How To Obtain a Forklift License in Massachusetts in 2024

How To Obtain a Forklift License in Massachusetts

Obtaining a forklift license in Massachusetts is an essential step for anyone looking to operate a forklift professionally. Whether you’re aiming for a job in a warehouse, construction site, or any industry that relies on heavy lifting and materials handling, having a forklift license ensures that you meet the safety and operational standards required by law.

In this article, we’ll guide you through the entire process, from understanding what a forklift license is, to the training and certification needed, and finally, how to maintain your license once you’ve earned it. Let’s get started on the path to becoming a certified forklift operator in this state!

Before Anything Else, Let’s Delve Into These Requirements

A. Training and Certification by OSHA

To operate forklifts, workers must be trained and certified as required by OSHA in its 29 CFR – 1910.178 Powered Industrial Truck.

This means that anyone who wants to operate a forklift in the United States must go through a specific training program that meets OSHA’s standards. OSHA’s regulations are in place to ensure that all forklift operators are knowledgeable about how to safely and effectively use the equipment. The training includes both classroom instruction (covering topics like safety rules and the mechanics of the forklift) and practical, hands-on training.

1. Training Program Standards

OSHA mandates that all forklift operators receive proper training. This training must include both formal instruction (such as lectures, videos, or written materials) and practical training (hands-on exercises and demonstrations).

  • Formal Instruction: This component includes classroom-based learning where operators are taught the theoretical aspects of forklift operation. This can involve:
    • Lectures: Instructors provide detailed explanations on topics such as safety regulations, operating procedures, and hazard recognition.
    • Videos: Visual demonstrations of safe forklift operation practices, accident scenarios, and proper maintenance techniques.
    • Written Materials: Manuals, handouts, and guides that outline operational guidelines, safety protocols, and troubleshooting tips.
  • Practical Training: Hands-on experience is crucial for understanding how to operate a forklift in real-world situations. This includes:
    • Hands-on Exercises: Operators practice driving the forklift, maneuvering in tight spaces, and handling different types of loads under the supervision of a qualified trainer.
    • Demonstrations: Trainers show proper techniques for lifting, transporting, and placing loads, as well as how to perform pre-operation inspections and maintenance checks.

2. Evaluation

Operators must be evaluated on their performance in the workplace. This evaluation must be conducted by a qualified trainer at least once every three years.

  • Performance Evaluation: This involves observing the forklift operator in their actual work environment to ensure they are applying their training correctly and safely. The evaluation should cover:
    • Operational Skills: Checking if the operator can handle the forklift smoothly, navigate obstacles, and manage different load types without incident.
    • Safety Practices: Ensuring the operator follows all safety protocols, such as using seat belts, checking blind spots, and operating at safe speeds.
    • Compliance: Verifying that the operator adheres to OSHA regulations and workplace-specific rules.
  • Qualified Trainer: The evaluation must be conducted by someone with the appropriate knowledge, training, and experience to assess forklift operations effectively. This could be an in-house safety officer, a certified trainer, or an external evaluator.

3. Refresher Training

Refresher training is required if an operator is involved in an accident or near-miss, operates the forklift in an unsafe manner, or is assigned to a different type of forklift.

  • Accidents or Near-Misses: If an operator is involved in an incident, they must undergo additional training to address the factors that led to the event and reinforce safe operating practices.
  • Unsafe Operation: If an operator is observed operating the forklift unsafely, refresher training is necessary to correct their behavior and prevent future issues.
  • New Equipment: If the operator is assigned to a different type of forklift (e.g., moving from a counterbalance forklift to a reach truck), they must receive specific training for the new equipment to ensure they understand its unique controls and handling characteristics.

4. Content of Training

Training must cover forklift operation and safety rules, load handling, stability, maintenance, and any specific workplace hazards.

  • Forklift Operation and Safety Rules: Instruction on the basic principles of operating a forklift, including starting, stopping, turning, and reversing safely. Operators learn about:
    • Safety Protocols: Importance of using seat belts, sounding horns at intersections, and observing speed limits.
    • Pre-Operation Inspections: How to check the forklift for any defects or issues before use.
  • Load Handling: Techniques for safely lifting, transporting, and placing loads. This includes:
    • Load Balance and Stability: Understanding the forklift’s load capacity, center of gravity, and how to maintain stability while carrying loads.
    • Stacking and Unstacking: Proper methods for stacking loads to avoid tipping or collapsing.
  • Stability: Training on how to prevent tip-overs by maintaining proper load balance, avoiding sudden movements, and understanding the effects of load weight and height on stability.
  • Maintenance: Basic maintenance practices to keep the forklift in good working condition, such as:
    • Daily Checks: Routine inspections of tires, brakes, forks, and other critical components.
    • Troubleshooting: Identifying and addressing common issues, such as leaks or unusual noises.
  • Specific Workplace Hazards: Awareness of unique hazards present in the operator’s specific work environment, such as:
    • Slippery Floors: How to operate safely on wet or oily surfaces.
    • Obstructions: Navigating around obstacles and maintaining clear visibility.
    • Pedestrian Traffic: Avoiding accidents with other workers and ensuring safe shared space usage.

B: Hoisting License Requirement by Massachusetts DPS

“Workers who operate forklifts in this state must also obtain a hoisting license issued by the Massachusetts Department of Public Safety (DPS).”

  • In addition to the federal OSHA requirements, the state of Massachusetts has its own specific requirements. Workers must obtain a hoisting license from DPS. This license is an additional certification that ensures operators are compliant with state regulations, which may have more specific or additional requirements compared to OSHA.

How to Apply for a Hoisting License

Applying for a hoisting license involves several steps to ensure that applicants are qualified to operate hoisting equipment safely and in compliance with state regulations. Here’s a detailed guide to the process:

1. Determine Eligibility

  • Age Requirement: Applicants must be at least 18 years old.
  • Health and Physical Condition: Applicants should be in good health and physically capable of operating hoisting equipment safely.

2. Choose the Appropriate License

  • License Classifications: Identify the type of hoisting license needed based on the equipment you intend to operate. Massachusetts offers different classifications for various types of hoisting equipment, such as forklifts, cranes, and excavators.

3. Complete the Required Training

  • Approved Training Programs: Enroll in a training program approved by the DPS. Training programs should cover both theoretical knowledge and practical skills.
    • Theoretical Training: Includes understanding safety regulations, equipment operations, and hazard recognition.
    • Practical Training: Hands-on experience operating the specific type of equipment you are seeking a license for.

4. Prepare for the Exam

  • Study Materials: Obtain and review study materials related to hoisting operations and safety. These may include manuals, guidelines provided by the training program, and DPS resources.
  • Practice Tests: Take practice exams if available to familiarize yourself with the format and types of questions you will encounter.

5. Submit Your Application

  • Application Form: Download and complete the hoisting license application form from the DPS website. Ensure all information is accurate and complete.
  • Supporting Documents: Gather all required supporting documents, which may include:
    • Proof of age (e.g., a copy of your driver’s license or birth certificate).
    • Training completion certificate from an approved training provider.
    • Medical certificate (if required) demonstrating that you meet the health and physical condition standards.
  • Application Fee: Pay the required application fee. Fees vary based on the type of license and are specified on the application form.

6. Schedule and Take the Exam

  • Exam Scheduling: Once your application is processed, you will receive information on how to schedule your exam. Exams are administered at various locations throughout the state.
  • Written Exam: The written exam tests your knowledge of hoisting operations, safety protocols, and state regulations.
  • Practical Exam: In some cases, you may also need to pass a practical exam demonstrating your ability to safely operate the hoisting equipment.

7. Receive Your License

  • Exam Results: After successfully passing the exam, you will receive your hoisting license from the DPS. This license allows you to legally operate the specified hoisting equipment.
  • License Renewal: Be aware of the expiration date on your license. Hoisting licenses in Massachusetts typically need to be renewed every two years. Renewal requires completing continuing education and paying the renewal fee.

Additional Info

  • A hoisting license lasts for 2 years. License holders must renew their licenses every 2 years to stay compliant. The renewal process can begin 60 days before the expiration date of the current license. This ensures operators remain up-to-date with safety standards and regulations.
  • You can take the 1D HE Hoisting License Continuing Education Course to fulfill the renewal requirements for your hoisting license in Massachusetts. This course provides the necessary training to keep you updated on the latest safety practices and regulations. By completing this course, you ensure your license remains valid, allowing you to continue operating hoisting equipment safely and effectively. Stay compliant and maintain your professional skills with our comprehensive continuing education program.

Who Needs a Forklift License in Massachusetts

Do you need a hoisting license to run a forklift in Massachusetts?

Anyone who wants to drive or operate a forklift at their job needs to have a forklift license. This license shows that the person has received proper training and knows how to use the forklift safely. It’s a legal requirement to ensure the safety of the operator and everyone around them. Without a forklift license, you cannot legally operate a forklift.

Different Types of Jobs and Industries That Need Forklift Operators

Many different jobs and industries need people who can drive forklifts. Here are some examples:

  1. Warehouses:
    • Jobs: Warehouse workers and stock handlers.
    • Tasks: Moving heavy boxes and pallets, stacking goods on shelves, and loading/unloading trucks.
  2. Construction Sites:
    • Jobs: Construction laborers and site workers.
    • Tasks: Transporting building materials, moving equipment, and clearing debris.
  3. Manufacturing Plants:
    • Jobs: Factory workers and assembly line operators.
    • Tasks: Moving raw materials to production lines, transporting finished products, and handling large machine parts.
  4. Retail Stores:
    • Jobs: Stock clerks and inventory managers.
    • Tasks: Stocking shelves, organizing storage areas, and managing inventory.
  5. Distribution Centers:
    • Jobs: Distribution center workers and logistics coordinators.
    • Tasks: Sorting and moving goods for shipment, loading trucks, and managing incoming freight.
  6. Recycling Centers:
    • Jobs: Recycling workers and plant operators.
    • Tasks: Moving recyclable materials, loading sorting machines, and handling waste.

In all these jobs, having a forklift license is crucial because it proves that the operator knows how to handle the forklift safely and efficiently, which helps prevent accidents and injuries.

How to Get Trained for a Forklift License

Types of Forklift Training Programs Available

There are several types of forklift training programs you can choose from to get the necessary skills and certification:

  1. In-Person Training Programs:
    • Classroom Instruction: These programs provide theoretical knowledge about forklift operation, safety rules, and regulations through lectures, videos, and written materials.
    • Hands-On Training: Practical experience where you get to operate a forklift under the supervision of a qualified instructor. This helps you learn how to handle the equipment in real-world scenarios.
  2. Online Training Programs:
    • E-Learning Courses: These courses offer flexibility and convenience, allowing you to study the theoretical aspects of forklift operation at your own pace. However, you will still need to complete hands-on training in person to get certified.
    • Interactive Modules: Online programs often include interactive simulations and assessments to test your understanding of the material.
  3. Employer-Provided Training:
    • Many companies provide in-house forklift training programs for their employees. These programs are tailored to the specific equipment and operational needs of the company.
  4. Vocational and Technical Schools:
    • These schools offer comprehensive forklift training programs as part of their curriculum, often including both classroom and hands-on training components.

Where to Find Training Programs in Massachusetts

  1. Community Colleges and Vocational Schools:
    • Examples: Massachusetts Bay Community College, Quinsigamond Community College, and Greater Lowell Technical High School.
    • Programs Offered: These institutions offer forklift training programs as part of their technical and vocational education courses.
  2. Private Training Centers:
    • Examples: Forklift Training School of Massachusetts, Northeast Industrial Tech, and OSHA Safety Training Institute.
    • Programs Offered: These centers specialize in forklift training and provide both theoretical and practical training sessions.
  3. Online Training Providers:
    • Examples:,, and
    • Programs Offered: These websites offer online courses for the theoretical part of forklift training. You will still need to arrange hands-on training separately.
  4. Employer-Sponsored Training:
    • How to Find: Ask your current or prospective employer if they offer forklift training programs. Many companies prefer to train their employees on-site using their own equipment.
  5. Union Training Programs:
    • Examples: Local unions often provide training for their members. Contact unions such as the International Brotherhood of Teamsters or the United Steelworkers for information on available programs.

Here Are Some Of The Training Providers in Massachusetts 

Company Name Address Contact Info
Starlift Equipment Company 36 Roanoke Avenue, West Springfield, MA 01089 (203) 937-8101
Summit ToyotaLift 37 Ramah Circle, Agawam, MA 01001 Phone: (413) 789-4537, Fax: (413) 789-4361
Crown Lift Trucks 2 Presidential Way, Woburn, MA 01801 Fax: (781) 938-8155
Mass Hoisting Training Inc. PO Box 1151, Plymouth, MA 02362 (617) 875-2381, (774) 222-2297
NEIT 220 Ballardvale Street, Suite J, Wilmington, MA 01887 (781) 935-9105
Mass Hoisting ConEd, LLC 60 Cedar Lane, Seekonk, MA 02771 Contact not listed
Abel Womack 1 International Way, Lawrence, MA 01843 (888) 610-1397
OSHA Training Services Inc. 1441 Main Street, Room 550, Springfield, MA 1-877-771-6742
American Aerial Equipment 45 Alice Agnew Drive, North Attleboro, MA (855) 619-LIFT
Motive Solution LLC Mobile training in MA (207) 240-3588
Work Opportunity Center 1666 Main St, Suite D, Springfield, MA 01103 1-413-886-0489 x101
Massasoit Community College 1 Massasoit Blvd., Brockton, MA (508) 588-9100
Central Mass. Safety Council Worcester, MA (exact address not listed) (508) 835-2333
Wise Safety and Environmental 15 Aegean Drive, Methuen, MA 01844 (877) 257-3263
Boston Contractors Institute 607 Boylston Street, Suite 138-L, Boston, MA 02116 (857) 254-1481,
Bruce Vlohiotis Forklift Training 35 Ashley Circle, Easthampton, MA 01027 (413) 221-4293,
Carroll Consulting 66 Moody Bridge Road, Hadley, MA 01035 (413) 588-7318,
Chainsaw Strategies 19 Sadoga Road, Charlemont, MA 01339 (413) 834-3975,
Citefly Safety Services, LLC 1 June Street, P.O. Box 2363, Plainville, MA 02762 (508) 500-6447,
Contractor Safety Academy 51 Hammond Street, Rowley, MA 01969 (617) 594-4401,
Covanta Pittsfield Hoisting Training 500 Hubbard Avenue, Pittsfield, MA 01201 (413) 443-7373,
Covanta Springfield 188 M Street, Agawam, MA 01001 (413) 785-5120,
Cranes 101 57B Mendon Street, Bellingham, MA 02019 (508) 966-4100,
Daniel C. Rowley Training P. O. Box 933, Townsend, MA 01469 (978) 597-5557,
Dartmouth DPW 976 Russells Mills Road, South Dartmouth, MA 02748 (508) 999-0744,
Eagle Hoisting Engineer Training 1 Knotty Walk, Taunton, MA 02780 (508) 328-3978,

By choosing the right training program and location that suits your needs, you can get the necessary skills and certification to become a qualified forklift operator.

How Hard Is It to Get a Hoisting License in Massachusetts?

What to Expect:

  • Study Time: You’ll need to spend some time studying the materials provided during your training. The topics will include safety regulations, equipment operation, and hazard recognition.
  • Hands-On Practice: Practical training is crucial. You’ll need to practice operating the machinery under supervision to ensure you can handle it safely.
  • Testing: The exams are designed to ensure you know how to operate the equipment safely and understand the regulations. If you study and practice, you should be able to pass these exams.

Effort Involved:

  • Preparation: The amount of preparation needed varies depending on your prior experience with hoisting equipment. If you’re new to this, expect to spend more time learning and practicing.
  • Commitment: Consistent study and practice will help you succeed. The process is straightforward if you commit to learning the necessary skills and knowledge.

While it requires effort and commitment, getting a hoisting license in Massachusetts is not overly difficult if you follow the steps and prepare properly. With the right training and study, you can achieve your license and operate hoisting equipment safely and legally.

How Much Salary Do Forklift Operators Make in Massachusetts

Forklift operators in this state earn varying salaries depending on their experience, location, and the specific industry they work in. Here’s a general overview:

  • Average Salary: The average salary for a forklift operator in Massachusetts is around $38,640 per year​(​.
  • Hourly Wage: The average hourly wage for a forklift operator is approximately $19.65​ (​.
  • Salary Range: The salary typically ranges from $31,950 at the lower end to about $54,760 at the higher end​ (CareerExplorer)​. This range can be influenced by factors such as experience, additional skills, and specific employer requirements.
  • Additional Pay: Some forklift operators also earn overtime pay, which can significantly increase their annual income. For example, overtime pay can add around $5,437 per year​​.

These figures provide a broad picture of what you can expect to earn as a forklift operator. For more detailed and location-specific salary information, you can check resources like, Indeed, and CareerExplorer.

Future Outlook

The future looks good for forklift operators in Massachusetts. E-commerce growth is increasing the need for warehouse workers, including forklift operators. Manufacturing and construction industries are also expanding, which means more jobs for forklift operators.

Even with new technologies like automation and robotics, human operators are still needed for oversight and complex tasks. Those who learn to use advanced forklifts and automated systems will have better job prospects.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects steady job growth for forklift operators, about 4% from 2021 to 2031, which is average for all jobs. Experienced operators can move into supervisory roles or specialize in operating complex machinery, leading to higher pay and more career opportunities.

Overall, there will be a steady demand for skilled forklift operators due to industry growth and technological advancements. Those willing to update their skills will find good job stability and opportunities​

To Make a Conclusion

Obtaining a forklift license in Massachusetts is pretty simple if you follow the right steps. Make sure you meet the age and health requirements. Then, enroll in a training program to learn how to safely operate a forklift. After finishing your training, you’ll need to pass both written and practical exams. Once you have your license, remember to renew it every two years to keep it active. By staying up-to-date with safety practices and regulations, you can easily maintain your forklift license and operate forklifts safely.


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