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A forklift operator is a manufacturing and transportation professional who uses a forklift to load and unload materials and equipment in a warehouse environment. Working under the supervision of a warehouse manager, the forklift operator is responsible for the physical maneuvering of the equipment, as well as some larger maintenance, safety and organizational functions.
Regardless of the role, type of industry or organization requirements of a specific warehouse, a forklift operator is responsible for:
According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of fork lift operators is expected to grow 4% from 2018 to 2028, which is commensurate with the average growth rate for all occupations.
Forklift operators typically work in a warehouse during normal business hours and during nights, weekends and holidays as well. This job requires a degree of physical fitness, as forklift operators are frequently getting on and off the equipment, inspecting merchandise or materials and safely maneuvering equipment in a variety of conditions. The pace of the job can vary significantly from day to day depending on the number of scheduled shipments and the deadlines for moving materials.
Forklift operators need to be evaluated every three years using similar criteria required for the initial certification process. Employers may require more frequent evaluations for individuals that show evidence of unsafe driving or are involved in an accident.