Forklift Operators

Transportation, Distribution, and Logistics > Forklift Operators > Working Conditions
Occupation is in demand for the following regions: Northern Stateline, Northwest, Career Cluster
Forklift Operators

Forklift Operators - Working Conditions

In a typical work setting, forklift operators:

Interpersonal Relationships

  • Have a medium level of social contact. They talk to others to find out what items to move but spend time alone inside the forklift's cab.
  • Communicate in person on a daily basis.
  • Regularly work in a group or as part of a team.
  • Are greatly responsible for others health and safety.
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  • Are responsible for work outcomes.

Physical Work Conditions

  • Spend most of their time inside the cab of a forklift.
  • Often wear protective attire, such as hard hats and gloves.
  • Work somewhat close to others, usually within a few feet.
  • Are frequently exposed to very hot or very cold temperatures. This will depend on the work site.
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  • Are regularly exposed to sounds and noise levels that are distracting and uncomfortable.
  • Occasionally work outdoors, such as at home centers or construction areas. Otherwise, they work indoors in warehouses or factories. In most cases, the temperature is not controlled.
  • Are exposed to hazardous equipment, conditions, and situations on a weekly basis.
  • Work with equipment that causes whole body vibration.
  • Sometimes must get into awkward positions to reach cramped work spaces.

Work Performance

  • Must be sure the job is done accurately. Items stacked incorrectly could fall and seriously hurt someone.
  • Can set some tasks and goals without talking to a supervisor, but usually consult a superior first.
  • Can make most decisions without consulting a supervisor. Once the daily tasks have been set, the day-to-day job duties are usually the same.
  • Often repeat the same physical activities.
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  • Abide by strict deadlines on a daily and weekly basis.
  • Must keep up with the pace of equipment.


  • Generally work a set schedule. May work regular business hours.
  • Most work about 40 hours per week.
  • May work morning or night shifts in factories and warehouses.
Source: Illinois Career Information System (CIS) brought to you by Illinois Department of Employment Security.