A forklift driver drives a forklift, or a small truck used to transport large amounts of material over short distances. Generally, a forklift driver works in an environment that requires the frequent transfer of heavy materials, such as a warehouse or construction site.
Those considering a career as a forklift driver should undergo some kind of forklift training and obtain certification to ensure the safety of the driver as well as others that may be working in and around the proximity of the vehicle.
A forklift is a fairly small electric or gas-powered truck consisting mainly of a body that can accommodate one person and is mounted on wheels. At the front of the body are two flat prongs, or “forks,” that can be raised and lowered using driver-operated controls.
A forklift driver inserts the tines of his machine under the materials he needs to lift, which are often stacked on pallets. Once the materials have been safely loaded onto the forks, the operator can drive their machine to the area where the materials are needed. By carefully manipulating the forklift controls, the driver can safely lower and release materials.
In general, a forklift driver works in an environment that requires the continuous transportation of materials over short distances. For example, if you work for a manufacturing company, you might drive your elevator between a warehouse and an adjacent loading dock. If he’s employed by a construction company, he’s likely to work on construction sites, transferring heavy materials like lumber from transport vehicles to parts of the site where they’re needed.
Forklift operation can present a number of potential safety hazards to both the driver and those around him. For example, an improperly loaded elevator can tip over and unevenly stacked pallets can fall. To minimize workplace accidents, many countries require forklift drivers to become certified. To become certified, drivers generally must complete a hands-on course that emphasizes safe lift operation. In many countries, this certification must be renewed every three to five years.
Those considering a career as a forklift driver should be aware that the position requires basic fitness. Drivers must be able to get on and off their lifts easily and may need to be able to lift small loads by hand. Additionally, forklift drivers must be able to tolerate the repetitive nature of this position, as well as the loud noises and extreme temperatures found in many warehouse and construction environments.