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Certification Requirements for OSHA Equipment Operators

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The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) only requires certain equipment operators to be certified. Those equipment operators are employees who run hazardous equipment such as cranes, industrial trucks and large construction equipment. OSHA does recommend that all equipment operators be trained to become proficient in the operation of a particular piece of equipment. This training is determined by the employer.

Powered Industrial Truck Operators

Powered industrial trucks, commonly called forklifts, are required by OSHA to be operated by certified or licensed operators. The certification required by OSHA is not done by the administration. It can be done by a qualified trainer at the company or by a third-party training company hired by the employer. This certification is required by OSHA to ensure that competent and knowledgeable operators are running this dangerous piece of equipment. The operators are certified on the operation of specific type of forklift as well as the proper classification of forklift. The certification of an industrial truck operator comes with a license for the particular type of industrial truck such as electric, gasoline or diesel or LP gas.

Crane Operators

Cranes come in many different types including overhead cranes, mobile cranes and tower cranes. These cranes are used to move heavy loads horizontally and vertically. Moving such a heavy load from place-to-place at a construction site or at a business location, whether inside the business or outside the business, is dangerous. Because of this danger or hazard, OSHA requires that the operator be certified by a qualified trainer at the company or by a third-party training company. This requirement is necessary to show that the operator has the knowledge to run the cranes safely in a working environment. The certification has no specific name, it does make the employee a certified crane operator.

Heavy Equipment Operator

Heavy equipment operators that run large pieces of construction equipment such as bulldozers, graders or ground moving equipment, are required to be certified according to the OSHA standards. These OSHA standards are developed to ensure the safety of all employees working on the construction site. The heavy equipment used on constructions sites are the cause of most injuries during the construction of roads or commercial properties, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. OSHA has determined that the certification of these operators cuts down on the accidents caused by unqualified heavy equipment operators. The operators must be certified to operate the specific piece of heavy equipment by a qualified trainer at the company or by a third-party training company. There is no specific name other than the heavy equipment operator is licensed to operator a particular type of heavy equipment.


Horacio Garcia has been writing since 1979, beginning his career as the spokesperson for Trinity Broadcast Network. Within 10 years Garcia was being called upon to write speeches and scripts for several state and federal congressmen, local broadcast networks and publications such as "Readers Digest." He received his bachelor's degree in public relations from Argosy University.

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