Forklift Operation and Handling: Practical Guidelines for Trainees and Licenced Beginners

31 August 2017
 Categories: Automotive, Blog


Forklifts are useful machines in numerous workplaces, including warehouses, factories, industrial plants and wholesale and retail centres. Therefore, there are multiple prospects for trained personnel with forklift handling skills. In general, these industrial lift trucks are not difficult to operate. So, you can obtain your forklift licence with considerable ease. However, handling the machinery in a busy work environment can be daunting during training or shortly after acquiring the permit. Here are some practical guidelines to help you perform the work efficiently.

Understand the Work Environment

You should understand your environment before operating a forklift in a worksite. A typical workplace will have other people moving around, so lack of awareness could result in injuries. Also, there will be obstructions which can limit your movements. Therefore, you should inquire about the traffic flow plans in the commercial and industrial space. Most sites will have a designated path along which machinery can move freely without coming into contact with pedestrians. Take note of the general site layout as well as restricted no-go areas and pedestrian-only paths. When driving around in the forklift, remember to pay attention to the signage. Warning signs can change quickly in a busy workplace, so do not work under assumptions.

Inspect the Forklift before Use

Pre-operation inspection is an important practice that you should cultivate as a trainee or beginner. This process is performed as a precaution, but it will ensure optimal safety and maximum efficiency. Check the brakes, steering and other controls and make sure that there are no anomalies. The warning devices should be operational but without hazards. Also, check the tyres, mast and other general components. If there is any problem, you should report immediately to the supervisor. The equipment should never be operated without getting cleared.

Manage the Forklift Load

When operating a forklift in a workplace, you will be required to move sizable loads. This task can be daunting for most beginners because it increases the difficulty of equipment handling. The most important thing that you should remember is that the load should always be stable. Before lifting any load, consider the size, shape and weight and find the best way to lift and carry it without shifting. If necessary, you can use attachments available in the site to support the load. Also, when moving with any weight, you should avoid heavy and sudden braking. Such actions will destabilise the cargo. Maintain a constant safe speed and take turns slowly to ensure stability and safety.