How To Operate A Forklift: Everything You Need To Know

A forklift is an essential piece of equipment in any industrial setting, which helps workers to perform a variety of tasks from carrying loads from one end to end to place the goods in the pallets.

However, it can be one of the complicated types of machinery that requires expert skills to operate. Handling it by any newcomer or inexperienced person can be extremely dangerous for people working around as well as can hinder the company goals.

The question is, “Where you can learn proper training skills?” Choosing a reputable company that can teach you everything about forklifts is the key to go.

Besides, with the rising demand for skilled forklift operators, the person armed with credentials would impress prospective employers; also make you noticeable among other applicants. It does make sense that enrolling in a forklift training program is a win-win! However, we have summarized forklift operation into three major components to help you get an idea:

Pre-Operation Duties

It is further categorized into three sections:

Pre-operational Inspections

  • Check oil, water, and hydraulic fluid levels.
  • Check for breaks, cracks, and any other defects in the mast chains.
  • Inspect the condition of the tires and forks.
  • Finger guards
  • The operator manual must be legible.
  • Check for debris or grease in the operator compartment.
  • Safety belts and other safety devices should be working properly.

Mounting the Forklift

Mounting the forklift involves some common hazards, including falling, slipping, and tripping or head injuries from the overhead cage. Follow these steps to avoid such risks:

  • Make sure your hands are empty while mounting the forklift.
  • Check your boots for anything slippery and wear one that avoids skids.
  • Get a good trip so that you don’t lose your balance.
  • Pull your body up slowly into the forklift, and avoid jumping on it.
  • Make sure you have forklift certification to know all the operating techniques to work in a safe workplace environment.

Operational Inspections with the Engine Running

After you are done with pre-operational inspections and have mounted the lift, it’s time to do operational forklift inspection that involves checking:

  • Brakes, accelerator and steering
  • Drive control both forward and reverse
  • Tilt control
  • Lowering and attachment control
  • Horn and Lights
  • Back-up alarm

Maneuvering and Traveling the Forklift

Many people think that driving a forklift is similar to driving a car, but actually, it is very much different. Following are the things to consider while maneuvering:

  • Distorted or partially blocked visibility can increase the chances of hazards and accidents like collisions, falling, crushing pedestrians, etc. Make sure to use spotters, and rear view mirrors when entering aisles, buildings and approaching corners and blind spots to increase visibility.
  • Use lights and horns when entering bright to dark areas or vice-versa.
  • Make sure that your way is clear of clutter and debris before you drive.
  • Pay attention to the forklift’s speed and direction of travel.
  • Keep a clear view while turning and reversing as it can quickly cause a tip over.
  • Make sure to park the forklift in the allotted area to avoid unnecessary hazards.

Handling Loads

One of the most critical considerations of safe forklift operation is to practice secure load handling.

  • Be aware of the load capacity, and do not overload the truck.
  • Do not approach the load too fast and turns too rapidly.
  • Use caution while moving the mast forward to position the load onto the stack correctly.
  • Position the forks correctly in preparation to lift the loads to avoid dropping it.

In addition to everything you have learned about driving a forklift, make sure to do regular inspections and maintenance to prevent any hazardous operating situation!