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Physical Requirements for a Forklift Driver

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Plants and construction sites are common places for forklifts, and drivers are required to wear protective gear, such as steel-toed boots, safety glasses and ear plugs, because of the dangerous work environment. The job usually includes more than operating the lift, and companies want physically capable individuals who can perform multiple tasks.

Height and Weight

Although there are no specific requirements, height and weight may be considered if they impair a driver's ability to perform his job. According to California’s Employment Development Department's fork truck operator job description, “Height and weight are not important, but operators must be mobile enough to turn in the driver’s sear and drive backwards with no problem."

Manual Lifting

Not all the materials are moved with a machine. A forklift operator’s job may include quite a bit of heavy lifting, so he needs to know what his limits are on body parts such as the back and knees. A company may ask for a physical exam. Drivers need to know the strength of their hearts and bodies. Over-exertion could cause a heart attack or unnecessary accidents.

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Eyes and Ears

Due to the nature of the job, good eyesight and hearing are important. A driver needs to know where he is going and certain work layouts require forklifts to navigate narrow paths. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration finds good eyesight and hearing necessary to operate transportation machinery and states, “No employee known to have defective uncorrected eyesight or hearing…or other ailments which may suddenly incapacitate him shall be permitted to operate a crane…or a power-operated vehicle."

About the Author

Sheena McGuire graduated from the University of Georgia in 2008, earning a Bachelor of Arts in English with a concentration in creative writing. She has contributed to several online and print publications, covering music, arts and entertainment, culture and women's interests. McGuire currently serves as a music journalist and social-media intern at Cumulus Broadcasting in Atlanta.

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