Forklift operators use tractors to lift and move heavy loads of materials.
It's not very surprising to hear that forklifts are useful machines. They lift very heavy objects and are necessary tools for building. Yet, forklifts are also useful for TV shows. Huh? Yep! In fact, for the classic 1978 television show "Battlestar Galactica" (not the remake), a forklift was used to lift the elevator on the launch bay set. So when an actor got into the elevator and pressed the "up" button, it wasn't an actual elevator at all. It was a forklift and a forklift operator lifting the "elevator." (But don't try this at home.)
However, nearly all of the time forklift operators drive industrial vehicles such as trucks or tractors that have forklifts. They are also known as industrial truck and tractor operators.
Before moving items, forklift operators first determine the weight of a load. They record the information on tags or labels. They must be sure that the load is not too heavy for their vehicle to pick up. Many items that forklift operators move are on wooden platforms called pallets. Forklift operators move the vehicles to place the forklift beneath the load. They use levers and knobs in the cab of the vehicle to raise the forklift device and the load. Next, they drive the truck to a specific spot and lower the load of materials. They back up the truck and slide the forklift out from under the pallet. Forklift operators signal other workers that the load is clear of the forklift and that materials can be unloaded. Above all else, forklift operators work to make sure they and their coworkers are safe while they are operating equipment.
Forklift operators may perform other duties as well. Some operators tend machines that automatically stack, load, package, or cut materials. They may also hook tow trucks, using hitches and pins, to other equipment. This may include plows, graders, and rollers. Many are responsible for tracking the locations of the materials moved, and ensuring that moves are done in a timely manner. In addition, they often drive vehicles that require a commercial driver's license and often interact with customers or vendors.
Forklift operators maintain their vehicles and forklift devices. They make sure that all parts are oiled and that vehicles have enough fuel. If there are problems with equipment, forklift operators talk with mechanics about them.