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Forklift Training Guides For 7 Classes of Forklifts

When it comes to forklifts, one size definitely does not fit all. In a single warehouse, there can be as many as four or more different types of vehicles for loading, unloading, storing, and for low, medium and high-level order picking. Each vehicle will have its own forklift guide, which should be kept with the vehicle at all times.

forklift study guideThere are seven classes of commonly used powered industrial trucks. In the training kit, there are seven individual forklift training guides. Coincidence? Hardly. Here, we describe each of the seven classes of forklift truck. Within each class, there may be several different subtypes.

That sounds like a lot of information to learn – and it is! But don’t worry about getting bogged down in the details – FLC’s training modules include forklift study guides to help create a productive learning environment. With our forklift certification study guides, OSHA compliance is right around the corner – and FLC will show you how!

Electric versus internal combustion engines

The most fundamental difference between any two types of forklift is whether they are powered by electricity or by gasoline or other fuel. Each one has its own strengths and weaknesses and its own safety hazards. One obvious hazard with the internal combustion engine is that it produces toxic fumes, and therefore needs plenty of ventilation to operate. You would not choose a gasoline-powered forklift for a small warehouse in the dead of winter. The forklift guide that comes with the vehicle will contain information about hazards and how to mitigate them.

Class I – Electric motor rider trucks

Electric forklifts are quiet, clean, compact and easy to maneuver. Their downside? They need to be charged. Unlike a gas or diesel-powered forklift, this requires downtime. Unlike a laptop computer or a toaster, you can’t run it while it is plugged in. They are used when air quality is important, like a small warehouse or factory. Special safeguards are required when using an electric forklift in an atmosphere where there is a possibility of dust or flammable vapor. Your forklift training guide will indicate what precautions are necessary.

Class II – Electric motor narrow aisle trucks

Narrow-aisle trucks are desirable when space is at a premium, as in high-density warehouses. There are also very narrow-aisle, or VNA trucks, which are operable in aisles as narrow as 1.6 meters.

Class III – Electric Motor Hand or Hand/Rider Trucks

Here, the operator walks or sits in front of the truck and controls it via a steering tiller. It’s a little like walking a bicycle. Automated and high-lift models are often counterbalanced. For more details of how to operate this type of forklift, consult your forklift training guide.

Class IV – Internal Combustion Engine Trucks – Cushion Tires

Cushion tires (aka solid tires) are made out of solid rubber and have a hollow groove running lengthwise on the inner surface. This type of PIT sits lower to the ground than those with a pneumatic tire and are therefore suitable for low clearance operations.

Class V – Internal Combustion Engine Trucks – Pneumatic Tires

Pneumatic is a fancy way of saying the tires have air in them, like those on cars, trucks, and motorcycles. Lift trucks in this class have a large range of capacities and may be seen transporting anything from a single pallet-load to a 40-foot container. The forklift guide with the vehicle will indicate the inflation pressure to use.

Class VI – Electric and Internal Combustion Engine Tractors

In trucks of this class, the rider sits in the truck and pulls a tow tractor lift. These trucks are extremely versatile and can be used in a range of conditions. They may be fitted with an internal combustion engine for outdoor use or with a battery-powered electric motor for indoor use.

Class VII – Rough Terrain Forklift Trucks

Rough terrain lifts are used in construction, in lumber yards and at auto recyclers. They have huge flotation tires that make them ideal for use on difficult surfaces.


We realize the anxiety that comes with test day. It’s always best to be prepared. With FLC’s forklift classifications training, you’ll get helpful forklift certification study guides to build your knowledge base about:

• OSHA safety standards
• Correct load handling
• Recognizing safety hazards
• And much more

FLC’s forklift study guide comes standard with all of our training modules. Plus, our courses include:

• Step-by-step guides
• Printable templates
• Trainer orientation CD
• Custom training content for seven different real-world forklift driving scenarios
• And more

FLC is the best option to get OSHA compliance training. And with our forklift certification study guide and other helpful tools, you’ll pass your test with flying colors!

How to Get Your Hands on a Forklift Training Guide

For every forklift operator that is not trained and certified, OSHA may levy a $7,000 fine. In cases of willful neglect, they have been known to slap on ten times that amount. Training your work force with is fast, easy and much more affordable than closing your eyes and hoping they don’t find you.

According to OSHA, forklift operators need to be trained on the specific equipment they are expected to use and in the environment where they are going to operate it.

Inside the Training Kit, you will find seven courses covering the different classes of forklifts, together with written, step-by-step forklift study guides, printable templates for equipment inspection checklists, student handouts, operator cards, certificates of completion, and a hands on evaluation guide and checklist.

If you have any questions about our forklift study guides or training courses, call our OSHA forklift training consultants at (888) 278-8896. Thanks for visiting FLC!

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