Forklift Operator Qualifications & Skills

Forklifts are a great asset to a company, but they can’t be handled by just anybody. Here are some qualifications and skills forklift operators should have, along with legal requirements.


Basic Forklift Operator Description

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration aka OSHA, “powered industrial trucks, commonly called forklifts or lift trucks, are used in many industries, primarily to move materials. They can also be used to raise, lower, or remove large objects or a number of smaller objects on pallets or in boxes, crates, or other containers. Powered industrial trucks can either be ridden by the operator or controlled by a walking operator. Over-the-road haulage trucks and earth-moving equipment that has been modified to accept forks are not considered powered industrial trucks.”


Forklift Operator Qualifications

OSHA says “It is a violation of Federal law for anyone UNDER 18 years of age to operate a forklift or for anyone OVER 18 years of age who is not properly trained and certified to do so.”


They also state that “Employers must ensure that each powered industrial truck operator is competent to operate a powered industrial truck safely, as demonstrated by the successful completion of the training and evaluation specified in 29 CFR 1910.178(l)(1).”


Their skills must be re-evaluated every three years: “1910.178(l)(4)(iii) An evaluation of each powered industrial truck operator's performance shall be conducted at least once every three years.”


Forklift Operator Skills

According to Forklift Academy, operators must be able to:

  • Monitor and maintain inventory
  • Organize and secure materials, such as boxes, bales, pallets, and super stacks in a safe way
  • Pick orders from inventory using a pick sheet
  • Shrink wrap pallets to prepare them for shipping
  • Weigh products and/or loads and record weight
  • Move hazardous materials
  • Report any faulty equipment, damage to racks, or other potential safety hazards
  • Attend certification refresher courses
  • Use basic math skills
  • Maintain a clean work area
  • Analyze production schedules to determine movement, deliveries, and material requirements
  • Maintain equipment by cleaning, oiling, recharging, refueling, etc.
  • Consult and coordinate with manager, employees, other departments, and equipment manufacturers regarding loading and unloading operations
  • Attend meetings with manager and coworkers
  • Prepare, present and/or approve bill of ladings
  • Check in and approve new shipments
  • Perform quality checks
  • Adhere to uniform requirements
  • Rotate stock so oldest products are first picked
  • Be alert of other employees in the work zone
  • Report quality variances to the proper channels
  • Use radio frequency equipment as needed for picking, put-away, receiving, and load functions
  • Comply with OSHA Standards


Ring Power Lift Trucks can send a trainer to your location at no additional charge to help keep your operators and your workplace productive & safe. And if you’re looking for high-quality new and used forklifts from today’s top brands, choose Ring Power Lift Trucks as your reliable forklift dealer in Florida. We’re the Sunshine State’s top source for forklift rentals, sales, parts, and services, with several convenient locations to choose from. For more information, please call us at 877-544-5438 or contact us online today.


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