A forklift driver is accountable for the loading and unloading of a variety of goods in warehouses or construction sites. Their primary duty is to operate a forklift to move, locate, relocate, stack, and count merchandise around warehouses, worksites, factories, and construction sites. The operator is responsible for providing safe and efficient functioning of forklift and may also require to perform other duties like order filling. The operators need to be real individuals and they should be independent, stable, genuine, and thrifty. They have to be physically fit to operate the machine. The forklift operators work in the warehouse, factories, supply yards, construction sites, and storage yards. Sometimes they need to work in extreme temperature and depends on the kind of material they are moving. Most of the operators work 8-hour shifts and in the 24-hour warehouse, the shifts can be round the clock.
What does a forklift operator do?
A forklift operator is specialized operating a distinct type of vehicle which has a large pronged fork that protrudes from the front that can easily rotate, lift, and move cargo according to the operator’s directions. These machines are quite popular in the warehouse and factories and they are widely used for loading and unloading stocks. The machine has a hydraulic lifting mechanism and the forks lift heavy and large objects. Driving a forklift isn’t easy as it is hard work. Not everything can be lifted using a forklift, so you should be ready to carry heavy objects and stoops in an awkward position. Operating the forklift is considered a hazardous occupation as this big machine can lead to accidents. They can be however avoided by strictly following operating procedures and safety rules. You need to be constantly vigilant and aware of your surroundings to keep your co-workers safe. The forklift operator needs to perform various duties which include:
- Unloading shipments safely and moving products to the storage location
- Stacking and storing goods in apt areas
- Ensuring inbound and outbound stocks are accurate and free of damage
- Reporting quality variances
- Preparing product for shipment and ensuring the exact number and type of product is shipped
- Performing loading duties in an efficient manner meeting customer service standard
- Efficiently moving products from storage areas into trailers
- Loading, unloading, and moving products and material
- Make use of radiofrequency equipment for picking, receiving, and loading products
- Inspecting and performing minor maintenance of forklift and other equipment
- Updating records and reports in the system and maintaining inventory control system
- Assisting in physical inventories and ensuring proper stock rotation
- Following written instructions and keeping the records
- Completing physical task quickly
How to become a certified forklift driver?
Being a forklift delivery driver is a tedious job and it requires skill as well as experience operating the machine. The operator needs to be fit and healthy enough to drive the forklift in warehouses and factories. You require safety training and certification to operate the machine. Once you gain the skills, you can look for a forklift driver’s position. Here are given the steps to become a forklift driver.
Step 1: Gain the necessary education and experience
The individual needs to be at least 18 years of age and only then, you will be hired by employers in various countries to operate the machine. You need to hold a driver’s license or government issues ID to prove your age. The individual needs to have a high school diploma and most employers accept a GED. To operate a forklift, you need to have worked in this environment. This kind of experience will make you used to face extreme outdoor conditions as well as fumes, loud noises commonly found in warehouses. You may take a part-time job at construction sites to gain experience.
Step 2: Get certified
You may join an OSHO-approved training program and make sure you are been trained by a qualified training instructor. After completing the program, receive an OSHO approved course certificate. Make sure you perform practical training sessions in person with the trainer. You will also need to be evaluated in-person to get certified. You may complete formal instructions online. Based on your needs, you can get training in operating warehouse forklifts, rough terrain forklifts, and pallet jacks. You have to complete a short test when you are done with formal instructions. Perform practical training in the classroom so that you can experience live demonstrations with the forklift. Complete evaluation in-person to become certified. You have to operate the forklift under the supervision of a trainer and he will evaluate your performance. Once you pass the person evaluation, you will be considered OSHO certified. As a part of OSHO training, your employer will require you to get re-evaluated every three years to confirm your training is up to date.
Step 3: Find a job
You may apply for a forklift driver job online. Look for an open position for a certified forklift driver and check for open calls at construction sites or warehouses. If you are already working in a warehouse, see if there are any openings for forklift drivers. There are many construction sites and warehouses that pull out a call for drivers through local employment centers. Let employers know you are OSHO certified. Employers will hire you if they know you are certified and ready to work.
Skills and attributes needed for a forklift driver
The forklift operator needs to have good spatial awareness because they need to judge distances and weight. The driver needs to assess a load plus path required to deliver the load avoiding obstacles. They need to be accurate while moving goods from one place to another. They have to be reasonably fit and safety conscious is important while lifting loads. Good eyesight and hearing is required as a driver and should be ready to sit for a longer period.