How old do you have to be to drive a forklift

Legal age to drive a forklift: 18 years oldLegal minimum age to drive a forklift

The minimum age that you are legally allowed to drive a forklift in the United States and Canada is…

18 years old

You need to be 18 to operate any heavy equipment like a forklift or to work in a potentially hazardous environment, like a factory, warehouse or distribution center. Learn more in our article on minimum age to legally work.

The law in both countries say you cannot work in any hazardous occupation until you turn 18.

Age to drive a forklift
You need to be at least 18 years of age to drive a forklift.

Requirements to drive a forklift in the U.S. or Canada:

  • You must meet the minimum age requirement of 18.
  • You must get a forklift operator certification. These are offered by forklift dealers and other authorized companies that train forklift operation and safety.
  • If you are going to work for a U.S. or Canadian company, you must legally be allowed to work in the country where you are employed. That means being a citizen, a permanent resident or a temporary resident with an applicable work visa.

Is driving a forklift really that dangerous?

According to forklift safety site ForkliftFails.com, there are 85 forklift deaths and 34,900 serious forklift related injuries each year in the United States.  Read more stats.

Most forklift related deaths occur when a forklift operator jumps from a lift truck that is rolling over.

How much can a forklift operator earn?

A forklift operator makes on average around $15 per hour, but with more experience can earn up to $20 per hour in the United States. That translates into around $30,000 to $40,000 per ear for a full time worker. And you can make more or less based on where you work, what you do and which company you work for.