3 Year Refresher Training: why do it?


Why do we re-evaluate our forklift operators at 3 years? Well first of all it’s the law. Yes, OSHA mandates this under the power industrial truck standard


1910.178(l)(4)(iii)  An evaluation of each powered industrial truck operator’s performance shall be conducted at least once every three years.


But what is the reasoning behind it? OSHA feels that re-evaluating your operators every 3 yrs. helps to re-enforce the safety aspects they learned in their initial training. OSHA feels that sometimes an operator forgets what he/she learned in their initial training 3 years before.  As operators most of us tend to learn from our initial training then as time goes on, we start to skip safe steps to get a job done quicker, or we get complacent and we feel we don’t need to do all those safety steps that we learned. Then as we continue on over time an accident happens. As I tell all my classes, “you can do and unsafe act once, twice maybe a hundred times, but you are working on luck and luck eventually runs out.”  So, re-enforcing the safety aspects of operating a forklift can go a long way to help cut down on accidents.


What are some ways employers accomplish refresher training? Some will watch their operators driving as they do their job and then after watching them for a few minutes, go over what they feel the operator needs additional training on. That is one way you can do it, I am more of a fan of having a classroom setting and highlighting certain unsafe acts that I have seen my operators do in the past 3 yrs. Also I like to bring up any accidents that have occurred in the past 3 yrs. not just in my facility, but in my branches or at our customer locations and give solutions to preventing these accidents from happening again. I also will give a short 10 question quiz and do a hands-on. Always document any training that you do, remember you can train but if you never document it, then in OSHA’s eyes the training never occurred.


So go back and look at your records was your initial forklift training done 3 yrs. ago or longer? Then get on board and start to do your 3 yr. re-evaluations.  Have you had any new hires in-between that you have not done their initial training yet? Then take the time to train them. You can do this training yourself, Thompson & Johnson offers a Train the Trainers course where we can develop one or more trainers in your company. This will help you to do training as your schedule allows instead of putting the whole facility down when you hire out. But whether you do it yourself or you hire out,  get this mandatory training done, it’s the law!


Be Safe,

Dave Bennett

Forklift Safety Trainer/ EH&S Mgr.

Thompson & Johnson Eq. Co. Inc.