10 Tips On Becoming A Forklift Driver
Driving a forklift can be one of the most rewarding job roles in a workplace. However, becoming a forklift driver may not be simple to achieve. Many people believe that forklift driving is something you can just dive in and get on with immediately, and do not understand the journey you need to go on.
We have put together our top ten tips on how to become a certified forklift driver, ensuring that you have a fulfilling job role whilst always remaining safe.
1. Make sure it’s the right role for you
Before deciding you definitely want to become a forklift driver, it is important to understand exactly what the role demands of you. Many people believe that driving a forklift is a joy ride and do not take safety seriously.
If you feel this way, the role may not be right for you. However, if you are dedicated to putting in the appropriate amount of time and are willing to adhere to safety measures, all whilst finding job satisfaction, you can begin your journey.
2. Develop an understanding of how forklifts work
One thing that some people may overlook when learning to become a forklift operator is actually understanding how forklifts work. Taking the time to familiarise yourself with the machinery that you are using can drastically improve how well you drive the vehicle.
A way of gathering an understanding is to read up on all of the different types of forklift brand that you may use. At Trucks Direct, we supply the leading brands such as Caterpillar, JCB, Hyster and many more. Browse through our range today to get to grips with all of the brands you may use.
3. Do you have appropriate qualifications?
Becoming a forklift driver does not usually have a need for a set number of GCSEs or A-Levels. Often, college courses such as a Level 2 in forklift truck operations may require two or more GCSEs graded from 9 to 3 (A* to D).
However, this is not always the case and will vary depending on your college training provider. These courses are an excellent way of developing your knowledge and will often lead to you becoming a certified forklift driver. However, if you would rather more on the job learning you may wish to look into an apprenticeship.
4. Seek out an apprenticeship
Apprenticeships are becoming an increasingly popular means of attaining employment in the sector you wish to work in. Usually, apprenticeships will need you to have some previous qualifications such as GCSEs or equivalent. Usually they will require English and maths qualifications, but some courses do offer boosters on these subjects.
Apprenticeships are an amazing way to gain hands on experiences whilst also earning a wage, they are also available to anyone of any age. There are many apprenticeships that are available around the world of forklifts, and gov.uk provide a service to search for a specific type.
5. Try and find work experience
One of the best ways to learn to drive a forklift is to gain work experience. Work experience is often a factor that many employers look for when hiring. Often, someone will receive a job if they have more relative experience than other candidates.
Do not be afraid to put yourself out there. If you are dedicated to driving forklifts then contacting companies or construction sites that have work experience opportunities can be a great way of gaining that all-important experience.
6. Make sure you have the appropriate certifications
Once you have ensured you have relevant qualifications and have discovered more about the world of apprenticeships the next step is to ensure that you have the appropriate registrations. One of the most common questions trainees ask themselves is ‘where can I get certified to drive a forklift?’
In order to safely operate a forklift on a construction site you must first attain a Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) card. Once you have been correctly trained on how to operate a forklift be it via a college course, apprenticeship or on the job training, a CSCS card will allow you to work on construction sites. Forklift driving does not require a formal license, however training must be implemented and you may need to be signed off by the training provider.
7. Keep several copies of important documents
When you have received your CSCS card and are working on a construction site it is important that you keep your card with you. If you do not have proof of your card, with a suitable photo attached, you may not be allowed to enter or work on site.
Keeping several copies of certification is always a good idea. Try not to keep only digital copies, but have printed out physical documents that you have stored away safely. Keeping copies of emails is also a good idea as important information is usually included in these.
8. Know the theory behind forklift driving
Much like learning to drive a car, driving theory is incredibly important when you are becoming a forklift driver. Unlike driving a car there is no formal theory test that must be passed before you can begin training. Many training providers do provide their own tests or quizzes to make sure you have the appropriate knowledge.
Common questions on forklift theory tests include:
- When should a forklift be inspected?
- How should a forklift operator load two objects of different weights on a single forklift?
- Who is responsible for checking that the lift truck is in good working order before use?
There are many more questions, these are just a few examples. Answers to these questions should be highlighted in your training so you will never go into a test blind.
9. Be confident but always safe
A common mistake made when becoming a forklift driver is being scared to operate an actual forklift. Confidence is key when it comes to working with equipment and often the more tentative drivers are the most dangerous.
Confidence however should not completely take over. Being assured of what you are doing following high-quality training should leave you in good stead to work effectively but you should always make sure you are adhering to safety protocols. Have faith in yourself but always make sure you are operating safely.
10. If you feel you need more practice, ask for it
Never operate a forklift if you do not feel comfortable. Once training has been completed it is common practice that you will be put to work. If you do not feel safe then say so, do not feel pressured to do anything you do not want to.
Training providers of a high standard will never make you do anything you’re not comfortable with. If you feel like you need a little extra time, or just want to practice more, then just say. Your trainer would rather you take longer to train and remain safe than fly through the training only to cause an accident.
Becoming a forklift driver can be a fulfilling process. Always follow the advice of qualified trainers and associate yourselves with the different types of forklifts you may use. If you would like any further information, or have a question we could help with, contact us today.