Common equipment that electricians and technicians use to access elevated work areas include JLGs, Snorkel or boom lifts, scissor lifts, articulating boom platforms and bucket trucks.  This type of equipment is classified by OSHA as “aerial lifts” and the standard that addresses their safe use is found in Subpart L, under scaffolds.  Within the standard, training requirements are that all operators be trained and authorized by their employer before operating the equipment.

The training shall include demonstrated proficiency in operation of the specific type of equipment to be used and documentation of this training shall be made available to OSHA upon request. OSHA standards do not specify a frequency for retraining of aerial lift operators.  Instead, they refer to ANSI A92.6 which states, “The operator shall be retrained, when so directed by the user (the contractor or owner), based on the user’s observation and evaluation of the operator.”

Forklifts, on the other hand, are a different story.  Because of the many different types of forklifts found in the workplace, OSHA classifies all types of forklifts as Powered Industrial Trucks.  The forklift training requirements are found in the OSHA Construction standard for motor vehicles, Subpart O and are identical to those found in General Industry regulations part 1910.178.

These standards provide great detail to the performance of initial training but, unlike aerial lifts, mandate that an evaluation of each powered industrial truck operator’s performance shall be conducted at least once every three years.  The evaluation can be performed by a third party or by an employer’s competent person.  Both initial training and refresher training must be documented with the following information.


  • Name of operator
  • Date of formal training
  • classroom / practical
  • Name of trainer / evaluator
  • Date of evaluation


The NIETC Toolbox Topics are a good resource for aerial and forklift refresher training and are designed to address the most common activities and hazards found in construction.  They provide a simple format to initiate communication about those hazards with your employees and  a method to document that the training took place.   Keep copies of these meetings for OSHA documentation in the event of an inspection or accident.

For apprentices, initial forklift and aerial lift training is conducted during boot camp.  Be aware that the model, make and type of equipment can vary between what we use and what they may use in the field.  In those situations, additional site specific training may be necessary.  The NIETC also conducts aerial and forklift training classes for JWs and material handlers on a regular cycle.  The next class is scheduled for Saturday, November 6th.

Please contact me if you have any questions or are in need of additional training materials.