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The Proper Way To Use A Forklift – 8 Top Tips

It should come as no surprise that there is a correct and an incorrect way to operate a forklift. Operating the machine incorrectly could not only lead to damage of its components, it could result in a serious accident. We have outlined some top tips that should be kept in mind whenever you use a forklift to ensure that it’s kept in optimal condition.

Proper Way To Use A Forklift

  1. Operators must be qualified
    Forklifts should only be operated by those who have been properly trained and hold an appropriate license. It’s also recommended that operators undergo refresher courses every now and then.
  2. Appropriate clothing must be worn
    Some site specific requirements can include a hard hat, but in all cases protective footwear and high visibility clothing should be worn. All work wear must be fitted, as loose items can get caught on the machine.
  3. Examine the forklift before use
    Operators should perform a routine check of the machine before driving it. Some components to check for faults include brakes, steering, controls, warning devices, the mast and tires.
  4. Starting it up
    Operators should never start a forklift up until they are correctly seated with their safety belt fastened. All parts of the body should be safely inside the confines of the cabin.
  5. Consider the surrounding environment
    Whilst operating the machine, you must always pay attention and follow any worksite rules or guidelines. Only drive in the facility’s designated roadways and observe all signs (such as clearance height).
  6. Operate at a safe speed
    Never drive faster than the speed limit posted in the facility, take corners or turns slowly to minimise the risk of tipping, and make any changes in direction or stops gradually.
  7. Avoid hazards
    Steer clear of any bumps or uneven ground surfaces, as well as slippery conditions. Steer clear of any loose ground objects that could cause loss of control. Keep a safe distance from other forklifts and machines.
  8. Ensure that you have clear visibility
    Operate the forklift in reverse if it improves your visibility (except when moving up ramps – only do this driving forwards). If visibility is poor, do not continue driving – you might need a helper to assist you.

We hope that our above tips have helped you understand the proper way to use a forklift. If there are still things that you’re unsure about or you have any questions, be sure to contact your supervisor or even a training professional. It is important that you don’t attempt to use these machines if you aren’t sure what you’re doing – this will only lead to disaster.