The first iteration of a forklift was developed in 1923 when a company added “forks” to a truck to help pick up and move heavy objects. Forklifts have come a long way since then. Depending on the location, type of materials being used or how long it’s used for will all impact what type of forklift best suits your needs.
Not only that, but it’s important for forklift operators to receive a forklift certificate so that they can learn the proper way to operate, drive and maintain a forklift. We’re going to explore the pros and cons of three main types of forklifts and in what situations they’re most beneficial.
Sit down forklifts tend to be faster and have a higher capacity than other types of forklifts. This makes it great for larger distribution or warehouse centers where operators are moving large amounts of materials across longer distances.
Stand-up forklifts are also sometimes known as stand-on or electric riders. This type of forklift is great for maneuvering smaller spaces because it’s shorter and more narrow than the traditional sit down forklifts. It’s also great for instances where the operator will need to get on and off frequently, and unique due to the fact that the operator faces sideways rather than head-on while driving.
Pallet jacks are used as an alternative to forklifts for small loads that need to be moved shorter distances. There are both manual and electric options available depending on how frequently they’re used.
When exploring the options available to complete your OSHA forklift certification, it’s important to make sure that the course covers these types of forklifts as well as the other primary classes of forklifts. The seven classes of forklifts are:
Class 1: Electric Motor Rider Trucks
Class 2: Electric Motor Narrow Aisle Trucks
Class 3: Electric Motor Hand Trucks or Hand/Rider Trucks
Class 4: Internal Combustion Engine Trucks (Solid/Cushion Tires)
Class 5: Internal Combustion Engine Trucks (Pneumatic Tires)
Class 6: Electric and Internal Combustion Engine Tractors
Class 7: Rough Terrain Forklift Trucks
Not all forklift certificates are created equal. It’s important to research the training and certification to ensure it covers the type of forklifts you’ll be operating. In some cases, it may be necessary to take specialty courses if those are required for your job. When getting started or if you’re looking for a job, getting a forklift certificate that covers classes one through seven is a great place to start.