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What Are the Different Types of Forklift Operator Jobs?

By Lori Kilchermann
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Forklift operator jobs range from the typical forklift operator unloading a truck at the dock to a department store employee moving pallets of merchandise to restock store shelves. Regardless of which of the many forklift operator jobs that an operator does, a forklift certification is commonly required to acquire the job. While many of the forklift operator jobs require the use of a typical forklift truck, some operators use standup-type lifts and others use walk-behind models to perform their duties.

A forklift is a heavy vehicle that uses a hydraulically-powered set of steel forks to raise items high into the air. Other models of forklifts use a clam-type device to squeeze an object and move it. The wide variety of forklift models requires many forklift operator jobs to certify the operator in the use of several types of forklift. Most versions of the forklift are powered by liquid propane gas or electric battery power. There are, however, some large sizes that use gasoline or diesel engines for power.

Many forklift operator jobs are found in the lumber industry. From the sawmill to the home improvement store, the use of a forklift to move large amounts of lumber is very common. Other key industries that benefit from the use of the forklift are large distribution warehouses. These forklift operator jobs are used to load and unload large trucks and trains that deliver merchandise to the warehouse. Other forklift positions are required to load the outgoing merchandise onto trucks to be delivered to stores all around the country.

Even the smallest of businesses use a forklift to load materials onto delivery and service trucks. These businesses provide jobs for many forklift operators around the globe. Shipyards often use some of the largest forklifts and require very experienced operators to place large merchandise containers onto the ships. This is the same type of forklift operator job that is used in railroad yards that specialize in the transportation of cargo containers on land.

Some of the most unique types of forklift operator jobs are found in mints and treasury buildings. Large bins of coins and freshly minted money are often moved with a forklift. Airports occasionally have forklift operator jobs open to place cargo onto aircraft as well as to assist in the unloading of cargo planes. From manufacturing to storage warehouses, forklift operators are employed to provide the world with a supply of materials and goods.

Practical Adult Insights is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

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