If you are responsible for operating a telescopic forklift, you will need to complete a telescopic forklift driver training program. These specialized training programs are designed for skilled forklift and tractor drivers who have already completed a basic forklift safety training program. The telescopic forklift training program includes training about basic forklift safety and operating procedures, as well as training this type of forklift on different types of terrain and in various work environments. Most employers who use telescopic forklifts for day-to-day operations require their employees to complete a training program and receive a formal evaluation by the trainer.

About Telescopic Forklifts and Driver Training

Telescopic forklifts, also known as extendable reach forklifts and telehandlers, are similar to a standard forklift except they use a vertical mast to lift and raise pallets and loads. These forklifts are designed with a telescopic boom that is capable of reaching forward and upwards, and is often used on construction sites, in agriculture operations and in warehouses. Some telescopic forklifts are used in mining. Since these forklifts are considerably larger than most warehouse forklifts and have larger attachments, the driver needs to be trained in the operation of this heavy-duty, off-road vehicle and also learn how to perform safety, maintenance and inspection checks for each part of the vehicle.

Some telescopic forklift training programs are designed for certain models of forklifts, and focus on general safety and operations in different work environments. Most training programs also provide training on the computers used to operate the vehicle. Telescopic forklifts are usually designed with built-in sensors and other computerized equipment, so the driver needs to know how to engage and disengage the vehicle using computer controls.

After completing a telescopic forklift driver training program, the driver will be able to safely maneuver and operate the truck on different terrain, comply with all legal and OSHA safety requirements, understand the reasons why a forklift may become unstable, and also handle emergency situations and accidents.

Courses Covered in a Telescopic Forklift Training Program

Some of the key topics and courses covered in a telescopic forklift training program include:

  • Telescopic forklift legal requirements
  • OSHA safety and employer safety regulations
  • Routine maintenance checks
  • General safety operations in the workplace
  • Operation procedures of a telescopic forklift
  • Maneuvering a truck on a highway, wet and rough terrain and on construction sites
  • Loading and unloading pallets using various attachments
  • Handling road hazards and emergencies

Some telescopic forklift driver training programs consist of intensive, multi-day courses that can be completed within a few days. Others may be completed over the course of a few weeks. All of these forklift training programs require students to have some experience operating construction equipment, tractors or a forklift, and to have some educational or training background in the construction industry.

Employers that use telescopic forklifts typically cover the costs of a telescopic forklift driver training program required by all prospective drivers, but these specialized forklift driver training programs may also be offered at a local vocational college, training center or directly from a manufacturer.