This Is How to Use a Forklift the Correct Way

In the past few years, over 229,410 work-related injuries occurred because of wrongful use of objects and equipment. This scary statistic is only increasing as more workers are joining the workforce again. 

So as workdays get busier, it’s important to understand the proper use of heavy equipment, such as a forklift. Luckily, this guide has you covered.

Keep reading to learn how to use a forklift the right way!

Types of Forklifts

There are countless types of forklifts. For example, a warehouse forklift is probably the most popular. These kinds of forklifts are used in warehouses with a large inventory list.

Some forklifts can carry up to 25,000 lbs of inventory. So learning how to use them is crucial! There are also some subtypes of warehouse forklifts.

For starters, truck mounted forklifts are great for large inventory loads and traveling! You can easily attach a truck-mounted forklift to a compatible trailer or truck.

There are also side-loader and counterbalance forklifts. A side loader can get into a narrow hallway to carry the inventory from the side. And lastly, a counterbalance forklift can balance itself out with the front and back weight.

How to Use a Forklift

There are many different components to think about when learning how to use a forklift. For starters, driving a forklift requires its own training. And must be taught to all new workers! 

So let’s start by learning the basics of driving a forklift! When operating a forklift, look out for any possible threats such as these: 

  • Forklift flips
  • Forklift malfunction
  • Collision with objects or people 

The best way to avoid these hazards is by driving slow and always paying attention to your surroundings. Nevertheless, there are also other factors to consider.

Rules of the Warehouse

Forklift instruction can vary. But here are some extra tips to follow so you can avoid these costly and dangerous mistakes:

  • Never surpass the intended speed so that you can have enough time to break in an emergency 
  • Drive even slower on wet floors 
  • Look towards the direction of your traveling path 
  • Do not let your load obstruct your view
  • Slow down on corners and sound your horn to let others know you’re coming
  • Always practice slow turns by doing a smooth motion with the steering wheel
  • When driving on an incline, always practice slow driving 

Using a forklift is fairly easy if you follow these initial rules. However, there are other technical issues that you must learn as well!

Other Factors To Consider When Driving a Forklift 

There are a lot of minute details that come with driving a forklift. And a lot of the time they are easily forgotten. So keep reading so you can add these factors to your forklift safety checklist! 

Clear the Floor From Any Obstacles

Before driving a business forklift, you should know your trajectory. Therefore, go to your route on foot and ensure there are no obstacles. For example, boxes, other machinery, and inventory.

Doing so will avoid any crashes in the case that you’re going too fast. Not to mention, you’ll also save time from having to stop your trajectory and get objects out of the way. 

Maintenance Checks 

Before you even start using a forklift, you must do a pre-operation inspection to confirm the forklift is working properly. You can look at your specific forklift instructions on your owner’s manual. However, here are some basic maintenance tips to think about:

  • Check the oil and fuel levels
  • Ensure the brake lines are properly working
  • Check the tires for any punctures or low air levels 
  • Ensure the fork is properly working 

These easy steps will avoid a malfunction. Not to mention, the life of your forklift will be extended.

Wear the Proper Clothes 

Wearing the proper clothes can protect you from an accident. So always ensure you wear steel-toe boots. Wearing these kinds of boots will protect your feet in the case something falls.

You should also wear durable jeans to avoid any cuts or scrapes when. Lastly, wearing a high-visibility jacket is very important. These kinds of jackets will help others see you. Therefore, they’ll have enough time to move out the way. 

Carefully Mount the Forklift

A lot of workers accidentally get hurt when trying to mount the forklift. So here are tips to follow so you can avoid injuries:

  • Do not have anything in your hands that will impede you from safely getting on the forklift
  • Do not jump onto the forklift 
  • Pull your whole body up by using your upper body strength and lower limbs
  • Ensure your feet are in the proper position
  • Clean the bottom of your shoes to avoid slips
  • Grap the handhold when mounting on and avoid grabbing the steering wheel
  • Ensure your body weight is equally distributed to avoid falling 

All of these tips will help you avoid injuries when mounting a forklift. So ensure you’re following these steps, as they can be easily forgotten.

Handling Inventory

When handling the inventory on the forklift, ensure that you’re carefully approaching the load. Doing so can avoid costly mistakes and injuries. Here are some other ways you can avoid mistakes when handling inventory: 

  • Utilize your pedal to edge the inventory towards the stack 
  • Never get closer than about 8-13 inches from the load
  • Make sure the truck and inventory are right in front of each other 
  • Ensure your vision will not get blocked when raising the forklift 
  • Never raise any inventory on the forklift until you’ve pressed the breaks

Some forklifts can carry up to 25,000 pounds of inventory. Always ensure you follow these steps. Not doing so can lead to serious injuries or fatalities!

Safer Work Environments One Step at a Time

Now that you know how to use a forklift, your workplace will be a lot safer. So take the time to think about these precautionary steps and find a way to implement them during your daily routine.

If you enjoyed this article, then you’ll want to check out the rest of our blog where we talk about similar content!

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