If you are now making a decision if you want to pursue a career as a forklift driver and you’re maybe asking where do forklift operators work?
You may find yourself working in many different workplaces – constructions sites, ports, warehouses, storage yards and factories.
You could be assigned to different workplace conditions and extreme temperatures. Depending on the kind of materials you will be moving.
Working as a forklift operator is an 8-hour shift. But in the warehouses where customers come and go and are around, work shifts can be round the clock.
If you think being a forklift operator is easy then you’re wrong. The task is repetitive and physically demanding. Not all tasks can be done by the forklift, in some situation you may need to lift pallets, carry heavy tools and do the goods inventory.
In the Construction Sites
Working in construction sites is perhaps the most dangerous undertaking an operator will venture into because of the ever present hazardous situations. With that being said, construction workers are required to under some OSHA training, and one of the most required is the OSHA 10 and OSHA 30.
For forklift operators, they may be required to complete an OSHA 10 construction training. The requirement to undergo such training is a federal law, while some states do enacted laws regarding this matter.
Nowadays, the requirement to complete an OSHA 10 and OSHA 30 training is driven by industry standards – so whether it may or may not be required in the state, your employer may require you to have this kind of OSHA outreach training.
In the Ports and Dockyards
Terminal operators and stevedoring companies frequently require talents like you. The cargo handling activities is 24x7 and will certainly need qualified men to load and unload cargo. Forklift operators are very much in depend in this type of work environment; plus the fact overtime pay can give fat paycheck.
Just like in the construction sites, working in ports and dockyards is a challenging and do present danger and hence necessary experience and safety training will be required prior to getting you accepted for the job.
Workers in ports and dockyards experience fatigue because of their nature of work. They subject their bodies to extended hours of work, and inadequate sleep. With that being said, employers are aware of this situation, and they do provide education and training for their workers especially to those operating heavy machineries.
If you’re going to work in dockyards and ports, ensure you are in good physical condition. Working in this kind of workplace does require someone to be physically fit and without prevailing illness or health condition.
In the Warehouse
Working in the warehouses is an indoor setting that do require you to pay attention to details. You will be tasked to collect the desired materials, and transporting them into the desired destination. Besides that you will be assigned in the accurate checking of materials that go in and out of the warehouse. This is when you need to be have a keen eye to details because the objective is make the goods and materials organized.
Working in the warehouse do present fewer dangers compared to the previous workplaces mentioned above. Working in the warehouse, because of the tight spaces and the forklift can operate in, can be challenging.
Have you seen a video online of a forklift that hit a rack in warehouse? The whole racking systems in the warehouse collapsed destroying and damaging precious products. Not only that, the most serious matter in the collapse is there could be other people during the collapse.
You don’t want to suffer such incident while working in the warehouse. Hence, regular safety training in the proper use of the forklift trucks and working in the warehouse is mandatory. Your employer will supply such training. This is an obligation of the company to provide such training to their workers.
Working in Factories
Compared to the previous work conditions mentioned above, working in factories do present fewer risks and dangers. You will be responsible to the day-to-day loading and unloading the goods and materials and other freights. Maintain good inventory of the materials that go and in out of the production lines.
Factories require fewer forklift operators to do tasks. If you’re just new and you want to land your first job, working in the factories can give you the much-needed experience and practical skills.
Proper training and certification will be required. Getting trained and certified do take a little time and some effort. The training usually takes about 2 days to complete, depending on the type of truck you want to have training on.
Let me leave this word – never ever take an online training, it only provides you the theoretical knowledge. What you need is both theoretical knowledge and practical skills. You need spend time taking the training, it only takes a short period of time to get trained and certified.
Getting the Require Certification to Become a Forklift Operator
Operating this truck is considered hazardous. Considering the weight and size of the forklift, accidents do happen when operated by someone who is not capable. Therefore before you can get a job as a forklift operator you need to be certified first.
Before you can get certified, there are some basic requirements that you need to comply with.
First, the age is important – you cannot be a forklift operator if you are below 18 years old. Hiring managers are picky about the job candidate’s age, you won’t be able to get a job unless you’re 18 years or older. The second basic requirement is you need to have a high school diploma to prove your education (a GED certificate will do as well). Third, just I’ve mentioned already, this job is physically demanding, therefore, you need to be in good health.
You can then take formal training in the vocational and technical school or college that offers forklift certification training. To make it convenient for you, find one that is nearest to your area.
Once you are enrolled, you will go through the classroom training that takes up about 5 hours to complete. After that, you will have the opportunity to operate the forklift hands-on during the practical training.
At the end of the training course, the instructor will then facilitate a written exam and practical test to verify your competency. If all goes well and you’ve succeeded passing both tests, the instructor will issue you a certificate of training completion and/or operator card.
Congratulations, you are now forklift certified.
Career Paths of the Profession
In the beginning, you may need to find a job as a warehouse assistant or clerk. Doing so will give you the opportunity to gain the experience to climb up the career ladder.
You can take other pieces of training related to your job. Those are added credentials for career advancement. The experience you’ve attained through the years and the training you’ve achieved during your employment is a great recipe for a job promotion. You could a team leader or a warehouse supervisor.
If you’ve been working for the company and you’ve been promoted several times, you could be appointed as manager.
Professionalism and dedication towards your work are the key elements to progress in any field. You just have to express those two credentials and you could find yourself on the brink of advancement.
If you have the passion to become an operating engineer, you can take a heavy equipment training course. Forklift operators eventually become equipment operator which has better pay.
Advancing in Your Job
You can receive a lot of tips and suggestion in advancing your career in this field. The goal is to pick that are applicable to you, do take action and begin the first step.
You can set goals you want to target in the next coming decades. Take time think where you want to bring your career. You may be vying for a new position in your company or you may want to leave your present company and venture out to find a better opportunity.
Go take different professional development training. Be strategic about the career you want to follow in your chosen field. Doing so will able you to decide the training you want to take that is applicable to your chosen profession.
Advancing career is a never-ending undertaking. What’s important is you’re mobile and keep up with the challenge to the ever-changing landscape.
The Bottom Line on This
If you are just starting your career and don’t have yet sufficient knowledge about this job, the ones that could help are your colleagues. Those friends of yours who are forklift operators can definitely give you a boost in deciding if this job is the one you want to do.
Ask them the same question – where do they work as forklift operators. They may give you an additional insight on how to succeed in this job.
They could even refer you to an employer for possible employment.
Go talk to your colleagues or to a counselor if this career path is the one you want to take.
Good luck and have a good career in the next coming years!