Forklift Operator Job Duties

Are you considering a job as a forklift operator? If so, here’s a job description outline so you know exactly what will be required of you before and after being hired on.

Forklift operators are first and foremost responsible for operating an industrial forklift. This usually takes place in warehouses, shipyards, docks, flight lines, or other industrial workplace environments. Normal activities include loading and unloading shipping containers, trailers, bays and shelves or racks containing inventory. Materials usually handled in the day to day activities of a forklift operator include pallets containing boxes, and other types of stock, inventory, and material.

Forklift operators are primarily responsible for the equipment they operate, the inventory they handle, and the safety of themselves and their co-workers as well as pedestrians in their immediate work area.

The forklift itself consists of all the usual vehicle components, steering wheel, gas and brake pedals, a horn, plus levers for operating the lift up and down, and controlling the fork angles.

This is a job with inherent dangers to personnel and material being handled, so there are strict safety rules and regulations in place to protect workers and people in the work area. The safety standards are set by a federal organization called OSHA (Occupational Health & Safety Admin) and strictly adhered to by companies in all states. Therefore, all workers must take it upon themselves to report any damage or to equipment, racks or inventory directly to their supervisor or shift manager. This also includes any safety issues that arise with the work environment or the equipment.

Responsibilities and duties include but are not limited to:

  • Inspecting equipment before each use
  • Picking orders
  • Filling slots with new stock
  • Shrink-wrapping material and pallets in preparation for shipping
  • Attending meetings with co-workers and managers
  • Attending forklift training and certification refresher courses
  • Constantly being aware of their surroundings
  • Operating their equipment safely at all times
  • Reading orders and stock labels and locating inventory promptly
  • Using basic math skills
  • Lifting a minimum of 100 lbs. in most workplace environments


  • High school degree or equivalent
  • Forklift training
  • Ability to show up for work on time for every shift
  • Ability to listen to, read and follow directions
  • Forklift certification

In closing…

A forklift operator job can be a high-paying position at many companies and can lead to other positions, such as management. If you want to be employed full-time or part-time as a forklift driver, get to know the responsibilities and qualifications required before you apply for a job. The ability to show an understanding or at least basic knowledge of the job and its requirements, during an interview, will help put you one step ahead of others applying for the position.

Forklift Certification Courses

Forklift certification courses cover general safety and operation on a wide variety of forklift models. While knowing the most commonly used model at your workplace is important, there are several types of forklifts in operation in businesses across the United States.

Regardless of what type of forklift you will be working with, safety and certification need to be the number one concern for both employers and employees.

OSHA regulations are in place at both federal and state levels, and the responsibility for forklift training ultimately falls on businesses using powered industrial trucks such as forklifts. Someone in each organization who has specific knowledge and experience will likely be assigned the duty of training workers and determining their proficiency. There are also many courses and classes available on the Internet to help facilitate this forklift certification.

The major factors behind injuries on the job are caused by the failure of operators to get proper training. Along with the OSHA regulations and recommendations, companies will often offer their employees forklift certification courses. Anyone who will have the need to drive a forklift or even operate a hand truck or pallet jack should take the time to attend these classes.

If you are interested to know what is included in the different courses available, here’s a brief overview:

You will begin by learning the most important thing — safety. From there you’ll cover fundamentals of running a machine in a busy work environment and in confined spaces such as warehouses and shipyards. You might be operating in very close proximity to other people, equipment, and expensive inventory. You have to have complete control of your forklift, so none of these precious resources are damaged. This may require a spotter at times, and will always require careful, precise movements of your equipment.

In almost any industry exactly where forklifts are used, regulations that control their usage. Anyone who will be driving a forklift must go through forklift certification. Even workers who are forklift certified will need to go through a refresher course occasionally, depending on the rules their state have adopted.

There are several ways that businesses get their employees certified, including in-house training courses as well as manufacturers training classes. Many forklift suppliers also offer onsite training courses to businesses. Just be sure the courses you take, must meet with OSHA requirements.

Forklift Certification can help you land and keep a high-paying forklift job in your state, as more and more businesses are hiring lately and the need for forklift operators is again on the rise.

Are You Meeting New OSHA Forklift Operator Guidelines?

OSHA, the Occupational Health and Safety Administration, is a United States Department of Labor agency created by Congress to ensure safe working conditions in the U.S. Forklifts fall under OSHA’s powered industrial trucks section of their website.

OSHA ensures safe environments for workers by setting standards and enforcing them. They also provide training, education, and assistance to companies to help them be in compliance with OSHA standards. This includes companies that use forklifts and other powered industrial trucks (PIT’s) in their day to day operations.

OSHA sets federal standards, and many states set and implement their own standards based on federal OSHA guidelines. There are federal standards in place for the general industry, marine terminals, and the long shoring industry.

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) is responsible for investigating forklift-related deaths. They have found that many forklift operators, as well as many management at companies, have not been fully aware of the risks of operating or working near forklifts. By not adapting and enforcing OSHA guidelines and or forklift manufacturer guidelines, accidents continue to be reported on a regular basis.

It is federal and/or state law in the U.S. to follow OSHA guidelines and properly train and certify all forklift and powered industrial trucks operators. Not only do companies save money when safety is a given top priority, but they also save lives.

If your company does not have an OSHA approved forklift training and certification process in place, management needs to be made aware immediately. If you are a forklift driver looking for a job, you’ll increase your chances of finding gainful employment in your area no matter what state you live in, from Florida to California, and from Texas to Michigan.

There are many local forklift training facilities that you can get trained, certified and licensed at, as well as many online forklift certification sites. Costs range from about fifty dollars to a few hundred dollars. Your best bet is to shop around not only for the price, but for the best training you can find.

How Much Does Forklift Certification Cost?

If you are looking to work as a forklift operator, there are a number of forklift certification choices available at many different price levels. This post will discuss the need for certification as well as the different programs available online.

Forklift certification is important because of the inherent dangers of operating a forklift in a busy industrial environment such as a dock or warehouse. Learning more about the various parts of the forklift and how they all interact with one another is an important step to being a better forklift operator. This is one of the things you’ll learn during the certification process.

Forklifts in service can pose a number of hazards. A few hazards may be deadly or cause severe bodily injury. Other hazards are those which pose a potential risk of damage to the forklift, other equipment in the workplace and the inventory being handled. All of these situations lead to lost revenue for the company you’re working for.

It is for these reasons as well as OSHA and state legal requirements that everybody who drives a forklift should be properly trained and certified. It is a proven statistical fact that trained and properly certified drivers improve safety and reduce accidents.

As a manager you must never let inexperienced personnel operate a forklift or your own job will be in jeopardy if there is an accident, and accidents happen quickly.

While the cost of forklift certification and training should not be the driving force behind choosing a provider, it’s important to save money where you can, in today’s economy. So when looking for a training company, check out as many in your area as you can then compare them to online providers.

You’ll find forklift certification programs online for as little as $49 and as much as $200. When comparing them, it is important to consider exactly what you get. The courses range from 10 to 30 hours of instruction including video training, certification and even a wallet license card.

There are courses in English as well as Spanish available on the Internet, and many of them are now 100% online, so they can be completed right from the comfort of home.

If you take the time to get forklift certification before actually looking for a job you’ll show potential employers that you are serious about the safety of their equipment, inventory and work personnel. This will put you ahead of the average person applying for the same position and can help you land that job. It can also help you earn a higher wage. But most importantly, it will help you be a safe and effective forklift operator. And that’s what really counts.

Looking for a Good Forklift Operator Job? Get Certification!

If you are trying to find a good job as a forklift operator, you really need to look into getting your forklift certification.

Obtaining forklift certification is OSHA law in most states. The objective is always to ensure the safe practices of the fork lift driver and people who might be about during the operation of the forklift. There exists a penalty up to $7,000 per employee in which companies could be subject when they discover throughout an inspection that forklift drivers are working without forklift qualification, training, and certification. This is adequate reason to be sure all your personnel are certified together with OSHA forklift standards.

It’s fairly easy to get a license for driving a forklift. The first thing that you have to do is pass a written exam on forklift operation. The kind of questions that you will get in the exam will be related to forklift driving principles, safety requirements, and regulations.

Forklift certification can really make a difference as there are many businesses that will no longer hire you if you are not certified. Plus, making yourself the go-to person for other equipment can help you get a better job or even move up in the company. Years ago if you had employment as a forklift operator, you had been only expected to know how to function one machine, and that is almost all. These days with the economy as it is, employers are searching for people who can easily operate an assortment of different equipment in a safe and effective manner.

No longer can a company afford to pay multiple people to operate different machines. Nowadays, once the forklift operator is done with picking orders or storing inventory, they may be asked to move on to some other machines such hand trucks or even dozers. This means that not only will you have to get your forklift certification, but you may also need to get certified within multiple other machines in order to be competitive within the job market.

Right now there are quite a few companies that provide forklift certification for individuals. The cost varies from $49 online to a few hundred dollars for live training packages in your local area. Typically, the fee for an advisor to complete a good on-site training costs about a hundred dollars per staff member participating. It is money well spent for nearly all businesses who need value the safety of their inventory, and more importantly, their personnel.

New Forklift Training and Certification Requirements

Before workers are allowed to operate forklifts, they must go through an approved forklift training course. The forklift is a useful piece of equipment, but if used incorrectly it can cause serious injury and even death. Forklifts must be used properly all the time in order to lessen the chance of work place accidents.

Organizations must make sure employees handling or managing forklifts and hand lift equipment, have undergone comprehensive Forklift Training, regarding health and safety. This instruction should include what techniques may be implemented in using the apparatus, as well as any kind of risks associated with the equipment, surroundings and the precautions at each specific work location.

A good course in running a forklift truck reduces the chances of disasters in the place of work resulting in loss of lives and extra medical expenses. Wrongly dealt with lift trucks can be the reason for bad managing of materials that can lead to very large losses within the inventory. This could result in the decline of any business and even bring it to unprofitability.

An organization can save money if the company has its own in house instructor to coach its own employees because the business will not have to cover an outside plan to complete the actual course work. The instructor can do on site demonstrations with the proper use of the equipment and use video demonstrations of correct lift procedure and use. The trainer will then give the workers the test which when completed and passed, worker can be certified.

Forklift Training also permits you to carry out a fundamental inspection of looking at the forklift for leaks, the cable connections, the gas pipes as well as the condition with the hydraulics of the machine. The other factors to be considered during training are the positioning of the forks when the machine is in action and how to drive the truck on inclines if it is carrying a heavy load. You also have to consider the particular parking of these a vehicle, ways of picking and also setting lower cargo, and the rules that must be followed on the road when you are at the helm of the truck.

The worker must take a refresher Forklift Training course each and every two years in order to keep his accreditation up to date. The value of proper training cannot be overstated because a mistake can lead to significant injury or even death. The pace of accidents has been substantially curtailed as the safety regulating body OSHA has made lift certification a priority.

Some companies will outsource their Forklift Training while some organizations prefer to train their own workers in proper lift operation. The fork operator should finish approved courses and perform and complete a qualification test to be able to legally operate the lift truck.

Forklift Safety Hazards All Operators Need to Be Aware Of

Whenever driving a forklift, you need to pay attention not only to your environment, but also for the speed that you’re operating the forklift with. Speed limits vary greatly at different job sites, and you need to know what the limit is where you work. Of course, this is just one safety precaution you need to take.

Learning more about the various parts of the forklift and how they all interact is another essential step to being a safer forklift operator. The fork portion of the vehicle particularly is important, as this is what lifts and movements loads of sometimes very heavy materials.

Forklifts at work can pose a number of hazards. A few hazards may be deadly or cause severe bodily damage. Other hazards are those which pose a potential risk of damage to the fork lift or other equipment in the work space. One of the huge problems with forklifts is that they bump into the pallet racks and cause damage to the actual pallet rack. Any time impact occurs, that weakens the pallet shelving and can lead to a rack falling. This presents a danger to everybody in the area.

It is for that reason that everybody who works a fork lift should go by way of a forklift training course. In addition, it is an OSHA requirement that all operator must be forklift certified. These training courses offer several benefits for both the employee and the company. Proper training and certification cuts down on the amount of accidents and building damage caused by the forklift.

Do not let any inexperienced personnel drive a forklift, even if only on an extremely occasional schedule. Anyone using such products must have completed all the appropriate forklift training and certification. Once educated, your operator’s overall performance needs to be frequently monitored.

Forklift safety training is a requirement at nearly all places that use forklifts, in order to ensure the basic safety of key members of staff and of the material being handled. Frankly, it is the law in most areas. This alone ought to be reason enough to ensure your workers are properly trained where safety and health regulations are involved.

Forklift training and certification costs are minimal compared to the amount of damage and claims it can protect you against. The best training companies will not be the cheapest. Check out as many in your area as you can. Nowadays you can also get certification online.

Will I Earn More Money if I Get Forklift Training and Certification?

Can forklift certification really allow you to get paid more? This is the issue many forklift operators wonder about as they consider whether or not to take a training or certification class. After all, why go with the training if it can’t help you earn more. One also has to ask whether getting certified can help progress your career.

The fact is, studies have shown that those who DO get forklift certification do on average earn more than those who do not get the certification as well as work the same jobs. It is a very interesting fact as it would certainly indicate the answer then is to simply get certified and you’ll be likely to get compensated more.

However, you also think about whether additional circumstances contributed to this conclusion. For example, one could say that a number of these staff may have acquired more money since they did excellent work as well as were go getters in a number of various areas that impressed the actual boss to enable them to get paid a lot more. However, this thinking is actually flawed because not all administrators will automatically value great work and some those who are go getters will definitely not need to be certified to shine.

A far more likely outcome is that after someone gets forklift certification, they may be more valuable to long term positions. This means they can command a higher wage by pointing out this credential more than those who would not have it. Additionally, they may be able to get some higher paying jobs which are unavailable to those who don’t have certification. Either way, the result is the same: forklift certification helps both employers and employees in the long run.

Considering that the time and money required for forklift certification is minimal and the benefits potentially long term, the likely increased salary, means you should get certified at some point. In fact, you are much better off getting certified early on particularly if it will open some doorways to future work with other organizations.

Forklift Training: Worth The Cost?

Forklift training is something you’ll need to consider, whether you are a manager or you’re looking for a job as a forklift operator. Every year, thousands of significant injuries and even deaths come from accidents concerning forklifts. Statistics reveal that about 10 percent of these situations result from insufficient operator forklift training.

Duty rests on employers for ensuring forklift training to accepted standards, and on employees who plan to operate machinery in the workplace. For safety and health, it is imperative that organizations give appropriate training to employees, not only in the proper usage of workplace equipment and machinery, but also in the associated dangers involved and what potential hazards and precautions to consider.

Employers must make sure that employees managing or even supervising the usage of work equipment have undergone appropriate training. This instruction should involve what methods may be applied in using the apparatus, as well as any kind of risks in which such use might provide into perform and the precautions to put in location.

Each industry carries its very own risks. Regardless of what precautions a business takes, often there is the chance of a warehouse related accident happening. Of course, these kinds of accidents, a few causing death, are very upsetting to those involved and their family members. Such incidents, even when no-one is injured, may also involve significant cost towards the employer. Not only will damage or destruction occur to vehicles, but in addition to the surrounding building and its fitting and also to the goods being handled at the time.

It is entirely possible in the event of a major accident, that safety professionals and officials could decide to prosecute you. If it is found that you haven’t properly done your duties of training employees or accepting said training, business insurance may not cover the incident. Furthermore, if the directors are held liable, business-crippling penalties could be imposed on them.

This one thing should be a good enough reason to ensure you or your forklift operators are properly trained, especially where health and safety rules are concerned. Don’t let any untrained personnel operate a forklift truck, even if just on an occasional basis. Anyone making use of such gear must have passed all the appropriate forklift training and tests.

Forklift training costs are negligible compared to the consequences of accidents. And remember, once skilled, your operator’s efficiency needs to be on a regular basis monitored. Failure to train employees could have serious consequences. Regular training and retraining is essential to ensure the safety of staff.

Forklift Certification and OSHA Requirements

Obtaining forklift certification is important no matter what kind of forklift you will be operating. Forklifts operators require training and certification due to the possible safety hazards when operating this equipment.

Depending on your area the company you work for is ultimately responsible for forklift training and necessary certification, and they’re going to be supervised by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

OSHA requires that the employees who will be operating equipment such as forklifts, be certified. What they suggest for training personnel is that anyone who has specific experience and knowledge to train, provides the hands on training and also evaluates the operators proficiency with the equipment.

Depending on how comprehensive your boss wants your training to be, forklift training to get the forklift certification is often as short as an 8 hr shift. Your training may include watching safety videos plus a short written test and a hands-on driver competency test. Most of the time the boss will carry out the training based on the specific equipment and the typical work related conditions that you will be dealing with on the job.

If you’re reading this and are concerned because you are out of work, don’t be. A lot of times an employer will provide training and accreditation after you are hired — but it may also be gained on your own. There are many website offering certification and it can now be obtained on the Internet. Just remember, forklift certification does not guarantee employment.

A lot of times companies want experience and a thoroughly clean safety record. Nevertheless, obtaining certification all on your own will show motivation and dedication. Employers pay quite a bit of money for their staff to get certified, so if you do it on your own then you probably just saved them cash. It also looks good on your application or perhaps resume.

Regardless of whether get certification on your own or through an employer, OSHA recommends the following plan outline:

An introduction to the fork lift

This will be a broad overview of the equipment including different types of forklifts, features and the mechanics of a fork lift.


The next part will deal with safety as well as load handling and driving conditions and surroundings.


The final part will be a written test.

Forklift certification is a great tool to have when you’re looking for a work, especially with the economy in the state it is in today. There is a need for fork lift operators in nearly all states and you can get a job relatively easy if you show initiative and get trained and certified.