As a forklift operator, you’ll be using a forklift all the time. If you don’t know what you’re doing, it could lead to some dangerous or compromising situations.

Do you need some help figuring out how a forklift works and what you can do to keep yourself safe?

If you’re new to being a forklift operator, there are a few simple things you need to know before getting started. Keep reading to learn more.

Learn the Basics First

Before even starting to use your forklift, be sure to read the operators manual and understand what all buttons and levers do.

It’s a good idea to lift the fork up by about 3 inches at a time with the control levels. This gives you more control.

Your forklift should have at least one or two black levers that are in charge of controlling the tilt and height of the fork. They will be found to the right of the steering wheel.

Pull the levers to raise your fork’s tines off the ground before you drive.

The shifter is what you’ll use to change the direction you want to drive. Push it forward to drive forward or pull it back to go backward. Don’t forget to keep your foot on the brake when shifting.

Loading and Unloading

It’s almost always best practice to load a forklift when it is at a complete standstill. The only reason that you may want to do it while moving is if you’re doing fast-paced loading for trucks. Even in that situation, it’s best to have plenty of experience to make it as safe as possible.

To load, you should brake, adjust your tines, adjust forks to match the pallet openings, and insert the fork into the pallet by moving forward.

Make sure the fork is completely inside the pallet at this point. Then, you’ll lift the load at least a few inches off the ground.

You can tilt the mast at this point to make the load more stable before you start to move. Before unloading, be sure to put the mast back in a neutral position.

Drive the forklift slowly when you’re preparing to unload, and back straight out when you’re ready to take out the tines.

Know Your Safety Information

Did you know that forklifts are actually easier to tip over than cars? Also, they can be much harder to steer. These are just a couple of reasons that they can be very difficult to safely maneuver.

Always honk the horn of your forklift when you’re passing through a high traffic area. People need to know that you’re crossing, especially if it may be hard for them to see you.

Avoid turning very sharply or fast. Don’t drive the forklift on uneven surfaces or sideways on a ramp.

If you happen to be in a forklift as it is tipping over, quickly pull any body parts inside the forklift and brace for the impact.

Be sure to pass all certification requirements, including passing the exam. With that achievement, you’ll be ready to get to work and know how to do so safely.

You can even take an additional course to be sure that you’re as prepared as possible.

Prepare to Be a Forklift Operator Today

With this basic information about being a forklift operator, you may be thinking that it’s the perfect type of work for you. Once you’ve completed your certification qualifications, it’s time to get started.

Contact us today to get more information and see what we can do for you.