Finding The Right Forklift Operator
Forklifts are only as useful as the person who is operating them. Having someone who has no sense of warehouse environments or forklift driving skills can potentially be dangerous not only to themselves but to those in the same vicinity. Therefore, it is crucial that warehouse owners employ the right staff and identify the right skills in order to excel in the role of a forklift operator. As such this article will:
- List the key skills needed to be a successful forklift operator
- Answer “How do I become a certified forklift operator?”
- Final points
Key Skills Needed To Be A Successful Forklift Operator
Below we have identified the ideal skills needed to be a successful forklift driver:
Superb Spatial Awareness
The first skill that employers should look to identify in potential forklift operators is a superb level of spacial awareness. This is key when operating a forklift because if you picture a scenario where an operator has a pallet on the forklift, being able to judge the space surrounding the forklift can be crucial for the safety of others in the same vicinity. In addition, having good spacial awareness will also mean that you can fit in tighter gaps which is likely to be apparent in warehouse settings so being able to do this will improve the productivity of the business.
Ability To Work Well With Others
One of the most important aspects of a successful forklift operator is having the ability to work well with others. Forklift settings require constant communication with employees and all the different levels of management. Forklift drivers must interact effectively with co-workers, vendors, and sometimes even customers. Those who can speak clearly and listen to instructions first time have the best chance of finding success as a forklift driver. Being able to communicate through email, telephone, and written notes is also critical and highly advised.
Understanding Of Health And Safety
Safety when working with forklifts should be of high priority when you are making a new hire as a forklift operator. Finding a candidate that is focused on safety can save you a lot of time in the future in terms of training and minimising safety disciplinary meetings. It could even be a recommendation for warehouse managers to check if candidates have any Health and Safety training certificates before conducting the interview process.
Someone Who Is Highly Focused
Hiring someone who is focused will not only help to reduce your safety concerns in the workplace but will also be aware of what’s going on around them. Many of the injuries that occur in workplaces involving forklifts can be avoided if someone is highly focused with the line of work they are conducting.
Another point to make is that the dangerous nature of warehousing workplaces can be made significantly worse with an unfocused employee. As such, when you are in the interview process of hiring a new employee, make sure to pay particular attention to their attitudes and past records.
How Do I Become A Certified Forklift Operator?
Some of you reading may be asking yourself “How do I become a certified forklift operator?”. Well you’ll be thankful to know that we have listed the multiple avenues you could take to help you become a registered forklift driver:
One of the most straightforward ways to become a forklift driver is to apply for an apprenticeship with a building supplier, warehousing or manufacturing company. You can do this by contacting them directly via phone or on a company website.
Alternatively, you can have a more structured route to become a forklift driver by enrolling on a college course such as the Level 2 Award or Certificate in Forklift Truck Operations. According to the National Careers Service website, the entry requirements for a forklift operator course consists of:
- 2 or more GCSEs at grades 9 to 3 (A* to D), or equivalent, for a level 2 course
Now that you are aware of the desired skills forklift operators are required to have, it is worth noting that according to the law, people applying for a forklift apprenticeship programme must be over the age of 16 or 18 when operating in docks or ports.
In addition, most forklift operating companies require employees to be in ‘reasonably good health’. Although this is quite a loose term, here at Trucks Direct we suggest that you need to be free from any major diseases and free from a physical condition that might impair your ability to operate a forklift safely.
A final point to make note of if you want a successful career in the warehousing and transportation industry is to be flexible. Priorities change quickly during warehousing operations. Forklift drivers must be able to adjust to rapidly changing conditions, new technologies and other ad hoc requirements from higher management so being open to new ideas and innovations is paramount to your success.