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Warehouse Forklift Operator Job Description

Aastha Dogra
A warehouse forklift operator's job is manual and requires him to be physically strong. Read on to know the job description and skills required to become one, as well as the salary you can expect to earn in this profession...
A warehouse forklift operator's work is simple, it does not require any kind of degree or qualifications to carry out this job. If a person is physically fit, knows how to drive and has a driving license, he can easily find employment in a warehouse as a forklift operator.

Job Description

The duties of a warehouse forklift operator are very basic. He has to load and unload materials from the pallets. He must be physically strong as he has to do everything manually, though powered types of forklifts are now available.
Once the materials are stacked/unstacked, a warehouse forklift operator has to drive the vehicle and take it to the designated place. Thus, in order to carry out his job, a forklift operator should be properly trained in operating and driving a forklift safely. For this, he needs to pass a test and get license for the same.
Besides this, a forklift operator has to keep a check on the materials that are loaded on and off the pallets and make a record of the same on the tags. In some warehouses, he might be provided with the order form and according to it, he has to find the materials in the warehouse and create pallets himself. For this, he is provided on the job training.
While doing his job, a warehouse forklift operator is expected to follow all the warehouse safety standards. He has to regularly inspect his vehicle and ensure that there are no problems/defects in the machine.
He is also expected to be aware of and follow the proper ways of handling, storing, maintaining and operating the forklift. Refueling of the vehicle, by taking it outdoors, falls under the job description too.

Qualifications and Salary

A forklift operator does not need any educational qualifications, but he should know how to read and write. Some employers might ask for a high school degree. A driver's license, good physical stamina and a training certificate in driving/operating forklifts are a must though. Some employers may require a forklift operator to be skilled in computer usage.
But, the basic requirement is the ability to undertake physical tasks, such as, lifting, pushing, pulling, standing, gripping, etc. Generally, employers look for candidates who can manually lift weight of more than 30 pounds. As most of the work requires the person to stand, he should have the ability to be on his feet for about 8 hours in a day.
As for the salary, looking at the current trends, it can be anywhere between USD 22,700 and USD 43,500 per year. The per hour wages in this profession are on an average USD 13 to USD 14. One drawback of being a warehouse forklift operator is that job security is a little lesser. This profession is greatly affected by the changes in the economy.
In recent times, many forklift operator jobs were cut down during the economic recession. Moreover, the employment opportunities vary from season to season. In some months, the demand for forklift operators goes up, while it comes down in others. Such fluctuations greatly affect the salary of professionals in this field too.
So, as you can see, this job is physical in nature, requires a person to perform the same duties again and again and thus, can be monotonous. On top of that, it does not pay that well either. Looking at the positives, people who are not so well educated, can enter this profession and make decent amount of money for a respectful living.
In the end, it can be said that any person contemplating to become a warehouse forklift operator should weigh all these pros and cons, before taking his decision.