The job of a forklift operator is an important one for many businesses, directly or indirectly. The main role of the forklift operator is to move products and materials from place to place, so it affects all industries from manufacturing to food services. Forklift operators also make a tidy bit, with an average salary of C$45,000 a year in Vancouver.
However, a forklift is no toy. It can and has caused serious injuries or even death from improper operation. Operators need special training in the safe use of the equipment, and employers are well aware of this.
Below are the basic steps one needs to take to work as a forklift operator in Canada:
Find out the requirements for the province
Forklift operation rules and regulations in Canada will depend on the province or territory. British Columbia does not require a forklift operator to have a license, but conditions of the workplace must comply with certain standards, especially when operating a lift truck in rough terrains.
Enroll in a forklift-training course
Training a forklift operator does not take as long as one may think. A beginner with no experience can take an 8-hour forklift training course and have all the basic skills and knowledge needed to operate a forklift safely and get certification.
Generally, this would involve lectures and hands-on operation, at the end of which the student can take the written and practical test to be certified. Some employers might require this when screening applicants for a forklift operator position. The certification typically lasts for three years, after which the operator has to renew it.
In some cases, one may need to take additional training to operate new equipment or if the person has been involved in an accident. The employer is responsible for ensuring operators receive the training they need and evaluate their performance regularly.
Get a job
There is a great demand for forklift operators, so it shouldn’t be a big problem for people to land a job as long as they have already had training. Operators should make sure that they read the full job description and requirements before applying so they are ready with everything they need.
Be ready for inspection
The Canadian Ministry of Labour (MOL) and Canadian Standards Association (CSA) regularly conduct an inspection of businesses that use lift trucks to make sure they comply with safety standards. The MOL will check if the forklifts receive proper maintenance and assess the competence of operators and supervisors to execute their jobs based on training records.
The CSA will check that the business meets the safety standard, which is currently the Safety Standard B335-15. It is a comprehensive document detailing the requirements for the forklift operator-training program and maintenance process.
Choosing to train to be a forklift operator in Canada might require a bit of work and expense on one’s part, but it opens up many good-paying job opportunities for that person. If one works well and strives to get all the training he can get, his entry-level job might lead to a supervisor or manager position in the future.