frequently-asked-questionsHere is a list of frequently asked questions (FAQs) relating to powered industrial equipment, (e.g., forklifts, aerial lifts and loaders) their operations, and training. We've also included FAQs on our Train the Trainer Programs,  operator training materials and training aids, administrative topics and our TrainTrak™ Operator Recertification Reminder System.

Click a topic below to view our Frequently Asked Questions on that subject!


Why do I need training to operate a forklift, aerial lift or loader?

A powered industrial equipment operator must be trained to safely operate the equipment they use in order to avoid and/or minimize damage to the equipment or the products they handle and, most of all, avoid causing death or serious injury to themselves and/or others. Occupational Safety & Health regulations across Canada and USA, as well as equipment manufacturer’s instructions, require equipment operators be trained and found competent to operate the equipment they are assigned to operate before using it.

I’m an individual looking for work and need operator training, can I get trained through IVES?

No, because operator training and evaluation include equipment and site -specific requirements we do not provide operator training outside of the workplace.

How long are equipment operator credentials good for?

It depends on where you are located. By regulation, forklift operators in the USA and most of Canada must be re-evaluated every three years but in some parts of Canada it can be as often as every two years. When using equipment other than forklifts, the requirements for retraining do not include a specific time frame but IVES recommends adopting the same schedule applicable to forklifts.

My forklift operator credentials have expired, can I still operate the equipment?

No, similar to an automobile driver’s license, you must ensure it is renewed before it expires. There is no grace period.

How long does forklift operator training take?

The time required to train powered industrial equipment operators varies depending on how many trainees are involved in the class and what their experience level is. IVES can usually complete a class with eight experienced operators in one day, or two days with beginner operators. However, this does not automatically mean that all trainees are successful in passing the programs, particularly in the case of beginners where extended periods of time for operational practice is occasionally needed. This is also the case with other equipment like aerials and loaders but we usually lower the maximum enrollment ax to 6 for loaders or scissor lift trainees and only 4 for aerial boomlift trainees. It is worth noting here that IVES recommends new in-house trainers limit class sizes to 4 to begin with. More trainees can be added as the trainer’s confidence and abilities grow.

How long do forklift operator refresher classes take?

The number of operators in a class determines how long it will take, but a maximum of 12 operators can be done in a full eight hour day.

Is my operator certification valid if I move to a different state, province or company?

No, it is not. Operator training is closely tied to the specific type(s) of machinery you are qualified to use as well as to the specific tasks you perform and the environment you work within. Even if you went to another location and used the same type of equipment you were qualified for and did the same tasks in the same environment, your new employer would still have to evaluate you on the equipment on site. Also, different regulatory requirements and company policies could come into play as you move between companies and states/provinces. You would need to be knowledgeable with these differences before you could be considered trained/competent to operate.

Are there any age restrictions for operators of powered mobile equipment?

In the USA, OSHA does not allow anyone under the age of 18 to operate "motor vehicles" in the performance of their work. This would include forklifts, aerial lifts and loaders. View more details here: http://webapps.dol.gov/elaws/whd/flsa/docs/haznonag.asp


Does it matter who I get my trainer qualifications from?

Yes! IVES Training Group is the leader in mobile equipment training, largely because, unlike so many others, IVES is dedicated solely to powered industrial equipment training. It is the core of our existence and we do nothing else. We’ve trained tens of thousands of equipment trainers who, in turn, have trained hundreds of thousands of operators. The four pillars upon which the IVES Training System™ stands are Integrity, Value, Expertise and Support. The fact that everyone from multi-national conglomerates, to mom and pop shops, to state and federal regulatory agencies call on IVES when they need powered industrial equipment training for operators, trainers and supervisors is clear testimony that IVES has these attributes in abundance.

Is your training officially recognized by any regulatory agencies like OSHA?

No. Regulatory agencies do not officially recognize or endorse any private training providers or programs. However, all our programs are regulatory compliant in that they meet or exceed the requirements of federal and state/provincial regulatory agencies (like OSHA and ESDC) and the industry standards they reference (like ANSI and CSA).

Is your training OSSA (Oil Sands Safety Association) certified?

No, our program isn’t OSSA certified, however we do have clients who have used our program materials within OSSA certified training courses.

I want to attend a training program. Where is your office?

Our offices are located in Blaine, Washington, USA and Surrey, British Columbia, Canada. These offices are strictly administrative operations; we do not conduct training there. Check out our Offices page for more information.

Where are the programs held?

We have locations across the USA and Canada where we deliver Trainer Programs (click here for a list of training locations) or we can deliver programs at your company. Operator training programs are delivered exclusively on-site at a client's facility using their own equipment.

Do you offer online training?

No, our programs are always instructor-led and involve both classroom and hands-on training.

Can I get CEUs (Continuing Education Units) through your program?

No, unfortunately our programs are not eligible for CEU credit.

Will attending a Train the Trainer Program give me the knowledge to train operators?

Yes! In our Trainer Program you will learn everything you need to know about training, evaluating and documenting operators of powered industrial equipment such as forklifts, aerial lifts and loaders.

Can I attend a Train the Trainer Program and then train other trainers at my company?

No, successful completion of our Trainer Program enables you to train operators only not other trainers.

How long does a Train the Trainer program take?

Our shortest programs take two days. From there they can go as long as five days depending on how many types of equipment have to be addressed and how many trainees are in the class. Click here for more information.

You don’t have a location near me. Can my company book an on-site program?

Absolutely, we travel all over the country to deliver training wherever our clients are located! On-Site Programs can be customized to specifically suit your needs. Request a Custom On-Site Program here!

What type of payment do you accept for registration?

We accept Visa, MasterCard and American Express. Companies with an existing account may use Purchase Orders. Companies who would like to set up an account can fill out a credit application.

Can I show up for the program and pay with cash or check?

Sorry, but no, we need payment for registration in advance of the program.

Are there any pre-course requirements?

Yes. We mail out the Operator Reference Manual(s) for the equipment involved approximately 3-4 weeks prior to the program for review and completion. Each manual takes approximately 2-3 hours to review and complete.

What should I bring to my Train the Trainer program?

Bring your completed pre-course Operator Reference Manual(s) with you on Day 1. Also, wear something comfortable and weather appropriate as you will be outdoors working with the equipment. If there is a PPE requirement, there will be a note in your email confirmation.

When will I receive my program documentation and trainer credentials?

Upon successful completion of the program you will receive an Interim Certificate of Completion on the last day to serve as proof of completion until receiving your final documents and credentials (official Certificate of Completion and Trainer ID Wallet Card) in the mail. We try our best to get completed program documentation sent out 3-4 weeks following a program.

How long will I be certified for as an IVES Trainer?

Certification lasts for 3 years for IVES Certified Trainers and then you are asked to attend a 1-day Trainer Recertification Program.

Is my Trainer Certification transferrable from state to state/province to province?

Yes, when you attend an IVES Trainer Certification Program you can take it with you wherever you go. Of course, if you are training in a state or province where you are unfamiliar with the specific regional regulatory requirements, you will need to familiarize yourself with them before delivering any operator training.

Are qualified Aerial Boomlift trainers able to teach employees on scissor lifts without having to go through scissor lift training/certification?

A competent/qualified trainer must be have the specific knowledge training and experience to train operators and evaluate their competence.

If the person conducting the training on your scissor lift is knowledgeable on the technical ins and outs of the equipment and knows how to train effectively then there is no need to go through additional training.

However, if an existing IVES Certified Trainer wishes to be recognized by IVES as a scissor lift operator trainer, then he/she would have to successfully complete an IVES Certified Trainer Upgrade Program.

I’ve lost my trainer wallet card and certificate, can I get replacements?

Yes, as long as it was IVES who issued them originally we would are happy to issue replacement trainer credentials. Send us a request via our online “Contact Us” form or call 1-800-643-1144.


Where does my training material/product order ship from?

In the USA, all orders ship from Blaine, Washington. In Canada, all orders ship from Surrey, British Columbia.

Can I purchase just operator tests and cards?

No, operator theory tests and cards come as part of our complete Operator Compliance and/or Recertification Packages. These packages include an operator reference manual, theory test, evaluation forms, record sheet, certificate of completion and wallet card.

I just completed a Train the Trainer program and was told I get a $100 discount. Can I apply this to any order?

No. The $100 discount is exclusively applicable to our Trainer Power Packs which is a package that includes Operator Compliance Packages along with many useful training/visual aids. The discount offer is valid for 30 days following completion of your program. If you place your order online, you will not see the discount reflected in the price but don’t worry, it will be applied automatically.

Where can I find refresher/recertification materials for loaders or excavators?

Sorry, at this time we do not have refresher/recertification materials available for loaders or excavators. You may use Operator Compliance Packages to facilitate that training.

Do you have training materials in Spanish or French?

Yes, we have select Operator Compliance Packages and Recertification Materials in both Spanish and French. We also have select DVDs and our Forklift Slide Presentation CDs in Spanish.

Is there a template for the wallet cards and certificates?

Yes, you can download those from the “Downloadable Materials & Updates” section in the Member Dashboard area of our website.

How do I access my Digital Training Aid?

To download or view your Digital Training Aid, sign in to the IVES website and go to the Member Dashboard. Click “My Digital Training Aids” on the left hand menu. If you purchased a Downloadable version, you will need to download the file to the computer you will be using for training. If you purchased the Browser Viewable version, simply click “View” to the left of your DTA and the file will open in a new window in your internet browser.


Can I update my contact information online?

Yes, if you would like to update your personal information you may do so by logging in to the Member Dashboard and updating your Personal Profile. If you need to make changes to your Company's information, please call at 1-800-643-1144 and we will be happy to help update your account records.


Do I get IVES Member Pricing?

If you are an IVES Certified Trainer you will receive IVES Member Pricing on all training aids and materials.


Can I change my login email address and password?

Yes, you can do that when you are logged in to the Member Dashboard by clicking the "Change Password" or "Change Email" under the "Security" section on the left hand menu.


I don't know what my password is. How do I reset it?

If you don't know your password, you can click the "Forgot Password" button on the "Sign In" page and an email will be sent to you with the information you need to sign in.


How do I add a new operator to TrainTrak?

1. Click "Add Operator" to get started.

2. If the Operator Company is the same, click next. If they are from a different location, click the magnifying glass to look up an account. If the account doesn't exist in our records, click the + button to create a new account.

3. Enter the Operator and Manager information by using the magnifying glass to look up an existing contact or click the + button to add a new contact.

4. Enter the operator's Certification Number, Equipment, and Certification Date.

5. Agree to the terms and click Next to complete the entry.

An operator I entered into my TrainTrak has left the company. How do I stop the notifications for that operator?

If an operator leaves your company and you no longer want to receive reminder emails for them, just search for their record using the TrainTrak Certification Report and then choose "Delete" from the drop down menu on the right hand side of the record.

Can I edit an operator record that I previously entered into my TrainTrak?

No, you can't edit the operator's record once you've submitted it. You will need to delete the record and re-enter it correctly if changes to the operator's information need to be made.

The Manager/Supervisor associated with our TrainTrak records is no longer valid. Can I update this?

Yes, you can update the manager associated with your records, however it must be done per operator. Simply go to the Certification Report, click "View Details" of the operator you wish to update and either look up a different manager or create a new manager record.

When will I receive the TrainTrak reminder email?

Reminder emails are sent 90 days and then again 30 days prior to the operator’s expiry date and will be sent to the operator, trainer and supervisor or other person responsible for ensuring the recertification/refresher training is completed. 


This list addresses some commonly asked questions associated with forklifts and their operation. The primary reference sources of the information in this document are the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), WorkSafe BC (WSBC) Occupational Health and Safety Regulation (OHSR), general industry and construction regulations. In the interest of clarity, we have elected to paraphrase the regulations in plain language rather than quoting them directly.

In addition to OSHA and WorkSafeBC regulations, we must all be aware of several other factors that influence the design, construction, use, maintenance and operation of forklifts. Some of these are:

  • General Duty – This regulation outlines the requirement for employers to provide and maintain a workplace that is free from recognized hazards that can, or could, cause death or serious injury to a worker. General duty applies regardless of whether there is a specific regulation in place relating to the job.
  • Manufacturer's Instructions – Every manufacturer provides an operating/service manual for each specific piece of equipment they build that provides information on its safe use and maintenance. OSHA expects equipment users to follow the manufacturer's instructions.
  • Sound Safety Practices – Sometimes referred to as “due diligence,” this wording often appears in regulations and standards promoting the idea that whatever needs to be done to identify, minimize and/or eliminate hazards in the workplace, should be done.
  • Industry Standards that are referenced by regulation – Compliance with standards is voluntary, but there are some standards that are referenced by regulation that OSHA and WSBC say we must comply with.
  • Company Policies – These are developed, implemented and enforced by the employer that exceed regulation and are enforceable by regulation.

Now, answers to some frequently asked questions:

Can anyone weld on or modify an aerial lift guard rail?

Modifications or alterations to any aerial platform shall be made only with prior written permission of the manufacturer or the endorsement of a Professional Engineer.

How long can fork extensions be?

According to ANSI B56.1, fork extensions must not be longer than 150% of the supporting forks length. For example, if you start with 48 inch (4-ft.) forks the maximum length extensions you could use would be 72 inches (6-ft.). Basically, you can only use extensions that add no more than one half of the original (supporting) fork’s length.

Do enclosed cabs require a rear view mirror?

There is no specific requirement for rear view mirrors in enclosed cabs. However, in general rear view mirrors are required any time the operator’s vision to the rear of the equipment is restricted/obstructed. If the cab restricts and/or obstructs the operator’s rearward vision then a rear view mirror should be used. NOTE: Rear view mirrors are required in some regulatory jurisdictions such as British Columbia Canada. Check your provincial/state regulations.

Are there any regulations pertaining to headroom/height clearance for a forklift that is operated by a large operator?

There are no regulations or standards that define what amount of headroom is necessary. The current ANSI B56.1 standard states that there must be a minimum of 890mm (35 inches) of clearance between the operator’s seat and the underside of the overhead guard during normal operation but that’s as close as it gets to mentioning anything about clearances relative to the overhead guard.

Is it permissible to use a propane cylinder that is usually mounted in a vertical position on a forklift, on a JLG aerial lift that has tanks that are mounted horizontally? How can you tell if a cylinder should be mounted vertically or horizontally?

For the proper usage of the propane cylinders check with your propane handler/supplier and/or the manufacturer of the cylinder.

Most propane cylinders today can be mounted in either a vertical or horizontal position. A quick and easy way to tell is to look at the liquid level gauge on the cylinder head and see if it has level indicators for both vertical and horizontal positioning. If it doesn’t, then only use the cylinder where it can be mounted in the position indicated.

I have been asked to recertify a bunch of guys who do not have their original operator documentation. Is this OK or do I need to have them attend an operator certification program?

If you cannot verify through documentation that the initial training occurred then you must conclude that it did not happen at all and provide it. Refresher/recertification training means nothing without documented evidence of initial training.


This list addresses some commonly asked questions associated with forklifts and their operation. The primary reference sources of the information in this document are the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), general industry and construction regulations. In the interest of clarity, we have elected to paraphrase the regulations in plain language rather than quoting them directly.

In addition to OSHA regulations, we must all be aware of several other factors that influence the design, construction, use, maintenance and operation of forklifts. Some of these are:

  • General Duty – This regulation outlines the requirement for employers to provide and maintain a workplace that is free from recognized hazards that can, or could, cause death or serious injury to a worker. General duty applies regardless of whether there is a specific regulation in place relating to the job.
  • Manufacturer's Instructions – Every manufacturer provides an operating/service manual for each specific piece of equipment they build that provides information on its safe use and maintenance. OSHA expects equipment users to follow the manufacturer's instructions.
  • Sound Safety Practices – Sometimes referred to as “due diligence,” this wording often appears in regulations and standards promoting the idea that whatever needs to be done to identify, minimize and/or eliminate hazards in the workplace, should be done.
  • Industry Standards that are referenced by regulation – Compliance with standards is voluntary, but there are some standards that are referenced by regulation that OSHA and WSBC say we must comply with.
  • Company Policies – These are developed, implemented and enforced by the employer that exceed regulation and are enforceable by regulation.

Now, answers to some frequently asked questions:

Does a forklift need to have a seat belt?

Yes. This has been an ANSI standard since 1993, although most of the major manufacturers have been outfitting their forklifts with seat belts well before it ever became standard. OSHA enforces the use of seat belts under the General Duty clause.

Do older forklifts need to be retrofitted with a seat belt if they didn’t come with one?

Yes, but if for some reason it is not possible, you must be able to show that you made every effort to comply with OSHA’s requirement to retrofit.

If the operator has obstructed vision, could the operator just honk the horn while reversing instead of having a back-up alarm?

No, a back-up alarm must activate automatically when the equipment is placed into reverse.

Are headlights required?

No. Unless the forklift is used in conditions dark enough to give the operator trouble seeing and even then, increasing the ambient lighting in the area may fix the problem. However, if the forklift were being used in dark conditions, you would have to install ambient lighting in the area and/or lights on the machine. In addition, there are regulations that specify the amount of illumination (lighting) required in a workplace. Once again, if the equipment came equipped from the factory with lights they have to be maintained in working condition on the machine.

What are the requirements for forklifts in the US in terms of lights and horns when moving in reverse?

Forklifts must always be equipped with a working, operator controlled horn but mandatory requirements for back up alarms and/or lights do not exist. Remember that even though there are no specific regulations in it, OSHA could reference several sources in determining whether beeper or lights should have been used, such as

  • The equipment manufacturer. Anything that came as original equipment from the manufacturer must be maintained by the user including audible warning devices, strobe lights and the like.
  • Industry standards. ANSI B56.1 states that the user “shall determine if the operating conditions require the truck to be equipped with additional sound producing or visual (such as lights or blinkers) devices, and be responsible for providing and maintaining such devices.”
  • Section 5(a) of the OSH Act. OSHA’s “General Duty Clause” is designed to be applicable in situations where hazards are recognized but there are no specific regulations to address them. If an incident occurred and OSHA determined that a backup beeper (for example) may have helped prevent it, they could cite the General Duty clause.
  • Company/Site policy. Many companies may also implement safety rules that exceed existing regulations and/or address unique hazards specific to the site. Although regulatory authorities cannot enforce company/site policies, in some situations they may be able to cite the General Duty clause with employers whose failure to enforce their own safety rules resulted in injury or death.

Is a horn required?

Yes. This has been an ANSI standard forever, and just in case there is any confusion, the horn has to work!

Can I use a steering wheel knob?

Yes you can, as long as your forklift has power steering and the knob is the type that fits in the palm of your hand and no part of it sticks out past the outer edge of the steering wheel.

Does a forklift need to have a capacity/data plate?

Absolutely. The plate must legibly and accurately list the maximum load the unit can lift to full height at a specific load center. If other lifting attachments are used or modifications are made that effect the rated capacity, the capacity /data plate must be altered to show the revised capacities.

What about fire extinguishers?

Not required by any specific regulation, but remember company policy may exceed regulation. If you are hauling explosive material or working in highly combustible areas, a fire extinguisher is recommended, if not required. Also, representatives of local fire departments and/or city/municipal officials may enforce local rules and/or ordinances requiring fire extinguishers.

Can I put something on the roof of the overhead guard to keep me from getting wet in the rain?

Yes, but you always have to be able to see through the roof of the guard and don’t do any drilling, welding or anything that could weaken it.

Modifications/Alterations?

Modifying a forklift by altering any of its parts such that safe operation and/or capacity is affected is only acceptable when qualified people that have the written consent of the manufacturer or a professional engineer perform the work.

NOTE: Although the answers to the questions above are generally correct, regulatory authorities may issue orders on a work site that conflict and indeed override these answers if he/she feels that an observed condition presents a particularly high risk of injury or occupational disease to any person.


This list addresses some commonly asked questions associated with forklifts and their operation. The primary reference sources of the information in this document are WorkSafe BC (WSBC), Occupational Health and Safety Regulation (OHSR), general industry and construction regulations. In the interest of clarity, we have elected to paraphrase the regulations in plain language rather than quoting them directly.

In addition to WorkSafeBC regulations, we must all be aware of several other factors that influence the design, construction, use, maintenance and operation of forklifts. Some of these are:

  • General Duty – This regulation outlines the requirement for employers to provide and maintain a workplace that is free from recognized hazards that can, or could, cause death or serious injury to a worker. General duty applies regardless of whether there is a specific regulation in place relating to the job.
  • Manufacturer's Instructions – Every manufacturer provides an operating/service manual for each specific piece of equipment they build that provides information on its safe use and maintenance. WSBC expects equipment users to follow the manufacturer's instructions.
  • Sound Safety Practices – Sometimes referred to as “due diligence,” this wording often appears in regulations and standards promoting the idea that whatever needs to be done to identify, minimize and/or eliminate hazards in the workplace, should be done.
  • Industry Standards that are referenced by regulation – Compliance with standards is voluntary, but there are some standards that are referenced by regulation that OSHA and WSBC say we must comply with.
  • Company Policies – These are developed, implemented and enforced by the employer that exceed regulation and are enforceable by regulation.

Now, answers to some frequently asked questions:

Does a forklift need to have a seat belt?

Yes. This has been an ANSI standard since 1993, although most of the major manufacturers have been outfitting their forklifts with seat belts well before it ever became standard. WorkSafeBC’s typical position on the use of a seat belt is for operators to use the belt if the forklift has one.

Do older forklifts need to be retrofitted with a seat belt if they didn’t come with one?
No, unless the WorkSafeBC orders you to.

NOTE: The rules for seat belts are different for equipment fitted with Rollover Protective Structures (ROPS), but most forklifts (other than rough terrain telehandlers) are not fitted with ROPS.

Do forklifts have to have a back-up alarm?

No, unless the operator’s view to the rear is obstructed. If the alarm is supplied by the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) you are not allowed to alter or remove it.

If the operator has obstructed vision, could the operator just honk the horn while reversing instead of having a back-up alarm?

No, regulations say that the back-up alarm must activate automatically when the equipment is placed into reverse.

Are rear view mirrors required?

Yes, but not if it is dangerous or impossible/impractical to have them on the machine.

Are headlights required?

No. Unless the forklift is used in conditions dark enough to give the operator trouble seeing and even then, increasing the local area lighting may fix the problem. Of course, if someone is operating a forklift outside before sunrise or after sunset, or in a dark trailer, or in any condition where a vehicle or person could not be clearly seen 150 meters (492 feet) away, you will have to install lights in the area or on the machine. Once again, if the equipment came equipped from the factory with lights they have to be maintained in working condition on the machine.

Is a horn required?

Yes. This has been an ANSI standard forever, and just in case there is any confusion, the horn has to work!

Can I use a steering wheel knob?

Yes you can, as long as your forklift has power steering and the knob is the type that fits in the palm of your hand and no part of it sticks out past the outer edge of the steering wheel.

Does a forklift need to have a capacity/data plate?

Absolutely. The plate must legibly and accurately list the maximum load the unit can lift to full height at a specific load center. If other lifting attachments are used or modifications are made that effect the rated capacity, the capacity /data plate must be altered to show the revised capacities.

What about fire extinguishers?

Not required by any specific WorkSafeBC regulation, but remember local rules (such as the BC Fire Code), manufacturer’s instructions and company policy may exceed the regulation. If you are hauling explosive material or working in highly combustible areas, a fire extinguisher is recommended, if not required.

Can I put something on the roof of the overhead guard to keep me from getting wet in the rain?

Yes, but you always have to be able to see through the roof of the guard and don’t do any drilling, welding or anything that could weaken it.

Modifications/Alterations?

Modifying a forklift by altering any of its parts such that safe operation and/or capacity is affected is only acceptable when qualified people that have the written consent of the manufacturer or a professional engineer perform the work.

NOTE: Although the answers to the questions above are generally correct, regulatory authorities may issue orders on a work site that conflict and indeed override these answers if he/she feels that an observed condition presents a particularly high risk of injury or occupational disease to any person.


Want to learn more about IVES? Sign up for our Newsletter here!