There’s a general belief that only men can do the hard work. Typically in a warehouse, it is the men who do the heavy lifting and complete the job at hand. Forklifts are always driven by men. It is male-dominated field. It is rare to see women driving this truck.
But can woman become a forklift operator? Can she do the job as effective as he?
Let’s just put this on record that the current OSHA standards or any other regulations and laws in other countries don’t discriminate women in the in this domain. In fact, you can’t find a single rule that only men can become forklift operator. You can become a forklift operator if you’re a woman.
The demand for qualified individuals who can operate forklifts will continue to climb in the next coming years. Women should not lose this opportunity. Women can be as effective as men doing this job.
Here some examples success stories of women doing this profession.
Women Who Succeeded on this Profession
- Lita Safriana, a female forklift operator at Riau Andalan Pulp and Paper's manufacturing complex in Pangkalan Kerinci in Pelalawan, Riau in Sumatra, Indonesia, proved women’s pride and promoted gender equality in the world commonly dominated by men. Follow this page to read her story.
- Daphney Aopo, Glenda Iruna, Margaret Peter, Norah Rau, Patrisa Leva and Pauline Nou are successful women in this field. They’re the first 5 female forklift operators in CPL Group, a supply chain company in Papua New Guinea. These women proved that if you educate female drivers, the company tends to have better efficiency. For their story, read this page.
- Bhawana Thapaliya is called as the first female driver of Nepal. She gained her experience as material handler by working in WFP Nepal’s Emergency Preparedness and Response Team when the country was hit a strong earthquake back in 2015. To see her full story, follow this page.
How to Become Forklift Certified
You need to be certified first to operate this machine. Getting the certification is not complicated. The process is usually quick and easy especially if you have had the training in the past.
Though it will take a little time, about a day or two to complete the training and you need spend a small investment about $100 to $250, depending on the type of truck you want to get certified, the advantage of having such credential outweighs your investment.
To get certified, here’s what you need to do:
- Enrollment in the training - To become a certified forklift operator typically requires you to attend a course. You can take the course by enrolling at the training school nearest your location. The type of forklift you want to have training on should match with the curriculum the school offers.
- Attending the classroom training – this is the first part of the course. At the classroom training, you will learn theoretical aspects such as the current and prevailing rules and regulations, general workplace safety issues, understanding visibility restrictions, right of way, pedestrian safety, fundamentals of forklift controls, knowing the equipment load capacity, fulcrum and stability, and many other topics may be deemed necessary for the type of forklift you are getting training on.
- Taking and passing the written test – as part of any certification process, you have to undergo this part to measure the theoretical knowledge you have obtained from the classroom training. The questionnaire is typically consist of multiple choice questions and the number of items will depend on the training school, but usually the questionnaire is consist of 100 questions. You have to have 75%, at least, to pass the written test. (The passing rate will depend on the standard of the school).
- Taking the practical training or the hands-on driving – When you are successful passing the written test, you will then proceed to taking the practical driving. At this part of the training course, you will operate the forklift under the supervision of the instructor. You will familiarize yourself with the operational controls, movement of the truck, loading and unloading of materials, stacking of goods, working with elevated forks, signaling and turning, stopping at the intersection, application of general safety issues and company safety protocols, traveling or transporting the loads, proper parking, and other topics necessary for the practical training.
- Getting Assessed and Evaluated – Now that you have finished taking the practical training, you will proceed to getting the performance assessment. This is where you get certified. The instructor will give a set of tasks you have to complete. Don’t you worry, the tasks you’ve done in the practical training is almost practically the same with the assessment. Make the instructor happy with your performance, you will be guaranteed to receiving your certificate.
At the end of the training course, successful students will receive their certificate of completion of training and operator card. The operator card is what they referred to as the license.
In other country such as Australia, forklift operation is considered as a high risk work; therefore, a stricter process applies when getting a license. Aside from the initial training you have had, you need to apply and submit the requirements to government before you can be issued with a license, high-risk work (HRW) license is what they referred to it.
To Make a Conclusion
People used to believe this is a work only for men. The forklift driving profession is usually perceived as for man. We have a general perception that the material handling and logistics industries are man’s world. It is uncommon to see women doing this work.
But not anymore, forklift truck diving can also be done by women and they can be as efficient and effective as the men.
If you have a plan to make this as your profession, definitely a woman can become a forklift operator.