Eight Tips for Safely Operating Your Forklift

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A lot of people have probably heard of forklifts, but they may not know exactly what a forklift is or what it does. A forklift is a piece of heavy machinery that is generally used to lift and move materials over distances that are not very long. This is why they can be very useful when it comes to construction projects, as they are able to move building materials from place to place. Many times, people will not be able to move those things on their own, so it is good that they have this kind of equipment to work with.

If you do not know a lot about forklifts, you might have many questions when it comes to trying to get one. For example, you might wonder, what are the best forklift rental companies in my area? How can I contact a fork truck operator? What does it take to get a forklift operator license? Who are the best forklift providers that are available to me? What are the different types of forklift service jobs? If you talk to a forklift manufacturer or someone else who has a lot of experience with this equipment, they may be able to give you the guidance that you need.

If you are a forklift operator, you know just how valuable this piece of equipment is. What’s even more valuable is your safety. From parts replacement to clothing choices, read on for a few tips on how to safely operate a forklift and when to call forklift repair services.

  • Always wear the right clothing. Everyone who operates a forklift needs to wear the right kind of clothes to ensure their own safety. It’s important that you never operate the controls of a forklift when your hands are greasy or slippery in any way, as a small slip could cause your hand to slide off the controls and a serious accident could result that would necessitate forklift parts replacement or possibly even a trip to the hospital. It’s also important that all the clothing you wear around one of these machines be fairly well fitted. Loose clothing can get caught on the machinery. Finally, be sure that you wear all the right work safety gear, such as a hat and safety shoes.
  • Do your checks before you start up. Before operating a forklift, it’s important to check out all of the equipment. Do a test of the brakes, the controls, the mast and tires, the steering, and all warning devices. If anything seems wrong, be sure to notify management and do not operate the forklift until someone has been called in who has the equipment expertise to know just what parts replacement is necessary in order to keep the equipment running safely.
  • Get yourself settled before you start the forklift. This means being properly strapped in, making sure that all mirrors and controls are within your reach, and being aware of your surroundings before you turn on the forklift. You should check all the signs for clearance heights and floor loadings: again, expensive parts replacement if you get this wrong. Make sure that you’re aware of the edges so that you don’t accidentally cause the forklift to fall over. Be especially cautious if you need to go over bridge plates. Make sure the you are certain they can support the weight of the forklift and its load.
  • Be a sensible driver. Forklifts are at fault in 1% of warehouse and factory accidents and are involved in 10% of all injuries in these facilities. You should never go faster than the speed limit and always slow down at corners and turns in order to minimize tipping. If it becomes necessary to change direction or to make any stops, do this gradually and slowly. Steer well clear of bumps and loose ground objects. Remember that other vehicles in the vicinity may move in unexpected ways, so keep your distance. Whenever you come to a corner or a doorway, be sure to use your horn to alert other machinery operators and pedestrians that you’re coming. In a pedestrian area, never drive more than three miles per hour.
  • Remember your father’s admonition. A lot of us had a father who’d would tell us, in one way or other, not to be stupid. Follow his advice when driving your forklift. Don’t overload it, never try to transport a person on the forklift, don’t use it for racing or other activities for which it was not designed, and make sure that whatever load you put on it is evenly balanced.
  • Refuel and store safely. When you are refueling, do so only at the properly designated location. Be sure to turn off the forklift and don’t allow open flames or sparks in the vicinity while refueling. At the end of your shift, park in the designated area, lower forks to the floor, and always remember to apply the parking brake.
  • Get regular forklift maintenance. It’s important not to forget to have professionals come in and do maintenance and parts replacement as necessary. This will ensure that your forklift stays in good, safe working order for a long time to come.

Your forklift is a valuable piece of equipment. Treated as such and it will serve you for a long time.

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