Hiring Forklift Drivers: How to Identify the Ideal Employee

It’s no secret that an exceptional staff improves productivity and workplace morale. But in an industrial setting, it’s especially important to find qualified, responsible personnel that will be accountable for their actions and effort.

Some employers make the mistake of breezing through the employment process. Even with a comprehensive training program, this is a mistake. When it comes to hiring a forklift driver, there are a handful of qualities that can help you identify the ideal candidate for employment, and there are a few lessons that must be reinforced during and after training.

Characteristics That Signify a Quality Forklift Operator

Experience is a major plus when it comes to hiring a lift truck driver. After all, you’re not just putting the wellbeing of your employees in their hands; you’re also trusting them with expensive equipment. Irresponsible forklift operation can disrupt productivity and lead to costly mechanical repairs, damaged inventory or equipment replacement.

Try to find a driver who has completed a Facilities Management training program and has earned certification. This program introduces both the basic and the intricate guidelines for forklift operation. It also introduces safe driving standards and reinforces the consequences of irresponsible operation.

Try to find a driver who is familiar with the particular forklift models you use in the warehouse. Different models carry different load weights, and common mechanical issues can vary from one truck design to another. Even if the worker is familiar with the machine, always make sure they read the operator’s manual cover to cover, and issue an assessment to test their knowledge of key points.

6 Physical Qualities That Benefit Forklift Operators

It’s never fun to discriminate against an employee due to an uncontrollable factor, but certain physical traits can give one lift truck driver advantages over others. Here are a few of them:

  1. The worker should not have a mental or physical illness that compromises safe operation. Examples include back pains, dizziness and certain conditions that require medications.
  2. Good vision is always a major plus. Drivers should have 20/40 vision or better, or they should wear appropriate glasses to compensate. Depth perception should be a minimum of 90 percent.
  3. The hearing abilities of the employee should be at least normal. This can be vital when they receive a verbal warning about a pending accident.
  4. Drivers should have decent reaction time and reflexes. This can help prevent accidents caused by unexpected occurrences or inattentive pedestrians.
  5. Employees should show no signs of drug or alcohol abuse. This is completely unacceptable in industrial workplaces. If that’s the case, the employee can be suspended for a period of time and recommended, after using a rehab locator, Tampa addiction treatment centers, or can be dismissed indefinitely from the company.
  6. Drivers must be able to read and understand signs and instructions.

A Comprehensive Training Program is Imperative

Even if you find the perfect candidate for the position of forklift operator, they must be required to complete a comprehensive training program. Not only should this cover the basics of operation and safety, but it should identify the particulars about the forklift model and workplace.

Make sure the lift operator understands to driving and walking zones, the location of obstacles and the gradient of the floor. If there are any curbs, slopes, inclines or gradient changes, the driver must know where they are and how to cross them safely.

Employers might want to consider renovating the floor to create a smoother operating surface. This might temporarily disrupt production, but it could eliminate certain risks that compromise the safety of workers and equipment.

Forklift operation can be an extremely hazardous position. If any guidelines are broken or overlooked, supervisors must address the issue immediately. But finding a qualified driver with experience could minimize the chances of unexpected accidents.


About Tom Reddon

Tom has been involved in the forklift industry since 1986. He loves doing research, blogging, and speaking about forklifts. You can contact Tom on his Twitter or Google+ profiles.

Inventory Feed

Get weekly inventory in your email.
Don’t worry we hate spam too!

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Need a Lift?

Didn’t find the forklift you were looking for?
Let us find it for you.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.