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Forklift Driving Job: Starting a Career

ForkLifts Interested in a forklift driving job? This section gives an overview of what to expect on entering such a career - the expectations, pre-requisite qualifications, the work conditions as well as expected duties and responsibilities.

Forklift Driving Job Overview

A forklift driving job sees an operator taking control of an industrial class truck / tractor to lift and move various heavy resources.
Before any moving is done though operators need to estimate the weight to be lifted. This then has to be recorded - this way they are making sure that the vehicle is capable of handling the weight and reduce the chance of any unfortunate mishaps occurring.

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Operators are also responsible for their own vehicles and machinery - this means that it is up to them to ensure that parts are oiled and the fuel tanks are full. Their relationships with the mechanics therefore become very important leverage.

Career Path

Forklift job candidates have moved on from other related occupations such as construction or dock work. It is ultimately a managerial decision as to who receives a chance at the position.

A person young as 17 is eligible to apply for such a position, and no formal educational qualifications are necessary. A driver's license is also not a pre-requisite, the only time this would be to the contrary would be if the lift was to be used on the public roads. Some employers do however see the ownership of a license as testimony to an individual's physical co-ordination.

Depending on the employer and the degree of thoroughness, applicants might have fitness, reflex, concentration span and sight tests.

Initial training is done off-site at a centre that is RTITB / ITSSAR accredited. Training will then be taken on-site under the guidance of knowledgeable personnel. More on training.

Forklift Driving Job: Attributes and Abilities

This gives a rough guide to what "makes" a good operator.

Below is a list of well sought after attributes:

  • Be physically fit and mentally healthy.
  • Good eyesight - with or without corrective eyewear.
  • Good hearing.
  • Be able to stay focused for long periods of time especially considering the nature of the work.
  • Have good hand eye co-ordination.
  • Be able to estimate weight
  • Be able to follow instructions precisely and accurately.

Some of the skills that are often sought include:

  • Having good reasoning and problem solving skills

  • Being able to work with people. This is necessary when working in a large workplace.

  • Being responsible and mechanically minded.

  • Having average / above average levels of perception and visualization.

It would also help to have values that are related to such a position; this would more than likely see the individual gaining higher levels of satisfaction. Compatible values may include some of the following:

  • Those who like to receive support and commitment from their employer. They want to be seen as an asset that receives time and attention which ultimately helps them gain self-improvement.
  • Those that are people orientated, and value the importance of relationships. People who value an unpressured, friendly morally strong work environment.
  • Those who take pride in the skills that accompany physical / hands-on activities.
  • Those who value structure, who like routine and who understand the value of standards and the need for authority.

Work Conditions

This type of career is undertaken in a unique environment. Having an understanding of this is important before a final career decision is made.

Operators will need to communicate with superiors and other employees to establish what needs to be moved, when it needs to be moved and where it needs to be moved to, as well as establishing if there are any special task requirements.

Operators will have to get use to wearing protective gear - hard hats, eye goggles and work gloves. They might also be required to work outdoors under uncomfortable conditions such as the cold or rain. Operators also might be asked to move hazardous materials.

Work cycles tend to vary on the employer. But it is not uncommon for many operators to do some overtime.

Salary can be anything from $10 - $20 (£6 - £10) an hour.