Forklift operator – job description, courses, salaries

Forklift operator

Working as a forklift operator is an option for people who are looking for a permanent, well-paid job. The person in this position is responsible for the complex operation of a forklift truck usually driven in a warehouse. What does a forklift operator do, what are their responsibilities, how much do they earn and is it worth it? Check it out below 👇

Forklift truck operator – job description

A forklift operator is a person who operates an industrial lift truck. He steers it and controls its components (forks, platform). Its main task is to transport, load and load goods in warehouses. Although one drives the vehicle, it is a type of physical work that requires the right aptitude. 


Forklift operator – what the job is like, responsibilities

Main responsibilities of the forklift operator: 

  • preparing the forklift truck for operation,
  • monitoring the technical condition of the forklift truck,
  • reporting of faults,
  • transporting, assembling, unloading,
  • carrying out maintenance work,
  • maintaining the forklift and the working environment clean, observing health and safety rules,
  • cooperating with employees from other departments in the plant, 
  • creating documentation (operating book, maintenance log, revision book
  • refuelling of tanks,
  • changing gas cylinders, 
  • securing loads during transport and storage,fueling the forklift truck and selecting load consolidating devices.

Forklift truck operator – qualifications, requirements

Working as a forklift operator does not require a lot of qualifications. The most important thing is to obtain a special forklift licence. The requirement is set by the Regulation of the Minister of the Economy on occupational health and safety.

A worker who is at least 18 years of age and who has obtained an operator’s licence or a personal licence to operate a forklift issued by an employer, valid on the premises of that employer, may be allowed to operate the forklift.

Documents confirming the qualifications to operate a forklift are: a qualification certificate issued by the authority of the relevant unit of the Office of Technical Inspection, an operator’s book issued by the Institute of Mechanisation of Construction and Rock Mining or a personal permit issued by the employer. In practice, employers are more likely to employ persons with UDT qualifications.

source: praca.egospodarka.pl 

In addition to the qualifications, an applicant for an operator’s job must take a special medical examination. The doctor tests vision, hearing and psychomotor performance. In order to take up the job, a medical certificate of no contraindication must be obtained. 

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Forklift truck licence categories

There are different qualifications for forklift operation. These can be obtained from a company that internally trains employees for the position. However, the big disadvantage is that they are only valid within the premises of the company that issued them. Unfortunately, they will not be valid anywhere else, so they will remain invalid together with the day of the change of job.

Another option is to do a forklift course, which is registered by the Office of Technical Inspection. This is the institution that ensures the safe operation of technical equipment and installations that are subject to technical supervision. The UDT authorisation confirms knowledge of the technical conditions, legal regulations and standards, as well as the ability to use these devices in practice. 

  • III WJO – Operators can operate forklifts with any drive and unlimited lift height. The category entitles the operator to drive forklifts and walk-behind trucks (those that the employee drives in front of him or her). The course takes about 40 h. The qualifications acquired are valid for 10 years. 
  • II WJO – This is the most frequently chosen category. It allows the operation of all forklifts of the lowest category, i.e. III WJO, as well as forklift trucks. It authorises you to operate forklifts, but excluding specialised ones. The course lasts approximately 65 h. The validity of these authorisations is 10 years.
  • I WJO – These are specialised forklift truck qualifications, which are divided into categories: specialised forklift trucks with variable boom and specialised forklift trucks that lift the load with the operator upwards. The certificate obtained in this category also entitles the operator to work in categories II and III. The course lasts approximately 80 h. The licence is valid for 5 years.

How much does a forklift course cost in 2022?

A forklift course can cost around 600 – 1,000 zł. This is often the course of choice for obtaining a stable, well-paid job. The courses are not very expensive at all, and in the long run working as a forklift operator certainly pays off.

Depending on the province, the training company and the type of category, prices for such courses vary greatly. More or less you have to reckon the cost: 

  • III WJO – from approx. 400 zł + UDT exam 212, 34 zł 
  • II WJO – approx. 600 zł + UDT exam 212,34 zł
  • I WJO – approx. 800 zł + UDT exam 212,34 zł

Forklift truck operator – earnings in Poland

The earnings of a forklift operator can vary according to the type of workplace, its size, the province. According to the average, operators working in the automotive and electrical industries earn the most.

When operating a forklift, you can earn approximately PLN 3600 – 7500 gross.

Often these salaries are also dependent on the experience gained.

In addition to a fixed salary, this type of workplace offers additional benefits in the form of bonuses, social programmes, training and courses. 

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Features of a forklift truck operator

Working as a forklift operator not only requires special qualifications, but also competence and soft skills, as well as good physical fitness. The job by its nature requires good health. The psycho-physical qualities include:

  • good visual and auditory acuity,
  • perceptiveness,
  • spatial imagination, 
  • colour discrimination,
  • ability to react quickly, 
  • ability to cope with stress,
  • organisational skills, 
  • evaluation of distances and heights, 
  • manual skills, 
  • good precision and coordination,
  • ability to concentrate fully.

Oprócz tego zwraca się uwagę na: 

  • communication skills,
  • patience, 
  • responsibility, 
  • ability to work as part of a team.

Forklift truck operator – form of employment, future of the profession 

Most often, people who want to work with forklifts are employed on an employment contract. It guarantees a sense of stability and therefore a sense of security.

As with warehouseman jobs, job offers are plentiful, the entrepreneurial market is growing. Work can be found in food production, electronics, supermarkets, the construction sector, multi-industry wholesalers and transport-related companies.


Is it safe to work as a forklift operator?

Carrying out certain jobs sometimes involves various risks. When working as a forklift truck operator, such dangers exist if we do not comply with health and safety rules. It is necessary to check the technical condition of vehicles every day and report any faults in order to avoid unwanted situations.

For safety reasons, workers should wear protective gloves, helmets, noise-cancelling earmuffs and special glasses to protect their eyes.

A few rules that significantly affect safety in the warehouse:

  • daily inspection and maintenance checks, 
  • parking the forklift in a specially designated area, 
  • working with protective clothing, 
  • paying attention to not exceeding the load capacity of the forklift truck, 
  • sitting position when driving the forklift truck,
  • being careful when turning, 
  • adapting speed to the road surface.

Forklift operator – is it worth it? 

Working in a warehouse as a forklift operator seems fairly easy. The ability to drive this vehicle itself is not complicated. However, constant attention must be paid to safety. A person with this occupation must follow health and safety rules so as not to put himself or others in danger.

However, one of the most important issues that candidates are interested in is salary. The work is low-demanding and well-paid, and there is no shortage of jobs on the market. 

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Forklift truck operator jobs

Forklift operator is a job for people who are looking for stability. In today’s market, you should have no difficulty finding work in this industry. If you are looking for a well-paid job as a forklift operator, check out our current vacancies.

If you don’t have your UDT qualifications for forklifts done – contact us. We help you gain valuable qualifications and a good job.

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