A forklift driver is a professional in the manufacturing industry that uses forklifts to transport heavy materials around factories, warehouses, construction sites, or even storage sites. Forklift drivers usually work under the direct supervision of warehouse and supply chain managers.
A forklift driver’s primary responsibility is that of loading cargo onto a large pallet that’s designed with the spaces for the prongs of the forklift to insert and stay in place while the lead is being lifted and moved.
A forklift driver is an entry-level position that’s not usually required to have any higher education in most instances. However, some companies may require a GED or High School Diploma, while other employers may prefer candidates with a GED or High School Diploma but not require it. If you don’t have a GED or High School Diploma and would like to better your chances of securing a position, you should consider getting your GED either online or from a community college.
A forklift is a specialized vehicle that requires training to operate safely and effectively. The guidelines and standards for such training are provided by OSHA, including formal instruction with practical, hands-on training and evaluation that ends in certification. A forklift driver is not legally permitted to operate a forklift without supervision before completing training and being evaluated.
Much of the training for forklift drivers happens on the job after they are hired. An experienced and certified instructor will show you how to operate a forklift safely and skillfully and navigate it around the space. Forklift drivers with prior work experience might require less training, particularly if they have some experience in a similar industry.
Employers sometimes hire entry-level forklift drivers intending to sponsor their training and certification OSHA. Several certifications are available online as well as at technical schools and community colleges. A forklift driver may sometimes want to gain extra certification after being hired to learn more about their work, become a forklift training instructor and increase their potential for being promoted.
Read more here from TRS Craft Services about the certifications needed.
Various websites offer OSHA-compliant certification courses in different types of machinery operation that may be beneficial for forklift drivers. You can complete the courses at your own pace, but they typically take 2 to 4 hours. Once you have gone through the course material, you will be required to take an exam and be approved to purchase a certificate.
Certified operators are however still required to have hands-on training in the workplace prior to being cleared to operate the equipment.
Online Certifications Include:
Sit Down Forklifts: It is the most common forklift that’s primarily used in construction sites, warehouses, and hazardous waste clean-up sites.
Stand Up Forklift: It is commonly found in farm stores, warehouses, and home improvement retail stores since it is compact and easier to manoeuvre than a sit-down forklift.
Scissor/Aerial Lift: It is commonly found in industries that require workers to reach high areas, such as construction. Such lifts require specialized training since they can reach heights of up to 40 feet and this can increase the safety risk.
Forklift drivers must possess certain technical and soft skills to ensure safety on the job while promoting efficiency.
Equipment Knowledge: Forklift drivers will in most cases need to use different types of heavy equipment besides forklifts. You may be required to know how to operate, inspect, as well as perform simple repairs on these machines.
Physical Strength: Forklift drivers are often required to lift boxes as well as other heavy materials without using forklifts or any other type of equipment. You may be required to lift at least 50 pounds without any assistance while avoiding injuring yourself. Employers often specify this quality in job descriptions.
Math Skills: Forklift drivers are often expected to keep track of inventory as well as counting materials. So, strong math skills can help such professionals complete relevant inventory tasks.
Communication Skills: Forklift drivers use verbal communication to provide instructions and updates on their work progress. You may be required to adapt your communication style depending on who you are speaking with, such as a supervisor, vendor, or coworker. Active listening is another valuable communication skill that allows forklift operators to fully understand the expectations of a task to complete it efficiently and properly.
Teamwork: Forklift drivers are frequently required to work as part of a team in charge of a certain work project or organization task. A successful forklift driver will work well with others to ensure that the job is done right.