What to Look for in a Forklift Operator
Category: Equipment and Solutions
Your forklifts are assets to your business, responsible for keeping productivity high and risk low. As a result, forklift drivers play an equally essential role in a range of industries, including agriculture, construction, distribution, warehousing, and manufacturing.
When hiring forklift operators, you want to find candidates who will take proper care of your machinery, as careful driving promotes workplace safety while extending the usable life of your forklifts. When you understand what qualifications and skills operators need to perform at a high level, you can make a more confident hire.
Who Should Be a Forklift Driver?
With proper training, many people can make good forklift operators. However, there are some basic requirements you should keep in mind when hiring. For example, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires all forklift operators to be 18 years of age or older. Employers must also ensure that operators are capable of using the equipment properly. In other words, OSHA requires that operators receive training in forklift operation and pass an evaluation.
As the employer, you will be responsible for ensuring that your new hires receive training on the forklifts they will operate. However, you may still want to search for candidates with specific backgrounds suited to the job. People with previous experience operating forklifts or construction equipment make excellent forklift drivers.
Alternately, you might look for candidates who have proactively sought out forklift operator training at a community college, vocational school or other training location. A candidate who has received prior training, even on a different machine, will have a solid foundation on which to build their skills at your job site.
Signs of a Good Forklift Driver
Certain skills and attitudes also contribute to a forklift driver’s ability to succeed in the workplace. Important qualities and abilities for forklift drivers to possess include:
- Willingness to learn: Even forklift operators with years of experience need to be open to learning new skills. Operating different forklift models in different industries requires different skills that must be acquired through training and practice.
- Mechanical knowledge: A person who understands the machine they are operating and its basic maintenance requirements will help ensure your forklifts stay in good condition.
- Basic math skills: The ability to do basic mathematics will enable a forklift operator to calculate loads and grasp basic physics, which are both important skills forklift drivers need to work safely and prevent overloading.
- Commitment to safety: Perhaps the most important attitude a forklift operator can possess is a commitment to safety, as forklifts can pose a danger to the operator and bystanders if the operator fails to take proper precautions.
When you look for these signs of a good forklift driver, you will help ensure your new hires treat the job and the equipment you provide with the seriousness and caution required.
Contact RAKA for Forklift Safety Training
After you’ve chosen forklift operators to join your team, you need to ensure they have the knowledge and skills to operate the specific forklift models you own. At RAKA, we offer operator training and certification for new operators, as well as refresher training to keep existing employees in compliance with regulatory requirements.
In addition to safety training, we also offer a wide range of new, used and rental forklifts from trusted manufacturers. We have been serving the upper Midwest since the 1970s, so our staff has the knowledge to meet your needs. For more information about safety training or equipment, contact us online today.