Is it hard to get forklift license even I've never driven a forklift? This is a simple question we frequently hear from an absolute beginner who is planning to take such training.
Forklift license is something you would want to obtain if your job requires operation of this truck. This license is your hard evidence proving that you are capable and qualified to drive the forklift.
There is a good reason why your employer would want you to have this. When we look at the stats, the forklift, being a large and heavy piece of heavy equipment, causes around 100 fatalities and thousands of accidents every year.
To answer this question, No, it isn’t hard to get a forklift even for an absolute novice with no prior operating experience.
You can take the forklift training from a vocational school or community college in your area that offers such course.
When you are enrolled in a forklift course, the instructor will teach you such driving skill. A typical forklift training course is composed of classroom instruction and practical training. And the forklift course usually takes two days to complete.
You will spend your first day in the classroom where you will learn the fundamentals of forklift operation, current OSHA regulations, and applicable safety procedures and in the actual workplace doing the practical training where you will perform the in-the-seat operation. The instructor will supervise your driving progress.
In the second day, as part of any curriculum, the instructor will administer the written exam and hands-on driving assessment to measure the knowledge you learned from the first day of training.
Make your instructor happy by passing both tests and you will be assured of getting your forklift certificate and operator card (some referred to it as license) at the end of the training course.
Congratulations, you are now certified forklift operator.
Getting Hold of a Forklift Certification
Getting a forklift job seems hard especially for someone with zero knowledge. Having a forklift certification is indeed a prerequisite when applying for a job.
Though, most employers train new hires, but would it be more beneficial if you have such license and skills before applying?
Taking the forklift training doesn’t take long. In the most basic type of forklift such as the counterbalance, you can complete a course in just 2 days maximum.
Just like any other trade occupation, the forklift training will consist of academic lectures and hands-on driving to familiarize yourself with the theories and actual handling of the truck.
To acquire such skill, you can enroll at the training school.
By enrolling in a course would cost several hundred dollars. Despite the money and time, you will put in taking the training, it’s definitely worth the advantage.
If you are certified driving the forklift, you are competent to do your job; you have the necessary skills and qualification.
You have the chance to apply for work at construction sites, docks, warehouses, manufacturing and distribution companies, freight yards, and ports. These companies are big time, you can expect long-term employment and good pay.
Driving a Forklift for the First Time
For a novice, driving forklift can be a daunting task. It shouldn’t be. Driving forklift is not complicated as it seems.
Just like an ordinary sedan car, a forklift can be fairly easy to operate. It only takes short time and little practice for you to get a grasp of it. But make no mistake, just because it is easy to operate, does it mean you will put your guard down. ALWAYS prioritize safety when driving a forklift.
Here are the pieces of advice regarding safety if this is your first time driving this machine:
Be In Proper Attire
Wearing of the required PPE such as a hi-visibility vest, hard hat, boots and pants (instead of shorts) can help protect you from injury when you got into an accident.
Don’t wear loose clothing as it can get caught in the moving mechanisms of the forklift.
Make A Walk-Around And Visually Inspect The Forklift
Examining the forklift before use should be made routine. Check for damages in the warning devices, lifting devices, controls, tires, loose electrical connections, etc. If found any, report it to the instructor for proper maintenance and repair.
Inspect the Fuel Level or Battery Charge
To make your first time driving not frightening, thoroughly inspect the gas level, if the forklift is gas-powered, or battery charge if it is electric. The fuel or charge should be at the optimum level.
When a forklift is operated and run out of fuel during operation, it will stop and malfunction that can cause damage to the materials being lifted or to the forklift itself.
Look at the gauge on the dashboard and check if the level is in proper level prior to operation.
Be Comfortable Before Starting the Forklift
Just like driving a car, be sure that the controls are within reach; adjust the seat if it is necessary. Never start the forklift unless you are properly seated and in a comfortable position. Wear your seatbelt every time you are operating the forklift.
Be Watchful of the Foot Traffic and Other People Around
Driving forklift is very much the same as driving a car, be watchful of the oncoming traffic. In a warehouse environment, people come and go, since this is your first time operating the truck, do the practice in a place where there is no pedestrian around.
You can do the driving in a clear area with lots of space to maneuver the truck.
When you got used to driving, slowly transition into a more tight space, then into actual workplace.
Prioritize the pedestrian around, be watchful so that you won’t hit them or struck any structure.
Don’t Bring Electronic Devices Such as Cell Phone When Driving
A cell phone can distract you while driving the forklift and that split moment distraction can lead to serious accident.
Always put your full attention to what you are doing when you are behind the controls. Use the rear mirrors and be cautious of the environment before you do any movement.
Keep your eyes peeled and always watchful of what’s going on in the workplace so that you can immediately react to avoid an accident.
Maintain Proper Operating Speed
In a typical workplace, forklift operating speed limit is maintained. Pay attention to the speed limit and do go beyond that. The limit is designated for a good reason.
The speed limit is designated to prevent tipping over and instability when turning in corners.
To Conclude This
The best route you can take to get the necessary skills is by enrolling in a course. You can enroll at the training school or community college that offers such courses.
If you have never driven a forklift before and you interested in getting a forklift license, don’t be discouraged from lacking the knowledge.