Tips for Operating a Forklift

Forklifts are an increasingly common and useful piece of equipment that are found in nearly every warehouse across the United States, and world, for that matter. These useful machines are handy for many different reasons – whether you need to move large items around a warehouse or carry heavy loads of lumber, bricks, and steel beams. While there are numerous industries that use forklifts, the construction industry is one place where they are absolutely critical to the daily operations of a project. Forklifts can help relieve equipment-packed trucks or clear up storage facilities, moving the given item to their end destination. Beyond the construction industry, warehousing is another area in which we see forklifts on an everyday basis. Warehouses are a place where materials are constantly being moved around and must be easily accessed, which is where a well-maintained forklift comes in handy.

Let’s keep in mind that most forklift activity requires some level of maneuvering and squeezing items in and out of tight spots. This is why it is so important that those operating the forklift are adequately trained and know what they are doing. Forklifts are designed to make the job of warehouse workers, construction foremen, and everyone in-between all the more easier, but things can go drastically wrong if a driver does not follow proper safety procedures. With all the above in mind, today we are going to go over some quick and easy tips for operating a forklift. Again, it is of the utmost importance that anyone tasked with driving and operating a forklift undergoes proper training before ever stepping foot onto a forklift.

New to Driving a Forklift? Keep These Tips in Mind

If you ask anyone about the first time they drove a forklift, chances are they will smile at the memory and maybe even chuckle a bit. Driving a forklift is a unique experience that takes some getting used to, which is why proper training is so important. Unlike cars, forklifts are steered from the rear axle rather than the front, which can make for a trying experience. The reason that forklifts are rear-wheel drive is that it allows them to turn in a tight radius, while at the same time having the capability to easily maneuver around the warehouse or worksite. Let’s now look at a few handy tips for operating a forklift:

  • Always keep arms, legs, and all other body parts inside the forklift
  • Make sure you are facing the direction you are intending to travel and focusing on what you are doing
  • If possible, keep three vehicle lengths away from other vehicles
  • Pay attention to overhead clearances, such as pipes, door beams, and ceiling sprinklers
  • When picking up a load:
    • Make sure it does not exceed the capacity of the forklift
    • Make sure the load is balanced and secure
    • Check for any overhead obstacles
    • Make sure the load is positioned safely on the forklift
  • Keep an eye out for pedestrians when traveling with a load
  • Keep the forks low, whenever possible
  • Know the position of your forks at all times
  • Keep the load tilted back ever-so slightly
  • Avoid sudden braking
  • Adhere to all marked speed limits

Operating a forklift doesn’t have to be a complicated job, as long as you follow proper safety procedures and the tips listed above. For more information on forklift sales, rentals, parts and servicing in Irving, please contact Ace Equipment today.