A forklift truck operator uses a forklift truck to load, unload, move and stack heavy goods which are stored on wooden trays or pallets or in wire cages, or to move materials around construction sites.
You could be:
picking up the load, usually on pallets or crates, using the truck's lifting equipment
checking that the load on the forklift truck is secure
making sure there are no obstacles on your route, or any other safety risks
using the controls to drive the truck forwards and backwards
sometimes driving in tight spaces and on slopes
unloading the goods and stacking them, ensuring any fragile items are handled correctly
inspecting the truck and equipment for faults and doing minor repairs
stacking empty pallets and crates
sometimes helping with other tasks, such as loading or unloading lorries.
The figures below are only a guide. Actual pay rates may vary, depending on:
where you work
the size of the company or organisation you work for
the demand for the job.
Starting pay is often based on the National Minimum Wage (NMW) or the National Living Wage (NLW).
As of 1 April 2023 the National Minimum Wage is £7.49 an hour for workers aged 18 to 20 and £10.18 an hour for workers aged 21 to 22. The National Living Wage for those aged 23 and over. is £10.42 an hour.
Newly trained forklift drivers can earn between £17,000 and £22,000. With experience this can rise to £30,000. In some cases senior forklift drivers can earn over £30,000 if operating certain types of forklift.
You might work in a factory, goods yard, haulage depot, store, warehouse or on a construction site.
You may have to work in cold and draughty, noisy or dusty conditions.
In some cases, you would have to work outside in all weathers.
Your hours of work would vary depending on the company, but might include shift work, evenings and weekends.