Forklift Operation and Physical Conditioning

Operating a forklift is a physically taxing endeavor. At times, the job can feel quite monotonous, and at other times you can be involved in highly physical, exhausting activity. While it is true that people of different sizes and abilities can successfully handle a forklift, it is nevertheless the case that there remain essential factors to consider when determining whether driving a forklift is the proper career for you. In this post, we offer an overview of the physical conditioning and skills involved in determining whether someone can handle the job.


What Shape Should You be in to Drive a Forklift?

How physical is operating a forklift?

Operating a forklift is similar to driving a delivery truck in that both jobs alternate between periods of being sedentary and periods of extreme physical labor. In this regard, operating a forklift does not just entail driving the vehicle but also lifting heavy objects off the pallet. As a forklift driver, you also need to be able to handle extreme heat and cold. Being able to maintain good focus, balance, and coordination are also essential.


There are a number of requirements involved in obtaining forklift certification. Age requirements vary between states. In some states, you can receive a forklift license when you are as young as 18, while other states set their baseline age at 20 years old. Companies also often require employees to undergo their own training regimen. With regard to physical conditioning, you need to have 20/40 or better vision in your better eye. Accordingly, possessing astute spatial orientation is crucial, and you can’t be color blind. Note that even if you have excellent eyesight and hearing, this should not exempt you from wearing proper eye and hearing protection. One also must have full range of movement and be able to climb on and off of the forklift at a moment’s notice. Be aware that at any time, employers are allowed to conduct physicals, so you really need to keep your body in strong condition at all times.

Driving a forklift is a rewarding job, but you have to be mindful of the official and unofficial physical conditioning requirements. Consider the factors explained in this article when determining whether the job is appropriate for you.

About Mathew V