More Than a Meme: Why Forklift Certification Matters

by / ⠀Career Advice Entrepreneurship / May 30, 2024
While these memes are funny, exaggerating the grandeur and prestige of forklift certification, safe forklift operation is critical for many organizations.

If you’ve spent any time on the internet looking at memes, you’ve probably seen a meme or two about forklift certification. While these memes are funny, exaggerating the grandeur and prestige of forklift certification, safe forklift operation is critical for many organizations.

Where did this meme culture come from? And why is forklift certification so valuable?

The Basics of Forklift Certification

Despite their simple and relatively small outward appearances, forklifts are dangerous pieces of heavy machinery. If mishandled or operated recklessly, they can easily tip, fall over, or lose control of a load, ultimately injuring or killing people nearby.

That’s why OSHA requires all forklift operators to be certified before they begin operating this piece of machinery. To receive a certification, an employee must undergo training and education for the safe operation of a forklift. Once an employee is determined to have all the knowledge and experience necessary to operate a forklift safely, they receive certification.

The certification process is relatively straightforward. In fact, you can now certify in one hour or less, and you have many options for how to pursue this certification. Your certified forklift operators will be able to use this piece of machinery once they’ve completed this requisite training.

So why all the memes and jokes?

Birth of a Meme

Forklift certification memes originated around 2016, with a Facebook group dedicated to their propagation. It’s unclear what the exact origin of this page or style of humor was, but in any case, a small group of people began finding humor in exaggerating the status, prestige, or sophistication of forklift certification.

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Genealogically, forklift certification memes are possibly related to trebuchet memes and ironic fishing memes, both of which use irony in combination with relatively mundane subjects to provide surreal humor opportunities.

The first memes came out around the mid-2000s but exploded in popularity in the late 2010s and early 2020s. Typical memes include stated preferences for people who are forklift certified or comparisons of forklift certification to other major accomplishments. For example, a creation may imply that it’s not worth voting for an American president unless that candidate is forklift certified or imply that forklift certification is the equivalent of a 400 IQ.

While many of these memes are hilarious, and they do rightfully point out that forklift certification isn’t something worth bragging about at this level, forklift certification is important and should be generally respected.

Why Forklift Certification Matters

Forklift certification for your employees is beneficial to your organization in several ways.

  •       Safety. The obvious benefit here is safety. It doesn’t take long to become forklift certified in the same way that it doesn’t take long to learn how to operate a seatbelt safely; forklifts are obviously more complicated than seatbelts, but both can be operated safely once you understand the fundamentals. If every forklift operator in your organization is properly trained and certified, the risk of accidents will plummet.
  •       Knowledge. Forklift certification also gives knowledge to your employees. They’ll have a much better understanding of how this piece of equipment works and what their role in the organization is.
  •       Skill flexibility. This is a great way to introduce skill flexibility into your organization as well. If you have multiple team members trained in multiple different areas, you can swap them in and out interchangeably, making your organization more agile in the process.
  •       Cost reductions. In many cases, your organization will save money by having more forklift-certified operators. Insurance companies may be willing to offer you significant discounts because of this perceived safety measure.
  •       Peace of mind. Perhaps even more importantly, forklift certification gives you peace of mind. You can rest easy knowing these people know the right way to handle this piece of equipment.
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It’s also beneficial for your employees:

  •       Safety. Your employees will feel safer and more secure knowing that their coworkers are properly trained and certified on the machinery they’re using.
  •       Confidence. Forklift operators can also feel more confident in how they’re working. They no longer have to guess whether they’re operating the machine properly.
  •       Resume expansion. While forklift certification is relatively common, it is a nice line to add to your resume.
  •       Skill development. Generally, this is an opportunity to learn something new and develop yourself as an employee. Many employees jump at the chance to continue advancing themselves.

Forklift certification memes are among the giants of ironic humor in this surreal, comedic, irreverent internet age. Certification for safe forklift operation may not be as impressive as winning a Nobel Prize for a scientific accomplishment, and it is funny to draw those types of comparisons. But it’s still important for all of us to take safe forklift operation seriously – and not take workplace safety for granted.

About The Author

Erica Stacey

Erica Stacey is an entrepreneur and business strategist. As a prolific writer, she leverages her expertise in leadership and innovation to empower young professionals. With a proven track record of successful ventures under her belt, Erica's insights provide invaluable guidance to aspiring business leaders seeking to make their mark in today's competitive landscape.


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