How to become a Forklift Operator

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 for 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. Entry requirements may vary, but employers generally require Year 10.


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.

Duties & Tasks of a Forklift Operator

Forklift operators:

  • 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.

Tasks

  • May operate specialised trucks to carry items beneath elevated frames.
  • Ensuring goods are stored in correct areas so that they can be easily located when orders are made up.
  • Operating controls to align forklifts and raise and lower forks to stack and unstack items in warehouses, factories, timber yards and shipping terminals.
  • Transporting goods to designated areas in warehouses, factories, timber yards and shipping terminals.
  • Operating forklifts which run on rails or use electronic guidance systems to control movements in narrow aisles.
  • Inspecting and controlling equipment to identify wear and damage.
  • Monitoring equipment operation visually through gauges and instruments and through computerised monitoring equipment.
  • Servicing and performing minor repairs and adjustments to forklifts.

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.


Specializations

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.

  • Average age
    Average age
    42 years
  • Future Growth
    Future Growth
    Moderate
  • Gender Share
    Gender Share
    4% female
  • Average full-time
    Average full-time
    42 hours
  • Weekly Pay
    Weekly Pay
    $1,113
  • Skill level rating
    Skill level rating
    Lower skill
  • Unemployment
    Unemployment
    Average unemployment
  • Full-Time Share
    Full-Time Share
    86% Full-Time
  • Employment Size
    Employment Size
    63,500 workers
  • Employment Size
    Employment by state
    ACT: 0.2%
    NSW: 31.6%
    NT: 0.4%
    QLD: 17.8%
    SA: 7.6%
    TAS: 1.6%
    VIC: 31.4%
    WA: 9.4%
  • Employment Size
    Age brackets
    15-19: 0.8%
    20-24: 8%
    25-34: 24.1%
    35-44: 24.4%
    45-54: 24.6%
    55-59: 10%
    60-64: 6%
    65 and Over: 2%
  • Employment Size
    Education level
    Advanced Diploma/Diploma: 4.2%
    Bachelor degree: 3.3%
    Below Year 10: 13.8%
    Certificate III/IV: 20.1%
    Post Graduate/Graduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate: 0.7%
    Year 10 and below: 34.5%
    Year 11: 10.8%
    Year 12: 26.3%
    Years 11 & 10: 35.9%
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