How to become a Forklift Operator

Forklift operators drive forklifts to shift and stack bales, cartons, containers, crates and pallets of goods in areas such as timber yards and warehouses. They may also move shipping containers on the waterfront.

Personal requirements of a Forklift Operator

  • Enjoy practical and manual activities
  • Able to judge distances
  • Safety-conscious
  • Good hearing and eyesight (may be corrected)
  • Meet appropriate age restrictions

Education & Training for a Forklift Operator

To become a forklift operator you usually have to obtain a licence to Perform High Risk Work. To gain a licence, you will need to complete units of competency at an approved Registered Training Organisation and work under the supervision of a licensed operator. You will also need to keep an approved logbook to record competencies achieved during training. Assessment by an independent assessor will then be required. The Perform High Risk Work Licence is issued under the National Standard for Licensing Persons Performing High Risk Work. You can also become a forklift operator through a traineeship in Warehousing Operations. Entry requirements may vary, but employers generally require Year 10. For more details, see Section 2. Ask your career adviser about the possibility of starting some of this training in school.

Duties & Tasks of a Forklift Operator

Forklift operators may perform the following tasks:

  • lift, stack and unstack articles and materials using diesel, electric, gas or petrol powered trucks equipped with fork attachments
  • move raw materials and finished goods to processing or dispatch areas of factories
  • ensure goods are stored in the correct area of a warehouse so they may be located easily when making up orders
  • load transport vehicles, ensuring loads are evenly and securely placed
  • service and make minor adjustments to the forklift
  • keep a record of daily operations.

Working conditions for a Forklift Operator

Forklift operators work indoors and outdoors. They may be required to work shifts and may have some contact with the public.

Employment Opportunities for a Forklift Operator

Forklift operators work in warehouses in the wholesale, manufacturing, freight forwarding and primary industries. Federal, state and territory government departments also employ forklift operators. Some forklift operators also perform other tasks such as stores or clerical work.

Additional Information
You must be 18 years of age to be eligible to obtain a Perform High Risk Work Licence. However, training may commence at a younger age.
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