10 Forklift Training Programs in San Francisco, California (In-Person and Online)

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The Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, CA

Need forklift training in San Francisco?

You’ve landed on the right page!

It doesn’t matter if you’re aiming for a career as a forklift operator. Or if you’re a manager training your team. You’ll find what you need here.

Let’s begin!

5 In-Person Forklift Training Providers in San Francisco, CA

SafeLiftt Forklift Certification

SafeLiftt Forklift Certification is a specialized training company. It’s located in Napa, California, and started in 2015.

SafeLiftt Forklift Certification offers training services for both individuals and businesses.

For individual trainees, they provide on-site services. This ensures that learners get hands-on experience and thorough instruction.

Uniquely, their program also offers job placement. They connect their trainees with agencies that place them in immediate job openings.

For businesses, SafeLiftt conducts on-site training sessions. They also perform site safety evaluations. These can help businesses achieve better compliance with OSHA regulations.

On their Google Business page, SafeLiftt Forklift Certification has over 60 reviews. These are almost universally positive, showing happy customers.

Raymond West

Raymond West is a forklift dealership in Fremont, CA. It’s a branch of the larger Raymond Corporation, which specializes in building electric forklifts.

At Raymond West, customers can find a variety of warehouse safety programs, including forklift operator training.

A unique aspect of their training is using virtual reality forklift simulators. These let operators face real-world challenges in a virtual, safe setting.

Raymond West gains credibility from its link to the Raymond Corporation. Additionally, they’ve received generally positive feedback on their Google Reviews page.

South San Francisco Adult Education

South San Francisco Adult Education is an educational institution founded in 1929.

The group’s goal is to empower adults. They offer skill development training to enhance attendees’ education and job prospects.

One course they offer is a Warehouse and Forklift Certification program. This is free and lasts for 16 days. Those interested can call or fill out an online form to learn more.

South San Francisco Adult Education has a generally positive reputation. This is shown by good reviews on its Google Business page.

Toyota Material Handling Northern California

Toyota Material Handling Northern California (TMHNC) is a material handling dealership. It’s headquartered in Livermore, CA, and has operated since 1997.

As a dealership, they offer a wide array of equipment, products, and services. They also provide forklift training classes.

Training can take place in person at their dealership. This allows participants to receive direct hands-on instruction and gain practical experience.

Additionally, TMHNC offers customizable on-site training. This service enables companies to have training at their locations using their equipment.

Toyota Material Handling Northern California has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau. Additionally, their Google reviews are generally positive.

ROI Safety Services

ROI Safety Services operates as a safety training company. They provide services to corporate clients and individuals aspiring to become forklift operators. Their base is in Yorba Linda, CA.

For corporate clients, the company conducts training at the client’s site. Their on-site training courses fulfill all requirements set by OSHA. For individuals, the company offers online courses.

ROI Safety Services is rated A on its Better Business Bureau (BBB) page. Plus, their Google Business page has generally high ratings.

5 Choices for Online Forklift Training in San Francisco, CA

We have a page dedicated to the top online forklift certification programs. The providers listed below serve as a preview of what you’ll discover there.


ForkliftTraining.com™ offers training programs for individual and corporate use. Their training covers various models of forklifts. 

Upon completion, participants receive a certificate. They also get cards to carry in their wallets. 

The training is flexible. Users have up to one year to complete it. For added confidence, there’s a 15-day refund option.

Forklift Academy

Forklift Academy provides forklift training in both English and Spanish. Their courses are for individuals and businesses. 

Their unique feature is a business portal. It allows managers to monitor employee training progress. 

Trainees can retake the online test multiple times if needed. Upon passing, they receive a photo I.D. card. 

Forklift Academy has an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau.

Training Network

Training Network has over thirty years of experience. They focus mainly on safety training, with their main clients being businesses. However, they also offer forklift training for individuals. 

Their courses come in different formats. These include online classes, DVDs, and USB drives. If you choose the DVD option, it comes with guidebooks and quizzes.

Additionally, Training Network offers a 14-day money-back guarantee for extra assurance.

OSHA Education Center

The OSHA Education Center offers online certification courses. These courses cover the seven different types of forklifts. 

They cater to both individuals and businesses. Moreover, their training programs are available in both English and Spanish. 

After completing the course, participants get a wallet card. They also receive a printable certificate. 

It is important to note that the OSHA Education Center is independent. It’s not a government agency and is separate from OSHA. Despite this, they have generally good customer ratings.


360training focuses on training for forklifts and various other equipment. They serve both individuals and businesses. 

For companies enrolling multiple employees, 360training offers discounts on bulk purchases. 

360training has had some negative customer views. To address complaints, the company offers a 72-hour refund policy.

Forklift Operator Training Regulations in San Francisco, CA

Forklift operators in San Francisco are subject to both state and federal regulations. Adhering to these rules helps promote safety, maintain compliance, and avoid fines. Here are some essential standards to know about.

Meet the Age Rule

One crucial requirement is that forklift operators must be 18 years old. This is mandated by the federal law, the Fair Labor Standards Act. 

There are limited exceptions that allow underage forklift operators in specific agricultural settings.

Receive Formal Training

Let’s talk about OSHA. The federal Occupational Health and Safety Administration sets workplace safety rules at the national level. 

California also has a state OSHA agency. Both these entities make rules about training and safety for forklifts.

A fundamental rule is about training forklift operators. Before being certified to work, operators must get formal training on forklifts. 

What does formal training include? OSHA gives guidelines on this. 

The training can use different teaching methods. For example, this might be slideshow presentations, lectures, or audio-visual materials. 

Also, the training must cover specific topics about forklifts and the workplace. OSHA lists over twenty such topics in its powered industrial truck standards.

After the formal training, operators take a test. They usually need to score at least 80% to move to the next part of training.

Get Hands-On Training

Hands-on training is also known as practical instruction. OSHA requires that anyone training to operate a forklift must get hands-on experience before being certified.

This part must always happen under the watch of a qualified instructor. This is an OSHA rule.

During hands-on training, trainees usually get to know the forklift they will use. If this is the first time they have used that model, the instructor will help them. 

For instance, they’ll discuss the main features of the forklift and how it works. They’ll also answer any questions the trainees have.

Get an Examination

In this phase, trainees are tested on how well they can operate a forklift. 

The evaluation must happen under conditions like the actual workplace. This is so trainees know how to handle the conditions and hazards they might face in their job.

It’s also vital that the training and evaluation match the type of forklift used. 

For instance, suppose trainees will operate a sit-down counterbalance truck in a warehouse. Then, their training and evaluation should focus on that particular forklift.

Get Certified

OSHA dictates that employers issue forklift operators a certification. This document shows they’ve completed the training per OSHA regulations. It also indicates that they’ve passed an evaluation. 

The operator receives this certification as a physical document. Also, the employer must keep a copy of this document. This is important if OSHA wants to verify that operators have been trained.

OSHA doesn’t specify the exact format of the certification document. That means it can be a wallet card or a diploma.

Moreover, the certification must have certain information. That includes the names of the trainee and trainer. It must also have the dates of the training and evaluation.

Keep Up on Training and Evaluations

Forklift operator training is different from getting a driver’s license. That’s because it is ongoing. OSHA says that forklift operators must take refresher training every three years. 

These sessions aim to update the operator’s skills and knowledge. They also ensure the operator continues to follow safety best practices.

Sometimes, operators might need this refresher training more often than every three years. OSHA has rules for when this is necessary. 

For instance, an operator will need refresher training if involved in an accident or a close call. They’ll also need it if they’re seen doing something unsafe.

4 Advantages of Forklift Training in San Francisco, CA (and Elsewhere)

Is forklift training merely about fulfilling government requirements, or does it offer more? Let’s delve into some key benefits and advantages of forklift operator training.

Safety Improvements

The main reason for training forklift operators is to increase safety. Forklifts are hazardous equipment. Operators need to know how to use them safely. 

Good training teaches operators all about forklifts. They learn how to use them without danger and where problems might happen. This helps them work safely.

This is more than just theory, too. One study concluded that trained forklift operators make 70% fewer mistakes.

Productivity Boosts

Forklift operator training is for more than just safety. It also helps operators work better and more efficiently. 

For example, operators learn how to use the inching pedal for lifting. They also learn to control the forklift to make efficient and precise moves. 

These skills help them work more efficiently, which can lead to higher productivity. Thus, the company can make more money because of the higher output.

There’s data to back this up. A study found that trained forklift operators had 61% better performance scores after training.

Better Career Prospects

Getting forklift training can help improve the careers of individual operators. 

Forklift operators in San Francisco, CA, earn an average of over $22 per hour. That may be a pay bump for individuals in less skilled, lower-paying jobs.

Moreover, taking training shows motivation and dedication to self-improvement. After all, you’re choosing to take training on your own before you even have a job. Employers find this very attractive.

If you’re working for a business that uses forklifts, getting certified can help you move roles. Furthermore, it’ll mean that you’re cross-trained. 

This makes you more valuable to your company. So you’re more likely to keep your job.

Better Compliance

Compliance with forklift operator training is not just a suggestion; it’s the law. This applies to any situation where there’s an employer-employee relationship.

Compliance is mainly for safety, as we’ve mentioned before. But it also helps businesses avoid problems. 

If they don’t follow OSHA rules, they could face hefty fines. For example, suppose a forklift accident happens, and the training wasn’t done right. OSHA can fine $16,000 or more for each violation.

Following the rules is also better for a business’s reputation. OSHA publicly reports on compliance matters, including fines. This can lead to fewer people wanting to work with those employers.

Moreover, forklift operators who don’t follow the rules risk losing their jobs. They might also be seen as unsafe by their co-workers.

Types of Forklift Operator Training in San Francisco, CA

There are several types of forklift operator training in San Francisco. Let’s go through the main ones. That way, you can narrow down what you need.

Online Training

This type of training uses a virtual classroom or course. Classes usually include videos, quizzes, and interactive learning elements. They cover topics needed to operate a forklift, such as:

  • How forklifts maintain balance
  • Understanding the instruments
  • Reading the data plate

Trainees can take the training on mobile devices. Often, they can complete the course in an hour or two. After finishing the lessons, learners have to take a quiz or test. 

Upon passing, most programs provide a printable or downloadable certificate. You can give this certificate to an employer to prove you’ve completed the training.

Online training is suitable for individuals with or without prior experience. It’s also useful for businesses training their employees in forklift operations. 

Compared to classroom training, online training is faster and cheaper. But online training alone isn’t enough to get certified. 

That’s because online training doesn’t include hands-on training or an evaluation. OSHA says these elements must also happen before an operator can be certified.

In-Person Training

In-person training is a way to complete the forklift operator certification process. 

Some programs are for individuals looking to become forklift operators. Others are only for businesses that want to train their employees as operators. 

In-person training can happen in different places. For instance, it can be at the customer’s business. Or, it can happen at the training provider’s facility.

These programs usually have three parts: formal instruction, hands-on training, and evaluation.

The formal instruction part is like a regular school course. An instructor gives lectures using slideshows, videos, interactive games, and activities.

Then, trainees go to hands-on training. Here, they see an actual forklift. The instructor shows how the forklift works practically. 

The last part is the evaluation. OSHA requires this to be done under workplace-like conditions. The evaluation ensures operators can work safely on the job.

FAQs About Forklift Training in San Francisco, CA

How long does forklift training usually take?

In-person forklift operator training courses usually last between 4 to 8 hours. The size of the group can affect how long it takes. Bigger groups need more time to finish the training. Online courses can be much shorter, sometimes only an hour. Operators can get certified in a few hours by combining online courses with hands-on training and evaluation.

Do you have to be certified to operate a forklift in San Francisco?

In San Francisco, forklift operators must be certified before using a forklift. This is required by both state and federal OSHA regulations. These rules dictate that operators undergo formal training, hands-on instruction, and an evaluation. Moreover, they can only operate a forklift with their employer’s authorization.

What topics are covered in a typical forklift training program?

Forklift training programs must cover specific subjects as dictated by OSHA. These include topics covering the truck and the workplace. Operators also need practical instruction with an actual forklift. Plus, they must be evaluated under conditions like in their workplace. Certification is given only after successfully finishing all these requirements.

How much does forklift operator training cost?

The price of forklift operator training depends on the type of course. Online courses usually cost between $60 to $100 per person. (These can meet only the initial requirement). In contrast, in-person training often costs $200 or more per person. There are also free training opportunities for some people. For example, Southern San Francisco College offers free forklift training. But, you must meet specific criteria and get approval to join these programs.

How often do forklift operators need to recertify or renew their certification?

Forklift operators must update their training and evaluation every three years. That’s according to the government. The point is to ensure operators keep up their safety knowledge and skills. OSHA says refresher training must happen sooner than this under a few conditions. More details are available on OSHA’s website.

What are some common workplace hazards associated with forklifts?

Several hazards come with operating forklifts. One is the forklift tipping over. Another is people falling off the forks. One more is hitting nearby pedestrians. These risks show why forklift operator training is vital for safety.

Can I take forklift operator training online? Or is it in-person only?

You can take forklift operator training online. Many people and businesses choose online training to satisfy OSHA’s formal instruction requirement. But operators must also complete hands-on training and an evaluation to get fully certified. This means getting instruction on an actual forklift and having their employer or a qualified trainer assess their operating skills.

Are there specific age requirements for forklift operators in San Francisco?

In San Francisco, forklift operators have to be 18 years old. The federal Fair Labor Standards Act makes some exceptions for minors to operate forklifts in agriculture.

How do I find reputable training providers in San Francisco?

To find reputable forklift training providers in San Francisco, start with our list at the top of this page. We’ve vetted their reputation and offerings to retain only credible training centers. You can also seek personal recommendations. Do you know someone who works as a forklift operator or manages training for operators? Ask who they’d recommend as a credible training provider.

What Next?

Your search for forklift training in San Francisco, CA, has led you here.

You’ve got insights into training providers. You know some essential regulations. And you’ve seen the certification journey from start to end.

But there are still more forklift matters to explore.

Why not take a deeper dive by exploring our latest blog posts?

We’ll see you there!

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