Becoming a Forklift Operator


We often get calls from young people who ask us how they can become a forklift operator.  While it seems like an easy question, there are certain requirements that make the answer a little complicated.  We’re going to try to unsnarl the details here:

First, you have to be 18 and have your high school diploma.  That’s the simplest part.

Secondly, you can’t just walk into a warehouse and ask to be hired as a forklift operator.  OSHA says you must have certification.

Acquiring the proper credentials is a two-fold process.  Some community colleges offer the first part of the training, which is an on-line portion focusing mostly on safety and basic operation.  We’ve gone through this part of the training for this blog and you can find those articles here.

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Warehouse Aisle Rules

Which comes first- the warehouse, or the forklift?

For this article, let’s assume you’re building your warehouse around your forklift. There are several considerations to be made as you determine how wide your aisles will need to be.

It is important to note that before you design your warehouse consult with your lift truck manufacturer. They’ll be able to give you the stacking aisle requirements and help you avoid a design flaw that could prove costly at best- dangerous at worst.

When you are determining the width of your aisles, remember that empty racks are only part of the equation. Loaded racks bearing pallets will require six inches more space- three inches on each side of the aisle. This “clear aisle” space is the distance between products stored in the racks- not shelf to shelf.

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Is it the end of the road for your forklift?

Nothing lasts forever, and there are definite signs to look for to determine if your forklift is nearing the end of the road.

After some years, all forklifts will start to have trouble. At a certain point, continuing to drive the same lift into the ground will stop making financial sense. It’s actually easy to tell when an aging forklift is ready to be sent upstate to play on the farm with the other forklifts.

If you have accurate and thorough maintenance and repair records for the unit you can estimate when its time has come.

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What can social media do for your business? Your forklift?

It goes without saying that the internet has changed nearly every aspect of the way companies do business. From commerce, information and communication there is nearly no aspect of your business that hasn’t been affected by technology.

Function of your facility can be monitored remotely via the internet, and you can receive notifications, status reports and even troubleshoot and change settings when necessary.

But wait, there’s more. There’s an entire section of the internet that you may be writing off as a waste of time, but that can be a useful tool if used correctly.

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