Forklifts 101

Forklifts are an important part of many operations and facilities, but only when proper training and safety are in place. Due to the size and weight of these machines, it is imperative that anyone who operates them understands the basics of how they operate. For this reason we thought it would be a good idea to go over forklift basics. This will be important information for anyone thinking about buying or renting a forklift, or for those who work for logistics companies, manufacturers, and industrial enterprises. There is wide range of forklifts on the market today, many of which have different operating and safety instructions. It is imperative that anyone who will be operating a forklift has been trained in that particular type of forklift, as many components differ. We encourage you to do your research and learn about the specific type of machine you are in the market for before moving forward.

Today we are going to go over some forklift basics that will help you get your workers safe, and remain in compliance with health and safety guidelines at the same time. Even though these tips are pretty basic, they should lay the groundwork for you and help support workplace safety. Before we do that, here is an overview of  the basic terminology as it pertains to forklifts:

  • Mast – The vertical support that allows raising and lowering the forklift’s load
  • Carriage – The support system where the forks are attached
  • Back Rest – This is attached to the carriage and helps prevent any uneven shifting, namely backwards
  • Fork – These are the arms that are attached to the load carriage
  • Lift Cylinder – These control how the mast, forks, and marriage are raised and lowered vertically
  • Overhead Guard – This is the framework or roof, which offers protection to the person manning the forklift
  • Tilt Cylinder – This controls how the mast, forks, and marriage are tilted, forward and backward as well as vertically
  • Counter Weight – This weight is installed by the manufacturer and offers stability to the machine when carrying a load

Now that you have a better idea of what some of the moving parts are on a forklift, let’s go over some basic operating tips:

  • Anyone operating a forklift MUST be trained – It is of the utmost importance that anyone operating a forklift is properly trained on that machine and licensed to operate the equipment. If someone without adequate training operated a forklift, numerous safety concerns arise.
  • The right clothing should be worn – Anyone operating a forklift should wear appropriate clothing and safety work wear, including a hard hat, safety shoes, and bright jackets. Shorts, sneakers, open-toed shoes, and loose fitting clothing should NOT be permitted
  • Look over the forklift before use – Operators should conduct a thorough check of the forklift and all other equipment before operating them, every single time. Check the brakes, steering, controls, warning devices, mast, tires, and everything else.
  • Pay attention to your environment – In order to avoid unnecessary forklift accidents, always pay attention to your surroundings when operating a forklift. If you are using the machine inside, beware of other workers and materials. Same goes if you are outside.

If you are interested in buying, renting, or selling a forklift in the Irving area, please do not hesitate to contact Ace Equipment today. We are here for all your forklift needs and are happy to answer any questions you may have.