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Why do you need a drivers license to operate a forklift?

I interviewed for a position at an equipment rental facility in the small engine repair dept. and part of the requirements was a valid drivers license to legally operate the forklift. The one forklift that I saw while at the facility was nothing special. It was a small jeep, propane fueled, maybe a 3 speed Hitachi. Anyway, nobody is driving this jalopy down any street. It does not require state registration or licensing (license plates) to be legally operated on our highways and roads, and my 6 year old niece could figure out how to operate it. So why does one need a valid state drivers license to operate it? It has to come down to money but I can’t figure who benefits? OSHA? Insurance? What then?

The company benefits, because it keeps them from accidentally hiring someone who lost his or her driver’s license for driving drunk, and is likely to drive the forklift drunk, and crash it.

The company benefits, because it keeps them from accidentally hiring someone who never had a license, and therefore does not have enough experience driving to be able to operate a forklift safely.

Even for a person who does have a valid license and has been driving for years, it is very hard to drive a forklift safely. Home Depot used to lose millions of dollars when they let the customers drive the forklifts, because some of the customers could not do so correctly (I guess you are saying that the adults who shop at Home Depot are not as smart as your niece) and crashed into the other customers, who were injured and sued Home Depot, or crashed into the racks of merchandise, causing merchandise to fall onto other customers, who were injured and sued Home Depot.

Yes, it does come down to money. It comes down to saving millions of dollars in lawsuits that would result if an unlicensed driver crashed a forklift.

4 Responses to “Why do you need a drivers license to operate a forklift?”

  1. Books Says:

    You don’t need a drivers license to operate a forklift or other type of machinery that doesn’t normally use public roads. You frequently see farm vehicles on roads and they don’t even have license plates. None required and no drivers license required either.
    The company may require a drivers license or special training for you to use operate a forklift or other type of equipment and they are within their rights to do so but the state does not require one. Unfortunately, a very common problem with forklifts and other driver type of machinery is that young people tend to pretend they’re formula 500 race cars and have accidents. As a matter of self-preservation a company may require training or other methods to encourage safe operation. This could include a drivers license. Usually they’d require you to be at least 18 as well. I think that an OSHA requirement.
    References :

  2. robin y Says:

    to prove your competance
    References :

  3. StephenWeinstein Says:

    The company benefits, because it keeps them from accidentally hiring someone who lost his or her driver’s license for driving drunk, and is likely to drive the forklift drunk, and crash it.

    The company benefits, because it keeps them from accidentally hiring someone who never had a license, and therefore does not have enough experience driving to be able to operate a forklift safely.

    Even for a person who does have a valid license and has been driving for years, it is very hard to drive a forklift safely. Home Depot used to lose millions of dollars when they let the customers drive the forklifts, because some of the customers could not do so correctly (I guess you are saying that the adults who shop at Home Depot are not as smart as your niece) and crashed into the other customers, who were injured and sued Home Depot, or crashed into the racks of merchandise, causing merchandise to fall onto other customers, who were injured and sued Home Depot.

    Yes, it does come down to money. It comes down to saving millions of dollars in lawsuits that would result if an unlicensed driver crashed a forklift.
    References :

  4. olddog0558 Says:

    OSHA requires that, in order to protect the health and welfare of employees and the public in general, any person hired to operate power equipment must be properly trained and certified to operate that equipment in a safe manner.

    It’s really not a big deal, and a lot of places offer training at little or no cost. Even people who work in grocery stores have to be trained and certified to operate the little power jacks they use to unload the delivery trucks.
    References :

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