Forklift Driver: Job Description and Education Requirements
Forklift drivers transport large materials and goods from one location to another. A forklift driver usually loads these materials onto trucks or other large transportation. Job skills are learned through formal or informal training programs offered by the employer. This physically demanding career also has voluntary certification.
Forklift Driver Job Description
Special industrial tractors and trucks are used by forklift drivers to move materials from one place to another. A forklift driver is expected to operate this vehicle at work-sites, construction sites, factories, storage yards and warehouses. These vehicles use hydraulic lifting mechanisms and can be dangerous if used improperly. Forklift driver must follow the proper safety procedures in order to minimize any danger to themselves or other workers.
Forklift drivers are expected to repeatedly perform physically demanding work. Safety devices like braces, hardhats and gloves are expected to be used. Some forklift drivers work outside in any climate or weather, while others work indoors.
The normal work routine for forklift drivers includes 8-hour shifts. However, the time these hours are can vary greatly. Some forklift drivers are expected to work nights or early mornings in order to get the materials moved on time. Extended hours can be required if delays occur.
Employers prefer applicants with a GED or a high school diploma. Applicants need to be at least 18 years old and able to perform physical labor. The job skills for this career are learned at work. Some companies have a formal job training program. Other businesses use an informal process of pairing up a new worker with an experienced forklift driver or supervisor. Regardless of the type of training used, new forklift drivers are expected to learn quickly and ask any questions they may have.
Some states may have licensure requirements for working with forklifts. An employer assists with this if necessary. Additionally, voluntary certification is available at many professional organizations. These professional certifications require the completion of a class, passing a written examination and passing forklift operation test. If a forklift driver has to work with dangerous materials, then safety procedures and training requirements have to be completed through the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (www.osha.gov).
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) includes forklift operators in the occupation of material moving machine operators. Jobs for industrial truck and tractor operators, including forklift operators, were expected to expand by 12% from 2010-2020, predicted the BLS. In 2012, the BLS revealed a median annual wage of $30,220 for industrial truck and tractor operators.
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