Forklift operators are manufacturing professionals who often transport heavy loads and materials around warehouses, facilities, and storage and construction sites safely. Forklift operators will load their cargo onto large pallets designed especially for the forklift’s prongs to be carefully inserted and stay in place throughout the journey.
In addition to transporting these loads, a forklift operator’s duties may also include:
- Preparing products and merchandise for shipment and moving such cargo safely to and from shipping containers or other vessels.
- Identifying and reporting any variance or deviation from quality standards to a quality assurance manager.
- Inspecting product shipments sent and received to identify any damaged or missing products.
- Communicating with other forklift operators about shipping, receiving, or organization issues, and materials or products with the use of radio equipment.
- Stocking and organizing heavy merchandise and materials accurately in specified storage locations.
- Maintaining equipment through regular inspections and reporting any malfunctions or issues to supervisors.
- Keeping an accurate count of inventory along with different products sent and received as a part of the supply chain.
- Performing basic equipment maintenance.
- Ensuring the work environment is safe and compliant with all Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards and guidelines.
Pre-Requisites to Becoming a Forklift Driver
Most forklift operator positions are entry-level and don’t require a higher education but do require training to ensure safe and effective operation. OSHA provides certain standards and guidelines for training, along with training materials and formal, hands-on instruction and evaluation in a process that ends in certification. This will typically occur on the job and be administered by more experienced forklift operators. Obtaining a certification is important for two reasons: legally, a forklift operator cannot operate a forklift without supervision until training has been completed and their performance has been evaluated and it reduces the chance of accidents occurring.
There are three different certifications, each covering a different type of forklift – sit-down forklifts, stand-up forklifts, and aerial/scissor lifts. The sit-down forklift is the most common in the workplace and is primarily used in warehouses and construction sites. Stand-up forklifts are more compact and easier to maneuver and are primarily used in warehouses, farm and home improvement stores, and other retail shops. Industries like construction which require workers to reach high areas will typically use aerial, or scissor, lifts. These lifts require the most amount of training, as the risk factor is quite literally heightened.
How to Become a Forklift Operator
Becoming forklift certified with Forklift Safety – America’s leader in OSHA compliant training kits – is easy! We offer comprehensive training kits that each will train new forklift operators how to operate the equipment safely, effectively, and responsibly. Contact Us today to see how we can make all your forklift trainings and certifications a breeze!