5 Things to look for when Hiring a Forklift Driver

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Finding the right forklift driver can be a key labour hire decision for any project. Knowing what qualifications are required, what experience to look for and what work needs to be carried out will ensure that you end up with the right driver for the job.

So, let’s have a look at 5 things to look for when hiring a forklift driver.

  1. Qualifications

    In Australia, there are a range of qualifications relevant to forklift driving. A High-Risk Work licence allows you to work with certain high risk and plant equipment such as forklifts, cranes, scaffolding, rigging and pressure equipment.An LO licence qualifies the driver to operate an order picking forklift where the control moves together with the load carriage.

    An LF licence qualifies the driver to operate a forklift truck, which is a machine equipped with a mast and elevating carriage with a pair of fork arms.

    Additional qualifications to look for include a Certificate III or IV in Warehousing Operations and a Handling Dangerous Goods licence or a Certificate III in Logistics.

  2. Safety knowledge 

    Forklift drivers can be dangerous work if not carried out in line with the relevant safety guidelines. It can involve handling dangerous materials and heavy loads and can be potentially dangerous for the driver and nearby pedestrians.Make sure your driver is fully familiar with all safe working practices including forklift operation and warehouse or worksite safety procedures.

    Your driver should be able to quickly identify hazards and risks.

    The safest forklift drivers are those that communicate well. They check in regularly with the team to confirm where workers are, ensuring that they can safely operate the forklift without putting anyone at risk.

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    If someone is at risk, the forklift driver should also be able to effectively and quickly communicate how the risk can be managed. This can include using their horn to alert the worker to the forklift and then directing the worker to a safe location until the forklift is no longer being used.

  3. Meets all requirements

    Besides qualifications, a forklift driver must meet a range of basic requirements to be able to carry out the job safely. A forklift driver must:

    Be over the age of 18
    Have good hearing and eyesight
    Be able to reliably judge distances
    Be able to communicate well in English
    Be physically fit and fully mobile
    Safety conscious

  4. Mechanically competent 

    A good forklift driver must be comfortable handling heavy machinery. They should be able to perform daily checks on the forklift to ensure it is in good working order. They should be familiar enough with the machinery to be able to quickly recognise when something is wrong. And they should be comfortable making minor repairs and being able to communicate issues with supervisors or mechanics.

  5. Work efficiently

    Efficient handling of the forklift is essential to ensure productivity and smooth project progress. A good driver should be able to carry out their work efficiently and safely. They must be able to calmly take direction from multiple people at once, prioritising tasks and getting all jobs done in a timely fashion.

In addition, they should be flexible and adaptable. In a warehouse, their schedule and shifts may vary vastly from busy to off-peak seasons. For construction work, they may need to be available for early-morning or late-night shifts in a variety of locations.

Depending on the job, the forklift driver may also need to be comfortable taking on extra related duties, like helping pick orders or prepare shipments.

When hiring your next forklift driver, ensure your candidate has all five of these qualities and you’re more likely to find a responsible, reliable and qualified driver you can depend on.