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Forklift Drivers: What You Need to Know

Forklift drivers transport heavy materials or objects using industrial machinery. They typically work under warehouse managers, supply chain managers, or foremen at construction sites.

Understanding forklift drivers’ duties and responsibilities helps determine whether a career in an industry such as manufacturing, construction, or distribution is right for you. The entry process and transferrable skills you gain can lead to other career opportunities.

Here is what you need to know about forklift drivers to determine if you want to develop a career as one.

Common Forklift Driver Duties and Responsibilities

Forklift drivers often engage in these activities:

  • Learn the latest Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards
  • Maintain safe work environment practices
  • Manage inventory
  • Keep accurate counts of products for supply chain use
  • Inspect and repair the equipment
  • Report the equipment inspections and repairs
  • Operate truck machinery
  • Prepare and move cargo to and from shipping containers
  • Inspect shipments on pallets for damaged or missing products
  • Use radio communication to optimize workflow

Forklift Driver Skills

Specific hard and soft skills are essential for forklift drivers’ success:

  • Physical strength to independently lift at least 50 pounds
  • Computation to maintain inventory and count materials
  • Equipment knowledge to safely operate equipment and machinery
  • Communication to provide instructions and updates on the work
  • Collaboration to increase efficiency while completing projects

Forklift Driver Qualifications

Forklift drivers typically must be at least 18 years old. A high school diploma or GED usually is required.

Most forklift drivers must earn certification for the type of truck they want to operate. Safety training certification can be beneficial as well. Certification typically involves completing an OSHA-approved course, passing an exam, completing the training, and finishing a final skills evaluation.

There may be additional requirements for specific forklift jobs. For instance, a role that involves handling hazardous materials may require certification that verifies this ability.

Forklift Driver Work Environments

Work environments for forklift drivers include warehouses, factories, manufacturing facilities, and construction sites. The drivers load large or cumbersome cargo onto pallets, then use a truck to lift and transport them.

Forklift drivers may work indoors or outdoors. Eight-hour shifts are common.

Forklift Driver Compensation

Forklift drivers earn competitive income and benefits. Compensation depends on the employee’s certifications, experience level, company, and location.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) anticipates thousands of jobs being created for forklift drivers in the coming years. Much of the demand will come from the increase in warehousing as customers continue to shop online.

Are You Looking for a Job as a Forklift Driver?

Staff Right Solutions can match you with forklift driver roles that fit your skills, experience, and certification. Visit our job board today.

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