For some, the idea of driving a forklift is very enticing. Operating equipment can be delightful as well as part of a lucrative career.
If you don’t have any training or prior experience, then you’ll need to take a few steps before you can start a career as a forklift operator. Here’s what you need to do to qualify for a job that focuses on driving forklifts
Training Programs and Technical Certifications
Before you can begin operating a forklift, you need sufficient training. Along with hands-on experience, forklift driver courses cover a ton of important information.
You’ll learn about workplace safety, including how various surface conditions and load types impact stability. Additionally, you’ll receive instruction on safe driving practices, how to adjust for pedestrian and equipment traffic, and even essential maintenance.
In many cases, you will have a chance to acquire skills for different kinds of forklifts, including standup and sit-down versions. Plus, you’ll review OSHA safety requirements as well as any more that are outlined by your state.
Typically, companies favor candidates who graduate from a robust training program or have a technical certification from a reputable entity. While you’ll also have to participate in additional training at the worksite, if you are hired (as OSHA requires this), it ensures you have the right foundational capabilities and knowledge to perform in the role.
Must-Have Skills for Forklift Drivers
Along with the hard skill you’ll acquire during training, others will benefit you as a forklift driver. Basic math and computer skills are beneficial. The ability to do basic math ensures you can properly calculate loads, while computer skills assist you with various forms of equipment operation.
Typically, the ability to handle some heavy lifting is highly desirable. While your primary duties may involve operating a forklift, that doesn’t mean you won’t have to carry weighty boxes or use tools that can be a bit hefty.
Many of the other needed ones are soft skills, a reflection of various traits that company’s look for in top candidates. Often, employers prefer job seekers who are very safety-minded. Safety is critical in any production or warehouse environment, and candidates with that mindset tend to make smarter choices.
The ability to communicate well is also vital. Usually, forklift operators are part of a team, and effective collaboration can hinge on each person’s ability to communicate effectively and work well together.
Attention to detail is similarly a must. You need to be able to follow directions precisely, ensuring you can perform critical duties accurately, like pulling items to fulfill an order that is preparing for shipment.
Keen situational awareness is another skill forklift drivers need. Since a warehouse or production environment tends to be very active, the ability to keep track of what others are doing is paramount. That way, the chances of an accident are reduced.
Ultimately, forklift operators need the right combination of training, experience, and skills to excel. If you would like to learn more or are interested in finding a forklift driving job, the team at The Advance Group can help. Contact us to speak with one of our recruiters today and see how our services can make it easier than ever to launch your forklift operator career.