In this post, we are going to provide you with our brief and reliable explanation in terms of operating a forklift. If you are the type of person who wants to learn some basic ways on how to drive a forklift, we will ensure that this article is your best point to start.

Upon reading this article, you will learn some helpful and valuable information, but please be aware that you will not learn the proper ways on how to drive a forklift just by reading the entire sections of this post.

Right after reading this post, we recommend you to have extensive training for forklift operation, which will include a demonstration from an expert operator of forklift, practice a forklift driving all by yourself, and skill demonstration for forklift operation that will be given to you by your instructor.

But, as we mentioned a while ago, if you are searching for a helpful and great 101-level introduction in terms of operating a forklift, then rest assured that you will have a reliable and helpful guide.

Before we jump into the main idea of this article, we are going to give you the instructions of operating or driving a forklift in three different areas. These areas include;

  • Pre-operation (this section includes the pre-operation inspections)
  • Maneuvering and traveling operation of the forklift
  • Accommodating heavy loads while driving the forklift

As you can see in the three sections we have mentioned above, we will provide you manageable instructions on each of the sections. The instructions that we will give you include the smaller activities that are included in the process of learning the forklift driving.

Keep in mind that before an individual operates or drives a forklift, they are required to have an accurate safety training for handling a forklift. OSHA has the specific details in terms of forklift safety training in 1910.178 (I), and we also have a single post in terms of safety training for forklift operation as well as the needed requirements for operating a forklift.


Duties for the Pre-Operation of Forklift

In this section of our article, we have provided you with the things that you need to perform or comply with. Keep on reading to know more about it. Before a person can fully operate or drive a forklift, he or she is required to have or do the following;

  • A person is required to do some inspections in terms of the forklift pre-operation. In this part, the inspection will always vary upon the kind of forklift he or she will be driving
  • Before operating forklift, a person is also required to fix the forklift
  • Aside from that, he or she is also obliged to start the forklift; and
  • He or she is now ready for performing the operational inspections while the motor is running

Now that you know the things you will need when it comes to the pre-operation of the forklift. It is time for you to know the instructions needed to perform this section. The instructions you will need to perform each step in terms of operating a forklift are all written below.

We should never say this, but we are going to tell you about this anyway; if your preferred type of forklift has been repaired or taken to a repair service since it has some defects, requires for some repairs, or some of its parts are unsafe to operate, we recommend you not to take it back to the service not until the issue has been answered.

The Pre-Operational Forklift Inspection

As you can see n 29 CFR 1910.178 (g)(7), OSHA required the entire forklifts, in spite of its types, to be checked for about once or twice per day before it can be operated or used. If an operator used the forklift around the clock, it only means that the forklift must be checked or inspect right after its every shift.


In connection with that, the operator or the driver of the forklift is obliged to perform the following type of inspections. These inspections are;

  • The visual inspection of the pre-operational forklift operation without the keys, and;
  • Operational inspection of a forklift while the motor is running

In this post, we have covered all the inspections included in this section, coming from the pre-operational inspection too the operational inspection.

If the operator or the checker of the forklift comes up with the result of the undertaken inspection that the forklift is in need to have some servicing or repair, it only means that the forklift, in spite of its type, must be removed or eliminated from the service in as soon as the possible time.

General Pre-Operational Inspection Items

Before the operator or the drive of the forklift turns the engine on, he or she is required to check the listed items below.

  • Safety belt and the entire safety items needed for the operation (a person is required to check if the entire safety items are properly working)
  • The compartment of the operator (a person is obliged to inspect the compartment of the operator if there is any grease, debris, or any unwanted items that might harm the driver or the operator of the forklift.)
  • The manual guide or instructional material for the operator (a person is required to ensure that the manual guide is placed inside the truck. Aside from that, check if it is complete and legible – it must have no torn or missing pages and etc.)
  • Safety nameplates and decals (a person is required to ensure that the entire safety nameplates and decals are legible and in place; inspect that the data written on the nameplate is the same as the service numbers and model attachments.)
  • Finger guards
  • Loaded backrest extension
  • Forks (a person must inspect the condition of the forks which include the retaining heel and pin as well as the top clip)
  • Tires, which include the pressure and condition (ensure that a person will check if the tire does not have gouges or cuts.)
  • Mast chains (a person must be sure that he or she will inspect for breaks, cracks, and any other defects that might appear on the mast chains.) For a person to know the chain tension, he or she can use a stick or any other similar item. The operator of the forklift is required not to put his hand on the mast.
  • Hydraulic hoses (a person is required to check if the hydraulic hoses have cracks, leaks, breaks, or any other defects.)
  • Hydraulic fluid level
  • Water level
  • Oil level


Pre-Operation Inspections for Electric Forklifts

If you have an electric-powered forklift, the following are the lists of the items that you should inspect during the pre-operation inspection. The items that are included in this list are just the additional items for the things listed in the “general items.”

  • Hood latch
  • Electrolyte levels (a person is obliged to make use of the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) including the rubber gloves, rubber apron, and face shield while he or she is inspecting the electrolyte level)
  • Battery restraints
  • Connectors and cables (a person is required to find the damaged, exposed, or even the frayed wires)

Pre-Operational Inspections for Internal Combustion Forklifts

If you own a forklift that features the internal-combustion motor, the following things are the items that you should inspect while doing the pre-operation inspection. The items included in this list are just the additional items that we have mentioned in the “general list.”

  • Any leaks
  • Tank restraint brackets
  • Connectors
  • Hoses
  • Pressure relief valve (ensure that the pressure relief valve is pointing up)
  • The liquid propane tank (a person is required to make sure that the liquid propane tank is fixed properly; h or she must also look for cracks and dents; inspect to ensure if it is suitable within the profile of the tank)

It is important to take note of a person who will conduct the pre-operation forklift that he or she is required to use the accurate personal protective equipment (PPE) while doing the inspections. These personal protective equipment include the gauntlet gloves, long sleeves, and a face shield.

Pre-Operational inspections for Liquid Propane Forklifts

If you own a forklift that is liquid propane-powered, the following are the items that a person should check while doing the pre-operation checking. All the items included in this list are just the additional items to the items included in the “general list” that we mentioned a while ago.

  • Hood latch
  • Radiator
  • Hoses and belts
  • Air filter
  • Engine coolant
  • Brake reservoir
  • Engine oil

Free to Download Forklift Inspection Checklist

How nice is it that we have provided you with a very handy and useful Forklift Inspection Checklist that will make your pre-operational inspection forklift easier and faster.


Mounting the Forklift

We cannot deny the fact that many of us, or most of the operators or drivers of forklift, get hurt during his or her attempt in mounting the forklift that they will need to drive or operate. Specifically, the following are the hazards that you might experience if you are going to operate a forklift without a enough knowledge or the presence of an expert forklift operator.

  • A person might fall, tripped, or even slipped most notably if he or she takes a step and then accidentally slip
  • A person might accidentally hit his or her head on the above your head cage.

We always want to operate something, in this manner a forklift, safely. So, we need to know the things that we should do and avoid. In this section of our post, we are going to provide you with the reliable ways that you can do to prevent the hazards above.

  • Jumping into the forklift is an improper way of getting in there. The proper way that you should do is to pull your body up.
  • Second is to keep an eye to your footing all-day-long; it is also important for you if you have knowledge of the things that you are doing. Make sure that you will perform it intentionally and slowly
  • Third, take the handhold of the forklift and get into it safely. It is not recommended to take the steering wheel as your way in mounting the forklift. It is because the steering wheel might move, which will cause you in losing your balance
  • Fourth, inspect your shoes if there is grease or any other items that might cause you to slip.
  • Fifth, it is important for a driver or the operator of the forklift to wear the proper boots or shoes that will prevent him from skids.
  • And lastly, a person must ensure that his or her hands are empty, dry, and clean while he or she is mounting the forklift.

Starting the Forklift

You need to note that you must not start operating the forklift before completing the pre-operational inspection. If you are done doing the ore-operational inspection, it is the right time for you to start it and prepare yourself for completing the operational forklift inspection before your driving the forklift experience.

Operational Forklift Inspection

Right after doing the pre-operational inspection without the keys and you are also done mounting the forklift, it is the right time for you to start the operational forklift inspection.

It is a requirement for you to proceed to this operational forklift inspection while the motor of the forklift is running. The following are the items that you need to check while doing the operational inspection.

  • Hour meter
  • If the back-up alarm is present, then check it
  • Lights
  • Horn
  • Attachment control
  • Lowering and hoist control
  • Tilt control that includes both the reverse and forward control
  • Steering
  • Brakes
  • If the inch control is present, then check it
  • Accelerator linkage

In addition to the mentioned things that you should inspect above, it is also important for you to listen for the unusual vibrations and noises in the forklift. If you come up that there are some unusual vibrations and noises, then you have to report it to the company as soon as possible time.


Traveling and Maneuvering the Forklift

In this section of our article, which provides you a brief and reliable instruction when it comes to driving and operating a forklift, we are going to provide you with the manual guide for maneuvering and traveling of the forklift.

Most of the people out there are thinking that operating or driving a forklift is just simple work. They also think that driving a forklift is just the same as driving a simple vehicle. But the truth is that operating a forklift is very much different compared to driving a vehicle, and that is just one of the things that you should be aware of before your forklift operation.

Visibility Concerns While Operating the Forklift

If you are going to operate a forklift that has a partial block or fully blocked, visibility will just increase your susceptibility to accidents.

The following are the samples of the hazards that you might experience because of impaired visibility.

  • Crushing or striking pedestrians
  • Make your forklift to fall off the entire loaded dock
  • Falling load
  • Collisions


Since we don’t want to put our life in danger and avoid all of the mentioned and not mentioned hazards to happen, we want to perform everything as possible to ensure that the visibility is blocked or unblocked as little as possible before you operate it, the following are some of the recommendations and requirements that you should do.

  • Sound the horn and slow down at the various locations, including the cross aisles wherein your vision can be possibly obstructed.
  • Be careful when it comes to dock loading and keep away from the edges that can be difficult for you to see.
  • You need to drive slowly but surely in and out of the buildings and other warehouses. Carefully drive your forklift if you are going to move from a dark area to a bright area or bright area to dark area, which can disrupt your visibility temporarily.
  • You need to note that using headlights is a must when you are going to operate your forklift outdoors, during nighttime, or in any area wherein the additional lighting will help you to improve the light quality.
  • If you experience dim lighting (for instance, less than two lumens per square feet), we recommend you to make use of your headlights.
  • If you can make use of a concave mirror, then use it, especially if you are going to enter aisles or buildings or even when driving t blind spots or any other corners.
  • It is also important for you to make use of a rearview mirror, spotter, and other aids that will help you to improve your visibility whenever needed.
  • When traveling, you need to be aware of the direction of travel. This step also includes looking at the back of your forklift when you are operating your forklift in reverse.
  • Before you start operating your forklift, you need to be aware of all the directions in a building.
  • Maintain a clearer view


As additional information, it is also important for you to consider the following at your working place to lessen the hazards that are connected to the limited visibility.

  • First, consider adding a “warning track” of yellow floor paint that is located closer to the openings of the dock.
  • Second, you should also consider using some protective guard rails
  • Lastly, you need to consider adding some physical barriers, including a heavy-gauge safety chain, raised concrete staging areas, and ramps at the front area of the dock loading openings.

Beginning to Drive the Forklift

Before you start to make some move to your forklift, you must ensure that you have a clear vision and clear way. This can be done by looking into your traffic direction. It is also vital for you if you are going to use the spotter and the horn of your forklift if you think that you have an obstructed vision.

Once you are sure that your entire way is clear and there is no obstruction to your vision, you can now proceed to check the caution of the way of travel and inspect for the dangerous blind spots, curves, intersections with pedestrian traffic, and other unusual hazards.

Driving the Forklift at Speed

When the time has come that you can already drive your forklift and you are driving it at speed, you need to check in advance and perform everything as possible to avoid the possible hazards. The following are the hazards that you might possibly experience.

  • Collision with obstacles and pedestrians that is caused by not having enough time to rest and does not pay enough attention while driving.
  • Faster driving can also cause tip-overs.

In other words, you need to pay attention to your way and drive slowly.

To avoid these hazards, we recommend you to follow the following practices and requirements;

  • Follow and/or observe the entire warning signs as well as the speed limits
  • It is recommended for you not to run over the movable things that are placed on your way of travel
  • When you are driving your forklift down or up a grade with the excess of 10 percent, you need to drive a loaded truck that comes up with a load upgrade.
  • When you are driving your forklift incline or up or down, make sure that you will drive it slowly.
  • If you are going to turn your forklift, make sure that you will slow down and smoothly turn the steering wheel to your desired direction. Keep in mind that turning the steering wheel must be in the sweeping motion.
  • Make sure that you will slow down and sound the horn of your forklift if you are going to cross some locations and aisles where your view might be obstructed.
  • If the load that your forklift carries might obstruct your front view, make use of the trailing in traveling your load.
  • Slow you driving when you are crossing on a slippery and wet floor.
  • Make sure that you will drive your forklift at its speed that will enable you to stop when needed safely
  • Look to the entire travel direction and maintain a clearer view to avoid hazards and undesirable accidents.


Changing the Direction of Travel of Forklift

Normally, hazards might occur when you are changing the direction of your forklift. The following are the possible hazards that you might experience when you change the direction of your forklift. Read on to know more about it.

  • Collision with other objects
  • Collision with other cars or vehicles
  • Collision with a pedestrian
  • Tip-overs

Since we don’t want your life to get in danger while driving or operating a forklift, we have provided you with the recommendations and requirements that you should do to avoid these hazards. These are the following;

  1. You need to stop your forklift completely when you are going to change your direction of travel.
  2. It is also recommended for you to make use of a warning light or even a horn that will warn the pedestrians while and before you will operate your forklift in reverse.

Steering and Turning the Forklift

There will always be hazards that might occur every time you will operate or drive our forklift. When it comes to steering and turning the forklift, the following are the potential hazards that you might experience.

  • Tip-overs that are caused by changing direction or turning your forklift too fast or sharp.
  • Colliding with some objects, vehicles, or even pedestrians that might result in your load to fall
  • Collisions with other objects or pedestrians; this hazard is increasing its potential because of the swinging of the tail or even the rear end of the forklift widely to each side of the reverse turn.

As we mentioned a while ago, we don’t want to get your life in danger. Thus, we have accumulated the things, recommendations, and requirements that you should keep in mind to avoid these dangers from happening.

  • Since the tail of the forklift is swinging out widely in the reverse turn direction, we recommend you to turn your forklift as near to the inside corner.
  • We also recommend you to make a safer turn, most notably if you are going to turn your forklift in narrow aisles and confined areas. It is because when your forklift makes some turn a corner, expect that the forklift’s rear end will swing widely in the opposite direction of the turn.
  • Reduce your driving speed when you make a turn
  • Make sure that you will never make a turn on decline or incline grade. If you are going to turn your forklift on a grade, expect that your forklift might experience tip-over even if you make some turn in a small grade.
  • Keep in mind that you should not make a turn when your forks were raised.
  • Make sure that you will have an advanced planning of route as well as the entire turns

Reversing the Forklift

If you are going to reverse your forklift, it will increase the susceptibility in both accidents and injuries. The following are the hazards that you might experience if you are going to reverse your forklift.

  • Colliding with other objects or even with the other forklifts.
  • Crushing or striking the pedestrians

Make sure that you will make use of the stronger caution if you are going to reverse your forklift. Also to that, we have provided some steps that you might follow to avoid those hazards above.

  • Make sure that you will not pull the overhead guard when you are traveling in the opposite direction. It is because grabbing it might cause some harm to your fingers
  • Make sure that you will always leave some space for the pedestrians. Keep in mind that you can’t think their actions in advance accurately since some pedestrians are not fully aware of the operational limits included in operating a forklift.
  • Make sure that you will also think about the level of noise inside your workplace and the possibility that the other laborers in that area are using the hearing protection equipment. Never assume that the bystanders and the pedestrians can hear your alarms.
  • Ensure that you will also think about using the spotters, rear-view mirrors, ground guides, and other items that will help you to improve your visibility while you are working in the opposite direction
  • Always think about the limited visibility, and put some extra care when you are operating your forklift in the opposite direction
  • Make sure that you will inspect the direction of travel before you start working with your forklift. It only means that you need to look at your back when operating in the opposite direction.
  • Always maintain a clearer view in your way of travel

 


Operating the Forklift on Grades (Decline and/or Incline)

If you are going to operate or drive your forklift on a grade, expect that various hazards might occur. The following are the hazards that you might experience when you operate or drive your forklift on a grade. Keep on reading to know more about it.

  • Falling of loads
  • Tip-overs

In connection with that, we have created some of the ways that you might do to prevent these hazards from happening in your working place. The following are the recommendations and requirements that you should do;

  • Make sure that you will not make your forklift turns while you are driving it on a grade – whether the grade is decline or incline
  • When you are going to drive your forklift down a ramp, make sure that you will operate your loaded forklift in the opposite direction with the load upgrade
  • When you are going to drive or operate your forklift down a ramp, make sure that you will do it in a forward direction with the load upgrade
  • Make sure that you will not drive your forklift with the load downgrade
  • It is recommended for you to operate your forklift unloaded with the forks reduce

Safe Forklift Travel Practices

Please be aware that forklifts will also give you some hazardous levels that usually occur when they are being used or operated. The following are some of the pose level hazards made by a forklift.

  • Collisions
  • Crushing a person or striking an individual
  • Falling of some amount of loads
  • Overturning

In connection with that, we will provide you with helpful and useful recommendations and requirements that you should follow when using or driving a forklift. These are the following;

  • Make sure that you will not operate your forklift in an area that might cause your co-worker to be pinned between an object and your forklift. This usually happens when the operator or the driver push the wrong lever, the brakes were failed to work, or the forklift jumped forward
  • Make sure that you will not operate or drive your forklift in front of a person who is currently working in front of an object, such as a bench
  • It is also important for you to keep an eye on the surface that might cause obstruction. It is because even the smallest obstruction can also cause a load of your truck to fall
  • Make sure that you will keep both of your legs and arms in the forklift every time you will operate the forklift
  • One of the important notes that you should keep in mind is that carrying a passenger on your forklift is not allowed
  • Make sure that you will keep the traffic patterns of your forklift separated from the pedestrian traffic. When it is possible, you can make use of a sturdy walkway for pedestrians and strictly implement their uses. It is also important if you are going t use floor markings and guard rails of the walkways you placed for pedestrian
  • While you are driving or operating a forklift, make sure that you will slowly approach the elevators and wait for the elevator car to be leveled properly. That is the time that you will enter the elevator. Once you already get inside the elevator, make sure that you will neutralize the entre controls, set the brakes, and shut off the forklift power
  • Make sure that you will secure all the bridge plates and dock boards properly before you drive or operate a forklift over them. While you are operating the forklift over them, make sure that you will drive carefully and slowly. Take note that you will not exceed the capacity of the bridge plate as well as the dock board.
  • Slow you driving while you are operating on a slippery and wet floor
  • Make sure that you will not perform horseplay while you are operating a forklift. Also, do not do some stunts while driving it.
  • Make sure that you will drive your forklift at its minimum speed, which will enable you to stop it safely whenever needed.
  • Make sure that you will not park your forklift in an area that is 8 feet closer to the railroad tracks
  • As much as possible, it is very recommended not to cross railroad tracks in a perpendicular way
  • Do not pass with the other forklifts and any other trucks that are also operating in the same area as yours, most notably in the blind spots, intersections, and other locations that might be dangerous for you.
  • Yield the proper path for various emergency vehicles, such s the fire trucks and ambulances during the emergency situations
  • Make sure that your forklift is always under your control every time you will operate it
  • Make sure that you will also observe the entire posted signs and traffic regulations which include the plant speed limits
  • Make sure that you will always have the safe distance from the other forklifts in front of you
  • If loads of your forklift block your view to your desired direction of travel, we recommend you to use the opposite direction
  • Always make sure that you are aware of all the path of travel while you are driving your forklift
  • The most important step that you should do is to know the entire directions of travel before you start operating your forklift

Stopping the Forklift

When you are trying to stop your forklift, the following are the recommended steps that you should follow;

  • When you are planning to stop your forklift, we recommend you to apply its brake slowly

On the other hand, if you are going to stop your forklift to park it in a particular area, below are the recommendations that you should follow;

Parking the Forklift

When you park a forklift, there are still possibilities that it might give some hazards to the operator or the driver of the forklift as well as to the other workers. The following hazards are;

  • The chance that the parked forklift will move
  • The chance that the forklift that was parked wrongly might result to struck objects as well as people

For you to prevent all of the mentioned hazards, it is a must for you to secure your forklift before and after parking it.

If the operator or the driver of the forklift is 25 ft away from the forklift, the forklift is not considered unattended. It is always true even if the operator of the forklift can still view it by his eyes. Besides that, the forklift is also considered as unattended when the driver leaves it, and it is not in his view. This is true even if the forklift was parked closer than the 25 ft away from the driver.

If you are going to stop your forklift safely, the following are the recommendations and requirements that you should follow.

  • If you are going to park your forklift on a grade, make sure that you will put some blocking materials behind its wheels
  • Make sure that you will power off the ignition
  • When the forklift is already parked, check its parking brake
  • Make sure that you will neutralize the entire controls of the forklift
  • When the forklift has stopped, slightly tilt the mast forward and lower its load slowly
  • When it comes to the preparation of forklift stop, make sure that you will make use of the brake slowly
  • Make sure that you will choose an accurate and safe area where you can park your forklift; we recommend you to obey the parking forklifts recommendations of your company
  • Make sure that you will not park your forklift in a place that can block an exit as well as the aisle
  • Make sure that you will not park your forklift in an unauthorized place
  • As much as possible, do not park your forklift on a grade

If your forklift was restricted and the forks cannot be lowered, obey the accurate tag out or lockout procedures (as described in 29 CFR 1910.147) and ensure that no one is standing or passing under the load or forks.


Dismounting the Forklift

You need to be careful as you mount the forklift. Thus, you also need to put some care into dismounting it.

The following are some of the ways that you can do to prevent these hazards;

  • Do not jump, instead grab your body up to get into the forklift
  • Make sure that you have safe footings; know what you are undertaking, make it intentionally and slowly
  • Take the handhold and have a safe trip. Do not make use of the steering wheel to get into the forklift – it might move which will cause to you to lose balance
  • Inspect your boots or shoes if there is any grease or other slippery items
  • Make use of the proper boots and shoes to prevent skids
  • Ensure that your hands are empty, dry, and clean if you are going to mount the forklift

Forklift Tip-Over Risks

Two basic ways why forklifts tip over;

  • Lateral tip-over – tip over to the side
  • Longitudinal tip-over – forward tip-over

What are the things that you might do to prevent tip-over will always depend upon the tip-over type as well as the forklift’s class?

What To Do In the Event of a Tip-Over

If a sit-down counterbalanced forklift was operated and it was tipping over;

  • Do not try to jump from the forklift, instead stay inside of it
  • Hold the steering wheel tightly
  • Brace your feet
  • Lean your body from the possible point of impact
  • Lean your body forward

As mentioned, tip-over hazards will always depend upon the forklift. That is true when it comes to the things an operator should do when his forklift is tipping over – the instructions will vary upon the forklift’s type. For instance, a person drives a stand-up forklift that features rear-entry access – step backward off the forklift.


Handling Loads with Forklift

We use a forklift to move and lift loads. Thus, if you want to learn how to operate a forklift, you also need to know how to handle and move loads with it.

We will provide you with some tips in handling the loads safely with the use of forklifts.

We’ll consider;

  • Preparation for safe load handling
  • Load approaching with forklift
  • Mast position on the forklift
  • Lifting the load
  • Lowering the load
  • High tiering
  • Railroad cars and truck trailers

Safe Handling Preparation

Before handling a load;

  • Off-center loads may cause tip-over of forklift or falling of loads
  • Forklift overloading can cause forklift tip-over or falling of loads
  • Damaged loads
  • Loose loads

Recommended practices and requirements to follow;

  • Secure load to make sure it is safely arranged and stable
  • Band r wrap damaged merchandise for security
  • Place the loads at the center
  • Use caution when handling off-center loads
  • Distribute the heavyweight uncentered load near to the front wheels
  • Do not overload the forklift
  • Utilize the load extension backrest

Approaching the Load

Accidents occur when approaching the load faster or even turning the forklift quicker.

Follow the listed recommendations and requirements to prevent accidents in terms of approaching the load;

  • Approach the load carefully and slowly
  • Stop the forklift 8 to 12 inches from the load
  • Ensure that the forklift is located squarely from the load
  • Ensure the accurate heights of forks for load lifting
  • Neutralize the direction control
  • Do not lower or raise the forks unless the forklift’s brake is set and it is stopped
  • Ensure enough overhead clearance before load raising to prevent blocked vision
  • Utilize the inching pedal for load creeping

Mast Position

At the front of the forklift, you can see the mast where the forklifts down on and ride up.

While moving the mast, avoid dropped loads and tip-overs.

The following are the tips to follow to do so;

  • Use cautions when utilizing mast to tilt loads
  • Do not tilt the mast forward when the fork is raised
  • When tiering or stacking items, tilt the mast backward
  • Be careful when handling the loads closer to the maximum load capacity of trucks
  • Do not drive the forklift when the load was tilted forward

Positioning the Forks in Preparation to Lift the Load

The following are the hazards you might encounter when positioning the forks in preparation to lift the load;

  • Collisions
  • Load dropping
  • Tip-overs

Follow the steps below t decrease risk from these hazards;

  • Ensure that the forks are leveled
  • The fork must be placed farther from the load
  • Ensure that the forks will not go through the reverse side of the pallet
  • Place the load on the pallet n a way that the weight of the load is placed between the forks
  • To have a balanced load weight – adjust the forks
  • Tilt the mast for more stabilized load
  • Carefully pick the off-centered loads.

Lifting the Load with Forklift

After lacing the fork under the lift, it is time for you to lift the loads.

The following are the hazards you might experience while lifting the load with a forklift;

  • Stuck loads
  • Falling loads
  • Not enough clearance

Follow the steps below to reduce the risks from these hazards;

  • Check the loads to ensure that there is enough overhead clearance before lifting
  • Lift the load carefully and lower the stack for 4 inches
  • Tilt the mast for the load to rest from the backrest load extension
  • Ensure that the load is not caught on anything
  • Neutralize the life control slowly

Lowering the Load

The following are the hazards you might experience while lowering the load;

  • Striking of objects
  • Falling of loads

High Tiering

The setoff hazards that high tiering brings;

  • Tip-overs
  • Stack overloading

To prevent these, follow the steps below;

  • Place the heavyweight loads at the bottom
  • Reduce the load capacity
  • Be mindful in load tilting backward or forward while high tiering

Truck Trailers and Railroad Cars

The following are the hazards you might encounter with truck trailers and railroad cars;

  • Falling of loading docks
  • Railroad cars and trucks might move while unloading and loading
  • Slipped or deficient or inadequate dock boards

The OSHA’s 29 CFR 1910.178 comes up with the list of information about the precautions that must take place before the entering of forklift in a truck trailer or railroad car. These are the following;

For Trucks and Railroad Cars;

  • Ensure that the floor can accommodate the forklift’s load and weight
  • Ensure the entry door will give sufficient vertical clearance
  • Operate the forklift in a straight line when exiting or entering the bridge plates
  • Use headlights and dock lights while working inside a dark trailer
  • Do not use the forklift in opening the doors or railroad cars. Do it when; (a) the forklift features a device to do it, (b) the forklift has an expert driver to do it, and (c) all the workers stand clear

For Trucks;

Use the brakes and place the wheel chocks below the rear wheels before the entrance of forklift.

Using fixed jacks is necessary for supporting semitrailers that are not coupled with tractors while the forklifts enter or exist to unload or load.


For Railroad Cars

Make use of positive protection, including wheel stops, to avoid the railroad cars from making some movements while the forklift is entering or exiting to load or unload.

Utilize positive protection to avoid the railroad cars from moving while the bridge plates or dock boards are in the position and during the entering and exiting of the forklift.

Requirements for Dock Boards and Bridge Plates

  • Sturdy enough to accommodate loads
  • Portable dock boards must be protected. Use devices and anchors to avoid slipping
  • To make sure safety handling, handholds must have the portable dock boards.

Additional Forklift Operation Considerations: Removal from Service and Maintenance

Removing Forklifts from Service

Forklifts can be removed if;

  • Fire
  • Overheating
  • Leak
  • Mechanical breakdown

When the operator or driver notice any of the mentioned signs, he or she should stop using the forklift, park it, and get accommodation from the company if;

  • The forklift is unsafe to use
  • Defects are present
  • It emits flames or sparks
  • The temperature is more than the average operating temperature
  • A leak was found

Forklift Maintenance

To prevent these hazards, ensure that the forklift must have a regular inspection, and report some repair issues to the supervisor of the company.

Conclusion: How to Operate a Forklift

We hope that you have learned something from us.