For business success, safety is king: Try these simple tips for hiring a forklift operator

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Photo Credit: Robert Kneschke–Adobe Stock

If you’re in the manufacturing industry as a business owner, the extent of your success depends greatly on so many little details. Unlike in some other industries, where the incompetence of personnel might not really affect the performance of the business at large, manufacturing industries leave no room for errors. Just a slack on the part of an operator and a whole day’s work might be rendered damaged. That said, of all the crucial little details you have to pay attention to within your business, none is more critical than the issue of safety. And that’s because the success of your business and the safety of your employees hinges on it. This then brings us to the discussion of the day: the relevance of forklift operators.

The relevance of forklift operators

One of the most important machines in a manufacturing business environment is, no doubt, the forklift. Due to the fact that forklifts are built to transmit and transfer heavy loads and duties, their operation is not for the fainthearted, and more often than not, companies lookout for the best in the game to hire as operators. This is because industries understand that driving a forklift is no easy task. Not only do you have to master the art of maneuvering through some of the tight spaces found in factories and warehouses, but you also have to do it with such expertise that time is maximized, and damage/crash is limited to, if possible, zero occurrences. Sounds like a great deal of perfection is expected from forklift operators! But the process of hiring the best operators might not be as easy as one may imagine. With so many quacks claiming to be the best in the game, businesses risk leaving their stocks and inventories in the wrong hands if they don’t get the hiring process right. But you need not worry if you’re tasked with hiring forklift operators for your company. You only need to follow these simple tips to get the job done.

Forklift experience

There is no better way to judge the ability of a self-proclaimed professional forklift operator than to check the number of years of experience they’ve got. You don’t get to amass a great number of working experience if you’re not so good at what you’re doing, right? The obvious sign of any promising prospect is the familiarity with the vehicle itself. And this familiarity is developed over many years of operation. Forklift operation requires a great level of skill and technical know-how. And the number of years of experience is the best indicator of these two. So, before you put your dollar on the line, be sure to check the number of years they’ve been operating the vehicle.

Factory or warehouse experience

While the most common forklifts are found on the floors of factories worldwide, there are still some forklifts that are designed for exterior purposes, too, including unloading trucks that come in with deliveries or freighters going out with shipping orders. So, before you hire an operator, it is as important for you to know about their experience level, as it is for you to know the specific areas they are great at. Any great candidate you want to hire should be a type that can integrate smoothly with the flow of factory operations and acclimated to your own industrial environment.

Possess necessary license and certifications

One of the biggest mistakes companies make when hiring forklift operators is that they only base their hiring criterion on the license possessed by the operators – commercial driver license, in most cases – and not their forklift certification. But what many fail to comprehend is that having a professional driver’s license is not enough to judge whether an operator is suited for your job or not.  Many times, the licenses possessed by these operators were issued on the basis of their abilities to drive trucks or eighteen-wheelers, and not their forklift expertise. So, if you want to get your hiring process right, and not make the same mistakes many make, then you should always list forklift certification as one of the criteria required before anyone applies. By the way, one of the best forklift certifications in the U.S. today is still the OSHA forklift certification. So, before you choose your candidate, you can further make this a requirement.

Committed to safety

This is another relevant piece you really don’t want to miss out on. However, while you’ll not find it written on any resume, certification, or record books, you can always tell by checking the service history and records of a candidate. Usually, the forklift operation history of a candidate can showcase whether such a candidate is committed to safety or not. In their many years of working, how many times have they been involved in accidents in the factory? Has there ever been a record of delivery damage, goods crash, or any other safety issues? These are some of the few questions you may pose to an operator, or go out to find out about them.

Uday Tank has been working with writing challenged clients for several years. His educational background in family science and journalism has given him a broad base from which to approach many topics. He especially enjoys writing content after researching and analyzing different resources whether they are books, articles or online stuff.


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