Can a contractor drive a government forklift? And if so, who is
responsible for providing and maintaining the forklift training/certification?
The following response is based solely on the question and background information provided. If the forklift was provided as Government-furnished property (GFP) under the contract, the use would be allowed in the performance under the contract subject to any restrictions listed in the contract. Any liability would be adjudicated under FAR 52.245-1(h).
The license requirement is discussed @ 2-1 AR 600-55 The Army Driver and Operator Standardization Program (Selection, Training, Testing, and Licensing):
b. DOD contractor employees assigned to operate Government-owned or Government-leased equipment in the performance of their contract will be in compliance with the licensing requirements of the State and local motor vehicle laws and certified, by the contractor and at the contractor’s expense, as being fully qualified to operate the equipment which they are assigned. They will not be issued an OF 346 or DA Form 5984–E. The prime contractor must document all operator qualifications and provide this documentation (commercial drivers’ license (CDL) if required for operating equipment) to the administrative contracting officer prior to the contract employee engaging in equipment operation. Contract employees must also complete the Army’s Accident Avoidance Course or a similar course produced by the contractor and approved by the local Government administrative contracting office. The administrative contracting officer will retain this documentation.
The requirement of AR 600-55 or local policy would need to be included in the contract, generally in the Performance Work Statement. Recommend you discuss with the requiring activity, contracting office, and legal counsel to determine if the contract contains the appropriate terms and conditions and path forward.