklift is essential for businesses to operate successfully. Certification in California requires operators to receive adequate training so they can correctly operate the machines and maximize their efficiency. With proper instruction, operators learn how to use the gear shifters, brakes, controls, and attachments safely and efficiently, which leads to improved performance when operating powered industrial trucks. 

By investing in proper training for their employees, businesses can ensure that their entire team has the correct skills needed to handle materials with minimal effort and time properly safely.

This saves time and money since an inexperienced operator may take longer or cause accidents that would be expensive to fix or replace any damaged property. Certified operators will also know all current laws which help protect both personnel and employers from potential lawsuits resulting from improper practices regarding forklifts in workplaces. 

Businesses should also look into refresher courses periodically as laws frequently change along with technologies used on new lift truck models requiring special procedures for different tasks.

Updated knowledge helps keep employees updated while helping companies stay compliant with all regulations set by OSHA, resulting in increased productivity levels across the board.

Improved Skills And Productivity

Improved skills and productivity are two of the most direct benefits of California forklift certification. Operators who complete proper training will not only understand safe operations but also develop more efficient tools and techniques.

Certification can improve an operator’s speed and accuracy with less risk of an on-the-job injury or damage to equipment. That increased confidence often leads to improved performance in the workplace, leading to gains in both worker wages and company profits. Additionally, employers benefit from knowing that their staff is properly trained and certified in accordance with OSHA standards for powered industrial vehicles.

Increased Job Opportunities

Having the proper forklift certification in California can open up a whole new realm of job opportunities. With the right set of skills, employers will be more likely to hire trained and certified candidates who can demonstrate their knowledge and experience in operating forklifts safely and efficiently.

Those forklift operators who are properly trained and certified also have access to higher-paying jobs as they become more sought after due to their expertise in this area. Employers trust those with the correct certification, knowing that they have been properly trained on how to operate a forklift correctly and safely, which helps reduce the potential for accidents or even death in the workplace.


California forklift training requirements are essential for the safety of employees, employers, and the public. With proper certification and instruction, operators can significantly reduce liability risk by enhancing their skills through improved safety and efficiency.

Employers have an obligation to ensure that workers are properly trained in order to protect their own interests as well as comply with regulations set forth by California state laws. Companies should invest in comprehensive training courses that include classroom instruction, practical evaluation, and hands-on experience to enable all involved parties to operate forklifts safely. By investing in quality forklift training programs, businesses will ultimately benefit from reduced accidents and greater job opportunities for certified personnel.