Forklift driver

What they do

Forklift operators use forklifts, which come in a range of sizes, to move heavy objects. Forklifts operators must assess a load to ensure that their forklift can support the weight and will have sufficient reach to get the load to its final destination, safely. They must also plan a route to avoid potential obstructions and hazards. Those working in warehouses or other large storage facilities must ensure that goods are stored in the correct location, and may be required to keep records so that goods can be easily located and retrieved when required. Some forklift operators may be responsible for refueling/recharging their forklift and have to carry out routine maintenance.

Working conditions

Forklift operators work in locations all over Western Australia. They work in warehouses, factories, timber yards, shipping terminals and anywhere else where large loads must regularly be moved. Forklift operators can work both indoors and outdoors, and depending on the type of forklift they are operating, may be exposed to a variety of weather conditions. They often work in areas where they are required to wear safety gear, such as hearing protection and high-visibility clothing. Shift work may be required, which can include nights and weekends.

Tools and technologies

Forklifts come in a variety of sizes - from small battery-operated, walk-behind forklifts to machines large enough to move a fully loaded shipping container. They can also come with special attachments, including safety cages for lifting people. Most forklift operators use radios for communication and may also use electronic equipment to record the movements of stock in storage facilities.

How do I become one?

Education and training

To become a forklift driver you usually need to complete a short course to gain a License to Operate a Forklift Truck. This short course is available at registered training organisations throughout Western Australia. 

However, entry into this occupation may be improved by obtaining a qualification in warehousing operations. The Certificate II and III in Warehousing Operations are offered at TAFE colleges and other registered training organisations throughout Western Australia. 

Browse courses through Jobs and Skills WA and search on the My Skills website to find a registered provider near you.

You can also undertake a traineeship in warehousing operations (level 2 or level 3). The traineeships usually take between 12 and 24 months to complete, and the level 2 traineeship is available as a school-based traineeship.

Required registration and licensing

To work as a forklift driver in Western Australia you will need to obtain a High Risk Work licence from WorkSafe