Forklift Operator Job Description

Forklift Operator Job Description, Skills, and Salary

Get to know about the duties, responsibilities, qualifications, and skills requirements of a forklift operator. Feel free to use our job description template to produce your own. We also provide you with information about the salary you can earn as a forklift operator.


Who is a Forklift Operator?

A forklift operator, also known as a forklift driver, is a sought-after job in which employees have great skill and ability to transport goods to the storage locations intended for them.

A forklift operator is responsible for moving materials and stacking them. In addition to operating a forklift, they must also know how to operate the specific type of forklift and what safety features are on it. They must also know how to maintain the equipment and how to spot malfunctioning parts. A forklift operator must also have good hand-eye coordination, excellent peripheral vision, and good spatial relationships.

Whether you’re in the warehouse, or you’re looking for a new career, a Forklift operator can be a valuable asset to your business. This position is extremely important because it requires the operators to move loads safely and efficiently. These workers need to know how to read shipping documents, calculate freight quotes, and use automated inventory management solutions.

Forklift operators may work on production sites or in the warehouse, transferring deliveries and materials. Some jobs require them to pick up freight directly using a fork. Others may be responsible for performing basic inspections on machinery or performing simple maintenance tasks such as lubricating joints. Forklift operators tend to be realistic, independent, and sincere individuals. Some prefer a more physical, tactile job, while others are more conservative.


Forklift Operator Job description

Below are the forklift operator job description examples you can use to develop your resume or write a job description for your employee. Employers can also use it to sieve out job seekers when choosing candidates for interviews.

Forklift operators transport and store goods using forklifts and other industrial trucks. They are used wherever goods need to be transported, removed, stored, or relocated quickly and safely. Classically, the company and companies are from the areas of logistics, forwarding, and trading, but in most manufacturing companies, forklift operators are also used.

Forklift operators work full-time or part-time in production and storage, primarily in inventory and warehouse management. They take goods from trucks or freight wagons, are responsible for the safe and complete internal transport, the storage and retrieval of products, and the production supply with the material. Depending on the industry, forklift operators are also responsible for packaging, labeling, and order picking of the stored goods. In addition, the maintenance of all of the company’s conveyor vehicles can also be part of their duties.

Forklift operators with a floor conveyor license are used in various sectors of the economy, mainly in freight forwarding and logistics companies, in retail and wholesale, in industry, and in the construction sector. There they usually work in warehouses, sales, and factories, in production, or in certain (external) areas of a company.


A forklift operator has to do other tasks in addition to transporting the goods. He takes care of the documentation of the goods and uses certain IT programs that ensure the management of the inventory and its traceability.

The tasks of a forklift operator are extensive. The most important tasks include:

  • Safe handling of the forklift

A good forklift operator must be able to move his forklift skilfully and precisely through aisles, shelves, and between work surfaces in order to ensure that goods are transported quickly. By skillfully lifting and stacking them, it places goods on storage areas, goods transshipment points, ports, production facilities, and other places where a lot of goods and goods are moved.


  • Controlling goods

A forklift operator in the warehouse is responsible for removing the goods from the warehouse. These must be provided in the specified quantity in accordance with the shipping documents. Therefore, the forklift operator in the warehouse has to check both the quantity and the condition of the goods and, in cooperation with the order picking department, load them onto the intended transport vehicles or production sites.

  • Executing different loading activities

Goods that arrive in a warehouse are usually unloaded with a forklift. The unloading processes can take place from different transporters, such as trucks, delivery transporters, freight wagons, trailers, aircraft, or ships. In addition, forklift operators often work in production facilities, where they transport production material to the assembly lines of the production lines.

  • Optimizing the ways

When transporting goods within the warehouse and loading areas, forklift operators must follow the specified, usually shortest and/or safest routes. In this way, goods can be transported safely and efficiently.

  • Maintaining and repairing of the forklift

If a technical defect occurs on the forklift while working, forklift operators must also use their basic technical knowledge. If the technical defects can be corrected professionally and himself, the repair is usually carried out by the forklift operator himself. Major repairs or maintenance are not included.

Other important tasks performed by the forklift operator include:

  • Accepting goods and services
  • Scanning barcodes
  • Loading and unloading goods
  • Maneuvering the goods with the forklift
  • Checking the goods for damage


Essential Skills

To operate special models, for example, reach stackers or telehandlers, additional knowledge is required, which you can acquire in in-house training courses.

In advance, a medical examination will determine whether you are suitable for the job.

It is very advantageous if you, as a prospective forklift operator, have computer skills, because the control of modern floor conveyors is increasingly taking place via computer-controlled operating units. However, special computer skills are not required to acquire the forklift operator’s license. However, they increase your chances of being hired by companies that use such modern material handling equipment. You should also note that as a forklift operator you are increasingly confronted with computer-controlled warehouse management. The companies usually offer in-house training courses or give you a thorough induction before you start your own work.

The following physical characteristics are assumed or expected:

  • Adequate visual acuity
  • Good spatial vision, especially with regard to the lateral field of vision
  • Good hearing
  • Sufficient mobility
  • Alertness and responsiveness

It is also important that you have the appropriate character and mental aptitude. They should:

  • Understand physical and technical relationships,
  • Be able to learn and apply the meaning of signals,
  • Act reliably, prudently, and responsibly.



The job of a forklift operator does not require a specific school leaving certificate or relevant professional training. However, a forklift operator’s license is required. The operator’s license enables you to operate simple electric, gas or diesel-powered forklifts and similar floor conveyors. In order to be able to drive more complex models (e.g. telescopic loading vehicles or heavy reach forklifts), additional knowledge is required. These are conveyed in in-house training courses.

Before starting work, you must also undergo a medical check-up. This will clarify whether the necessary health requirements are met.

It is also important for a forklift operator that he understands the physical and technical relationships and the meaning of signals. As far as character traits are concerned, reliability, prudence, and a sense of responsibility are required.

In the course of the automation and digitization of operational processes, the demands on the work of the forklift operator are increasing; in many cases, they become specialists in warehouse logistics. More and more floor conveyors and warehouse management systems are computer-controlled, so at least basic computer skills are very beneficial for applicants. Appropriate knowledge significantly increases the chances of being selected for more demanding jobs by larger companies.


How to Become a Forklift Operator

  1. Find information

Before making the decision to be a forklift operator, you should know everything that goes into operating this lifting equipment. As well as what kind of skills you need to have, what jobs are done with this machinery, in which companies you can work. It is important to have knowledge of everything mentioned in detail so that you do not get any surprise when hiring a certifier.

Also, with this information, you will find out if this job is for you or not. Since sometimes they enroll in the training influenced by friends and/or family. Now, if you already have experience or work in a company that uses this equipment and you only need to be certified as a forklift operator to move up in your workplace, you can go to the next step.


  1. Choose a certified school

Today, there are many operator schools where you can train and become certified as a forklift operator. To choose the right one, you should look for one that is qualified and certified as the CCH Certification company. The school uses high-quality standards and proper methodology to train heavy machinery operators. And that also has the necessary permissions to issue valid certificates. But if you are already an employee of a company and you need to learn to operate a forklift in order to be promoted and thus access a salary increase, you can choose the certification courses that we have for you.

We also recommend asking about the cost and schedules, important so that you can organize and train without interrupting your work hours.


  1. Make sure it includes security issues

When choosing the school it is also important to ask if the training course includes occupational safety issues. These topics, approved by OSHA (“Occupational Safety and Health Association”), serve to ensure that you not only have the ability to operate a forklift properly but also to verify that you know the safety requirements. to operate this machinery according to OSHA safety standards.


  1. Attend training classes

After you have chosen the forklift operator school, you must attend the theoretical and practical classes. Since it will be important to see your responsibility and interest in learning this trade from the beginning. In addition, it will allow you to undergo adequate training that will help you become a certified forklift operator. Study well for the evaluations, since it will depend on whether you certify or not. Remember that your skills to safely operate lifting equipment will be graded on the road test.


  1. Request to be evaluated with the company’s machine

Just as the statement says, you must request that they train and evaluate you with the company’s forklift. Since each lifting equipment is unique and different, that is, not all are the same. So it is better to know well the lifting equipment with which you are going to work.

Remember that the operation of a forklift is a matter to be taken seriously and not lightly, as any mistake can lead to serious accidents. That can endanger the life of the operator and other workers, and there may even be monetary losses of merchandise and maintenance.


  1. Prepare for Assessments

If you want to get certified, apart from attending your classes, you must prepare to perform well in your evaluations, since the future forklift operator must pass a theoretical exam and a practical test to demonstrate their competence and expertise, as well as their attitude during the application of industrial safety standards in forklift operation. If they get good marks on the exam and pass the practical tests, they will have successfully completed the operator course.


  1. Medical exams

Medical exams will also be an important part of the evaluation. Since they will allow us to know if you are suitable to operate a forklift or not. Physical results should be within normal ranges, such as vision that should be at least 20/30 Snellen in one eye and 20/50 in the other, with or without corrective lenses. You must have an ability to distinguish colors, have good hearing, sufficient strength, agility, endurance, coordination, and speed of reaction to meet the operating demands of the equipment.


  1. Receive your certificate

After completing all the items in the OSHA-approved safety course, you are ready to be hired as a forklift operator. Since the certification that is delivered is from OSHA and that ensures that you have received the appropriate training. Passing the evaluation that uses a method set by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. The training involves both classroom and hands-on work and tests your driving ability.


  1. Renew your certificate annually

Once the person has been certified by the certifying company, they are ready to operate the forklift. But remember that this certification will be valid for at least one year. Once that time has passed, you will have to update your certificate to stay current in the workplace.


Where to work

Forklift Operators work in the following places:

  • Warehouses
  • Factories and Industries
  • Railroad Freight Centers
  • Ports
  • Construction sites


Forklift Operator Salary Scale

In the United States, a Forklift Operator makes an average of around $30,000 per year. The pay range for this position can be even higher, with the highest-earning forklift operators making over $31,000 per year. The average pay range for this job is around $14 to $16 an hour. In addition to the average salary, this job also has limited opportunities for advancement, so if you’re thinking about getting into this field, you might want to start by looking at online recruitment agencies.

When it comes to salary, the highest earners are typically those with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering. Those who have a high school diploma are also more likely to land forklift driving jobs. Forklift operators can choose between stand-up and sit-down models, depending on the type of work they plan to do. A high school diploma will also help you increase your job prospects. The best forklift operators have knowledge of all the different types of forklifts, and they know how to fuel them appropriately.

The salary for a forklift operator can also vary depending on the industry. Those in warehouses are generally compensated about $30,000 per year, but the highest paying forklift operators earn more than this. However, a higher level of experience is required for higher pay. Certification is a prerequisite for a higher salary. Once you’ve completed your training, you’ll need to get your Industrial Truck and Tractor operator license.

Job Description

Leave a Reply