Forklifts are potentially dangerous heavy machinery that lift extremely heavy objects. Therefore, forklift operators must be trained and skilled. In addition, they often have spotters to help them out in their work. These spotters have their own training as well which involves similar training to the operators themselves.
The key responsibilities of the the forklift operator spotter are to make sure the machine properly lifts the load and drive it to the correct location. Specifically, they must assure the forklift does not ram into any stationary or moving object on its journey. In addition, they are responsible for making sure the forklift properly approaches and lifts its load so the load is not able to fall from the machine.
Spotters learn to drive forklifts so they will be able to properly direct the operator on the maneuvers they must make. In fact, the best spotters are those who also double as operators. When driving, the spotters make sure the operator has visibility around blind corners, inclines, declines and other objects in the way. The spotter must alert the operator verbally to the different maneuvers they must take.
Lifting is another key area of training. Spotters tell the operator when and how to lift the load. Spotting is especially important if the load is on a rack high-up in the ware house. In this case, a mistake could cause the load to fall and break or be damaged. It also creates a very serious threat to injury to people below if the objects fall on them. For this reason, spotters also have to make nearby workers aware of the forklift operations.
The training schedule for forklift spotters differs for different companies. However, there is usually an element of class time and an element of scenario training. In addition, spotters are best served by becoming forklift operators themselves. Most states provide certification for heavy duty machine operators that includes third party testing and training that can take several weeks. After this training, an operator will have a good sense of what the spotter must help them accomplish.