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What does a Forklift Operator do?

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.


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Working as a Forklift Operator

Regardless of the role, type of industry or organization requirements of a specific warehouse, a forklift operator is responsible for:

  • Ensuring safe and efficient transporting of materials within and outside of the warehouse
  • Inspecting merchandise and timely reporting of damaged or missing items
  • Maintaining detailed records of warehouse inventory
  • Complying with safety standards and warehouse protocols for equipment use
  • Identifying and following through on machine maintenance as needed to ensure safety and efficiency of all equipment
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How much does a Forklift Operator make in the United States?

Average base salary

$5,437per year
Non-cash benefit
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The average salary for a forklift operator is $18.00 per hour in the United States and $5,437 overtime per year.136.5k salaries reported, updated at August 15, 2022.

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Where can a Forklift Operator earn more?

Compare salaries for Forklift Operators in different locations
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How much do similar professions get paid in United States?

Warehouse Worker

218,489 job openings

Average $20.81 per hour

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Common questions about for a Forklift Operator

Is a forklift operator an 'in-demand' occupation?

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.

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What is the typical work experience for a forklift operator?

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.

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How often do you need to renew a forklift operator certificate?

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.

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