Everything You Need to know About Becoming a Powered Mobile Equipment Operator

Are you entering an industry, such as the film industry, that requires lift truck or mobile elevated work platform operators? Are you interested in becoming one such operator? To become a trained operator for powered mobile equipment, it is going to take longer than a quick walk-around of the machine before you hop on and drive off into the sunset! Understanding the importance of safety training is a huge challenge that all industries face. To become a qualified and competent operator of any powered mobile equipment, you must obtain certification from a qualified trainer.

Here are some things you need to know about the training requirements for operating lift trucks and aerial work platforms:

an operator operating a piece of powered mobile equipment

Training is not just a suggestion, it’s a requirement!

Yes. In order to operate mobile equipment, you do need to be certified. Training is mandated by industry standards, which means that certification is a requirement for anyone operating or thinking about operating equipment of any kind.

We also encourage supervisors to take these training courses as well. Even if you are not personally operating equipment, it is the supervisor’s responsibility to guarantee the safety and health of their crew.

What do you have to do to get your mobile equipment operator training certification?

You must successfully pass a training course! Mobile equipment training classes are usually broken up into two sections with an examination portion at the end of both sections.

The first section of training is the theoretical component of mobile equipment training. This can either be delivered in-class or online, depending on the training option. This theory training can include equipment and workplace inspection, operation, and maintenance.

The second part of the training will be the practical, hands-on experience where trainees operate the equipment.

During the examination, you will be asked questions to confirm that you have learned the knowledge needed to operate the equipment safely.

How long does a training class take?
A mobile equipment training course typically takes one full 8-hour day with 4 hours for theory and 4 ours for practical training.

How long does the mobile equipment training certification last?
Typically, an operator training certification certifies the trainee for 3 years. At which time, you will have to recertify to continue to be qualified to operate that particular mobile equipment.

Practice makes perfect

On a job site, it is a good practice to have someone assigned to monitor the performance of your mobile equipment operators on a regular basis. This way, you can ensure that equipment is being safely operated!

How often should you be retrained on a piece of equipment?
There are a few instances where you might want a refresher on how to operate equipment, even when you are technically still certified to operate it. Some such situations include:

  • Noticing that your performance is declining
  • You have not operated the equipment for a long time
  • Being introduced to a newer version of the equipment with different features than what you are used to
  • If you have previously been involved in a near-miss or accident with the equipment

Know the Safety Standards for operating powered mobile equipment

In Canada, industry standards are usually developed by the CSA. The CSA is responsible for defining the safety requirements for all industry participants.

What is the CSA Group?
The CSA Group (Canadian Standards Association) is comprised of representatives from industry, consumer, and government groups. They are responsible for publishing standards and offering training and advisory services.

Are there new or updated standards for operating aerial work platforms?
Yes. CSA B354 standards cover aerial work platforms (or mobile elevating work platforms). These standards were updated on December 2019. The new standards are regarding updates to the classification of mobile elevating work platforms and the training requirements to safely operate them.

The reason for the change is to bring ANSI—the American National Standards Institute—and CSA standards closer in line with global standards. This update also simplifies aerial work platform classification terminology and addresses new issues. Overall, this update encourages better safety and education.

What has changed in CSA B354 standards for operating aerial work platforms?
First of all, the term Aerial Work Platforms (AWPs) has now been replaced with Mobile Elevating Work Platforms (MEWPs). The other three areas covered in the update are: design standards, safe use, and training responsibilities.

Do I need to be certified/trained in all makes and models of lift trucks?
No. You do not require a new certification to operate a different model of the same type of lift truck. You may just need to be trained on any differences between the truck’s controls. However, each type of lift truck (e.g. sit-down vs. stand-up) requires a different certification to operate it.

Become a Powered Mobile Equipment Operator

If you want to operate powered mobile equipment, such as a lift truck, it is important to make certain you know everything involved with getting your certification. This doesn’t just mean familiarizing yourself with the piece of equipment, but also with the safety standards for operating that particular piece of equipment.

After reading this blog post, if you have more questions, please contact one of our operator training team members. We are happy to answer any questions you may have!

Interested in learning more about powered mobile equipment? Please visit our training pages for more information:

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