Aerial Lift, Forklift and Telehandler Operator Training Requirements

General Operator Training Standards

Only trained and authorized personnel should be permitted to operate an aerial lift (also known as a Mobile Elevating Work Platform or MEWP), an industrial forklift or a telehandler.

Instruction must include classroom training as well as hands on familiarization of the specific make and model of machine to be operated on the job.

Hands on Familiarization Requirements

Following classroom training and upon successful completion of the written test, all personnel must operate the machine in front of a qualified instructor for a sufficient period of time to demonstrate that he or she has gained the knowledge of all safety rules, controls and characteristics of the machine in the performance of their required duties.

Every operator is required to go through training a minimum of every 3 years. 

There are also reasons retraining may be required sooner than the 3 year interval including, but not limited to:

  • The operator's performance level has deteriorated.
  • The operator has gone an extended period of time without operating the machine.
  • The operator has been assigned to operate a machine with new or significantly different technology.
  • The operator has been involved in an accident or near miss incident.

Understanding your responsibilities as an owner, lessor, lessee, user (most often referred to as the employer) or operator of any of these industrial machines is critical to every company's safe use plan.

All Operators of MEWP's, Industrial Forklifts and Telehandlers must be "Competent" People

A competent person is one who is defined by OSHA as, "one who is capable of identifying existing and predictable hazards in the surroundings or working conditions which are unsanitary, hazardous or dangerous to employees, and who has authorization to take prompt corrective measures to eliminate them. [29 CFR 1926.32(f)]

General Operating Training Requirements

  • Only use the machine as it was intended.
  • Perform a pre-operation inspection of the machine every time it is put into service.
  • Perform function tests prior to use of all controls and safety devices of the specific machine to be operated.
  • Perform a workplace inspection prior to moving the machine, including a site risk assessment.

The same basic training requirements apply to operators of MEWP's, industrial forklifts and class 7 reach forklifts also known as telehandlers.

Additional Industrial Forklift Operator Requirements

In addition to the operator requirements listed above, industrial forklift operators are required to document the pre-operation inspection and function tests on a checklist each time the fork truck is put into service.

Additional MEWP Training Requirements

In the USA, ANSI A92 and in Canada, CSA B354 standards require training for anyone who supervises MEWP operators or is expected to be an occupant in an aerial lift platform.

A supervisor is defined as anyone who directs MEWP operators to do work.

An occupant is defined as anyone in the MEWP platform that has not been through comprehensive operator training. 

MEWP Supervisor Training Requirements

  • How to select the proper MEWP for the work to be performed.
  • The rules, regulations, and standards that apply to MEWP's, including the provisions for safe use, training and familiarization, and the work to be performed.
  • How to identify and avoid potential hazards associated with the operation of MEWP's.
  • Understanding that the operator's manual, the ANSI manual of responsibilities and any other safety manual delivered by the manufacturer are considered a permanent part of the machine and must remain in the weather resistant compartment on the platform when not in use.

MEWP Occupant Training Requirements

All MEWP operators must ensure that all occupants in the platform have a basic level of knowledge to work safely on the MEWP. This includes:

  • The requirement to use fall protection and the location of factory installed anchor points.
  • Factors including how their actions could affect stability.
  • The safe use of any accessories they are assigned to use.
  • Any site-specific work procedures occupants must follow related to MEWP operation.
  • Hazards related to the task at hand and their avoidance.
  • Manufacturers warnings and instructions.

At least one of the occupants must be provided with the knowledge of how to operate the platform controls in an emergency where the operator cannot.

Great emphasis is placed on comprehensive operator training because it significantly reduces job site hazards and accidents.

All companies are required by law to be in compliance with mandated operator training requirements, and it is critical to job site safety that you make the investment in a proper training program.

Contact Alexander Equipment today to schedule your operator safety classes.