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How to become a forklift operator

How to become a forklift operator: Warehouse manager talking with forklift driver

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Certified forklift operators keep businesses moving and play an integral role in many organizations. Across numerous industries — from manufacturing to retail, construction to food services — forklift operators are tasked with distributing and transporting materials around the work site through operation of a forklift or lift truck. Wondering how to become a forklift operator? Here are some useful tips to kick start your forklift career.

Safety is essential to the operation of a forklift. A powerful machine that has become indispensable in industrial settings, forklifts must be operated by trained individuals who are capable and conscientious to help prevent workplace accidents, injuries and fatalities.

Forklift opportunities

Though the cost of a forklift license will fluctuate based on the classification and training facility, obtaining your certification can lead to a range of professional opportunities. Certified forklift drivers make an average hourly rate of $17.24 in Canada and being a successful certified forklift operator can lead you to a career as a Warehouse Supervisor or Manager, with average annual salaries ranging from $52,421 to $56,151.

Get your forklift certification in 4 simple steps

Here’s how to obtain your forklift certification in Ontario. (Please note that the process may differ depending on the province that you’re looking to be certified in.)

1. Select the right forklift class

Not all forklifts are the same, differing in the way they operate and the functions they perform. Do some research to determine which forklift classification is right for you based on the opportunities available or requirements of specific organizations you’re hoping to work for. There are seven basic classifications of forklifts available for certification.

2. Locate a training provider

Find the right course for the lift truck you’ve chosen that meets or exceeds the regulations set by the Canadian Standards Association (CSA). Check online reviews of training facilities to ensure you’re selecting the best facility with knowledgeable trainers to assist you in attaining your certification.

3. In-class training

2. Seven basic classifications of forklifts: speaker lecturing a class

Along with providing the fundamentals of forklift operation, in-class training teaches workplace safety that includes various causes that affect the lift truck’s performance, while identifying potential hazards in the workplace. Or, in lieu of in-class training, work towards getting forklift certified online by finding a reputable forklift operator e-training course.

4. Practical training and performance evaluation

Much like getting your license to drive, your practical training will give you time behind the wheel to get comfortable operating the equipment and putting your in-class training into action. Your practical training will conclude with an evaluation by a certified safety trainer to ensure you have fulfilled the proper training and can safely operate and maneuver the lift truck.

Find your next forklift position with Adecco. Register with your local branch today!

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