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7 Quick Tips for Driving a Forklift

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7 Quick Tips for Driving a Forklift

7 Quick Tips for Driving a Forklift

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Some forklift driving tips may seem self-explanatory, while others may come as more of a surprise. Here are some forklift do’s and don’ts before you get started!

DO: Read Forklift Safety Rules

Whether you are a seasoned pro or are driving a forklift for the first time, it never hurts to familiarize yourself with the rules. Operation instructions can change over the years. The first thing that can go wrong with operating most technology is not reading directions or rules connected with that technology. Stay safe and stay sharp when it comes to forklift safety.

Are you wearing proper attire for driving a forklift? Loose clothing can get caught on machinery. Suggested attire for driving a forklift can include a hard hat, safety shoes, and a high-visibility jacket. This is even more important for the people who are surround you as you drive a forklift.

DO: Make Sure the Forklift is Safe to Operate

man fixing a forklift

Before you drive, make sure your forklift is in good condition

Before you operate a forklift, make sure the forklift is in operating condition. You wouldn’t step on the gas in a car that had didn’t have working headlights! Are there any warning lights on? Check the tires for wear and look around the forklift for any oil leaks. Take a look at the coolant, engine oil, and transmission fluid levels before you get started.

Make sure the brakes, steering, and controls are all in working condition. If something’s not right, do not risk putting yourself and others in danger. Contact a supervisor to inform them that the forklift is out of order and in need of repair.

DON’T: Operate a Forklift Without Certification

According to OSHA requirements, you need to be certified before you can be driving a forklift. Federal OSHA does not require you to have a valid driver’s license to operate a forklift, but you do need proper training and certification.

You do not need to be trained on every make and model of forklift, but it does help to be familiar with how various forklift models operate differently. If you have only trained on a sit-down rider forklift, you will need training to switch to another type like a stand-up truck.

DO: Practice

Certification should come with training, which means supervised practice. If you are driving a forklift for the first time, one crucial thing to remember is that forklifts are steered by the rear wheels, unlike most cars.

Before starting the forklift, make sure your seat belt is fastened and you can reach all of the controls to drive the forklift. When turning a corner, go slowly and use your horn to let pedestrians and other forklift operators that you are on the other side of the corner. This action can help prevent any collisions.

Think about the load’s destination and the path you need to take to get there. These factors may affect how you pick up the load.

DON’T: Drive Under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs

This seems like a no-brainer, but it still needs to be said. Are you taking pain pills for a recent injury or surgery? Check your prescription information to see if there is a warning about operating machinery while taking that prescription.

DON’T: Lift Your Load Too High

Proper load balancing is imperative to driving a forklift safely. If you lift a load too high, you can cause the forklift to tip over. If you are carrying a heavy load, you will want to make sure that the load is secure beyond the tip of the forks. Counterbalance your load by driving with back tilt or mast vertical. The load should be titled back, and the forks should sit low. Some loads may require ropes or bindings in order to safely transport them.

DO: Use Designated Roadways

two forklift drivers picking crates

Be alert for people and objects when driving a forklift

When driving a forklift, use approved roadways designated by your workplace. If you go off the path, you can run into surfaces that are not forklift-friendly. Avoid bumps, uneven ground, and slippery surfaces while operating a forklift. If you drive too close to the edge, you put yourself and others in danger.

Reno Forklift

At Reno Forklift, we carry the top brands of forklifts to fit your needs. Reno Forklift offers service and repair as well as preventative maintenance for forklifts, trash compactors, floor scrubbers, and more. Reno Forklift is a licensed contractor in both Nevada and California, so we can help with any of your Tahoe or Truckee construction projects.

Reno Forklift has been in business for nearly 50 years and also offers consultation and training services. Contact us to learn more about what Reno Forklift has to provide, from driving a forklift to storage systems!

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