5 Essential Tips for New Forklift Operators

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Forklifts are common pieces of construction equipment that might seem pretty easy to operate at first. However, as soon as you get behind the wheel of a forklift, you will understand just how powerful and complicated this piece of machinery is. A forklift is definitely a piece of construction equipment that you don’t want to get behind the wheel of without the proper training and qualifications. Even employers look for workers who are honest, safe and qualified to use the machinery. If you think that you don’t know what you’re doing, then chances are high that you don’t!

When you’re a new forklift operator, there are certain things that you should stay aware of before and during your time on the forklift. By doing this, you are going to be keeping yourself safe and also ensuring the safety of everyone else around you. That’s because forklifts can easily injure others around you if you’re not careful with how you operate them. Keep reading down below to learn more about how to operate forklifts carefully and what you should keep in mind as you do that.

1. Be Sure to Be Vigilant at All Times and Aware of Your Surroundings

When you are operating a forklift, it might be easy to get locked into the rhythm of operating the machine and forget about what’s happening around you. However, this is one of the worst things that you can do for your health and safety while operating a forklift. You should be constantly monitoring the floor and area around you to ensure that no one or nothing is in your way. Make sure that you have your eyes trained in front of the forklift at all times and you have nothing around that could distract you from operating the machine. In addition to that, you want to ensure that you don’t have your hands near any kind of smartphone or food/beverages when operating a forklift. These things can easily distract you and cause you not to see the things that are happening around you.

In the event that something does happen that’s dangerous, you can take evasive maneuvers and stop that from happening when you’re focused and vigilant.

2. Make Sure That You Are Qualified and Have the Proper Training

Of course, one of the first things that you should ensure before you operate a forklift is that you fulfill all training requirements. This is pretty mandatory for anyone who is working for a construction company or any other company that uses forklifts on a daily basis. When you have the proper training, you are going to know exactly how to operate the machine and what to do in the event of an emergency. Forklifts might seem like they’re pretty easy to maneuver around, but that’s definitely not true. The controls of a forklift are often counter-intuitive, so make sure that you have all the knowledge and expertise before hopping on one and starting to drive.

3. Wear the Right Clothing to Be Safe

At any point in time when you’re operating a forklift, you have got to have the proper safety gear on. If you don’t do this, then you are just putting yourself at the risk of getting seriously injured. The clothing you should be wearing include a hard hat, safe shoes, and a reflective jacket. These pieces are going to protect you from getting hurt and will ensure that you’re the safest you can be when operating the forklift.

You should also ensure that none of your clothing is too loose fitting. If you wear loose fitting clothes, these can easily get caught up in the machinery and cause some serious injuries. If you are not wearing gloves while operating the forklift, then also make sure there is no grease on your hands. This would make it much more tough to operate the forklift than normal.

4. Consider the Environment Where You’re Operating the Forklift

Anytime that you’re going to be operating a forklift, you should be aware of all your surroundings. Make sure to analyze the environment around you so you can take into account any potential dangers or things to watch out for. There are most likely going to be roadways in the warehouse where you are working. These roadways should be followed at all times to ensure no one gets in your way while driving.

In addition to this, make sure to keep an eye out for any signs that show you maximum clearance heights or areas where you’re not permitted with a forklift. By being aware of your surroundings, you are going to be able to see everything coming and maneuver out of the way when necessary.

5. Make Sure That the Load You Are Carrying Is Stable Before Beginning Operation

When you’re operating a forklift, most of the time you’re not just going to be operating it without a load. Anytime that you have a load on the forklift and you’re transporting it across the floor, you should ensure its stability before moving. Properly inspect the load and check to see if it’s properly strapped in. Loads should always be tilted backwards on the front of the forklift as this is going to help stabilize the load even more.

If any load that you’re trying to transport is not stable, then never try to transport it. The chances are increased in this situation that it’s going to drop off and cause some damage or injuries. The best thing that you can do is secure the load with ropes or other bindings to keep it in place. This is especially true for those lighter loads that can easily fly off.

And there you have it, folks! If you’re new at operating forklifts, then you’ve got to follow the above tips to ensure your safety and the safety of those around you. Remember that a forklift is not like a car that you can just get behind and drive without a problem. There are important distinctions to make when driving a forklift and you should understand these before getting behind the wheel.


A traveller by day and reader by night' is how I would sum up my life. My wanderlust led me to quit my cushy job at 28 and finally embark on a journey around the world. Since then, I have lived in many countries and soaked in as many books as possible during my travel journeys. Among them, the "Book of Mirdad" is still my personal favourite and holds a special place in my heart. My progression towards writing was inevitable and happened quite naturally. I have been writing for a few years now an...

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