How to Drive a Forklift, Moving Heavy Objects Advice, Building Construction Guide

How to Drive a Forklift: Get Work Done Quickly and Safely

22 Sep 2020

How to Drive a Forklift: Get Work Done Quickly and Safely

When you need to move several heavy objects from one location to another, you’ve got two choices. Have a bunch of your workers do it for you or choose one person to drive a forklift and finish the task in half the time.

But learning how to drive a forklift is not as simple as it is driving a car. If the proper safety measures aren’t followed, then it could end in an OSHA violation or worse, an accident on the worksite.

If anyone is looking to get behind the wheel of a forklift, there are some specific safety measures that you should know about before you turn the key. Here are some forklift driving tips for you to follow.

Learn How to Drive a Forklift

Before you step inside a forklift, you need to receive training that meets the OSHA requirements. There are requirements on what needs to be included in the course, such as:

  • General rules of safe operation
  • Information on the various trucks on site
  • Hazards created by forklifts and other industrial trucks
  • OSHA’s safety requirements

Your employer must declare that you’ve received all the training and assess that you’re capable of driving a forklift. You will also need to complete refresher training every three years, or if you demonstrate that you can’t use the equipment appropriately.

If your employer isn’t equipped to facilitate the training, then forklift dealerships like Superior International Products can provide training. You can find more information on their website at https://www.sip.net/.

Perform a Routine Check of the Forklift Before You Drive a Forklift

It’s important to check that your forklift is safe to operate before turning it on. There are certain parts you should take a closer look at than others.

For starters, you should check the tires have enough air and aren’t damaged. You should also look at the oil levels to ensure the forklift won’t overheat.

Next, head underneath the forklift to see if there are any water, oil, or radiator leaks. If you don’t see any problems, then have a look at the forks. You want to make sure that these are perfectly straight and have no cracks.

Jump inside the forklift and test that the brakes, lights, horn, and steering wheel are in working order. Take a look ahead and see if you can spot any obstructions, uneven surfaces, overhead obstacles, or other hazards.

If anything doesn’t look right, then you should let your supervisor know immediately. They should organize repairs and offer a replacement forklift if one is available on-site.

Drive Safely for Your Colleagues

Forklifts can provide several dangers to your co-workers. You’ll be competing for space with pedestrians on the ground, and unless the floors are marked, you’ll have to agree on who has the right of way. It’s not uncommon for loads to fall off the forklift either, which can be dangerous for your co-workers.

There are some steps you can take to keep everyone safe. The best method is to always travel at a slow speed, so that it’s easy to avoid anyone who may step in front of the forklift accidentally. If you know people may be close by, use your horn to alert them that you’re traveling through.

You should also ensure your eyes are always on the road. If your load is blocking your view, then travel in reverse. This will allow you to make sure you can spot any obstacles or hazards in the direction that you’re traveling.

In regard to your load, unless you’ve packed it yourself, make sure that it’s properly secured and balanced. Both forks need to be under the shipment before you lift and drive off.

Don’t Overload Your Cargo

It’s essential to understand your forklift’s weight capacity before you start picking up pallets or materials. You can find this information in the equipment’s operating manual, and it should also be on the forklift itself.

If you exceed the weight restrictions, then you increase the risk that the forklift will tip over. If you are traveling with a heavy load, then make sure that you’re taking corners slowly. You should also use caution on any ramps or grates on the ground as these can also contribute to the load falling off or the machine tipping over.

Park the Forklift Safely

There is a specific way to park your forklift when you’ve finished using it. When you want to exit the forklift, set the parking brake, and lower the forks. You should then put all of the controls into neutral.

The reason it’s important to follow these steps is that it ensures that there is no unintended movement while it’s unattended. While it’s rare, accidents can occur when a forklift is not parked correctly, and no one is behind the wheel.

If you park your forklift on an incline, then you’ll need to take an additional step to ensure the safety of those around you. To further secure the machine, it’s recommended that you put wheel blocks on all the tires. This makes sure that the forklift is unlikely to roll away while it’s not in use.

The Importance of Forklifts on Worksites

Most construction sites around the world use forklifts to help create impressive structures around the world. They help speed up timelines as they rely less on a group of people trying to move equipment, resources, and objects around the worksite.

Without workers knowing how to drive a forklift, some of the amazing buildings that exist around the globe would still be under construction.

If you’re looking for inspiration from some of the world’s most glorious buildings, then stay tuned to our blog. We feature architecture news daily and showcase projects by country, city, building type, an architect.

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