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To work as a forklift operator you must be 18 years of age or older, possess a high school diploma or equivalent and be certified as a forklift operator in accordance with the requirements outlined by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Although OSHA sets the expectations, they do not certify individuals themselves. Employers, training programs or online organizations can certify individuals through coursework, hands-on training hours and successful passing of an exam.
The most important skills for a forklift operator to have include paying close attention to detail, a discipline to comply with safety and organizational standards, good hand-eye coordination and strong organizational skills. Possessing technical knowledge about the machines being operated and good judgment about risk and corresponding safety precautions are also important.