6 Steps You Need to Know to Operate a Forklift Safely

June 2, 2017Diana Lengerson


Photo by falco, CC0 1.0

Have you ever driven a forklift before? Well, if you’re like most people, then you probably haven’t! Forklifts are normally kept to the manufacturers and used in big warehouses to haul around packages. However, if you find yourself in the need for a forklift for a project that you’re working on or for some other reason, then it’s best that you learn how to properly operate one before hopping on board. That’s because forklifts are powerful machines and should not be taken lightly. Keep reading down below to learn more about what it takes to operate a forklift safely.

  • You’ve Got to Practice

The first thing that you’ve got to consider when operating a forklift is if you know what you’re doing. As we mentioned above, forklifts are powerful pieces of machinery that often require training or a license to operate. Make sure that you practice operating the forklift before you start up with your project. Forklifts are often counterintuitive in their controls because they are driven by their rear wheels. So, it might seem a bit awkward at first, but if you practice enough, you will definitely get the hang of it eventually. Plus, you can go for forklift Training available as a kit to help you even more!

  • Go Through the Pre-Operation Checklist

Make sure to go through a pre-operation checklist before starting up your forklift. This includes going around the machine to determine if there is any existing damage and seeing if the tires are inflated properly. When you get, this done, you will ensure that everything is ready to go when you need to start your project.

  • Understand the Controls and All of The Readings

With the help of your operator’s manual, you should go through all of the controls and readings that you are going to be using when operating the forklift. This will help to ensure that you’re ready to use everything you need to operate it. It wouldn’t be very good if you start operating the forklift only to figure out that you have no idea what all of those buttons do!

  • Understand the Shape and Size of What You Are Trying to Lift

The next step to operating a forklift safely is to understand exactly what you’re trying to lift. This is important to understand because it will determine how you go about actually operating the lift. Check the shape and size to familiarize yourself with it.

  • Check Your Work Environment to Ensure That It’s Clear

In order to operate your forklift safely, you have got to have a clear workspace. Make sure that there are no big objects that could block the path of your forklift or get in your way. When you do this, you won’t have to worry about stopping the forklift and getting out to move the objects that are blocking your path. Plus, this could be dangerous if you don’t see these objects when operating the lift.

  • Practice Driving in A Wide and Open Area

And lastly, make sure to practice driving the forklift in a wide, open area before you start operation. You can easily start off with lifting some empty pallets or smaller objects before you move onto the big objects that you have to lift. This is going to ensure that you’re familiar with the controls and there will be no surprises when you start operation.

Each and every one of these steps are super important for you to know in order to operate your forklift safely. Make sure to keep these handy for when you start operation. You owe it to yourself and those who love you to stay safe when operating big pieces of machinery like a forklift.

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