Advice for Novice Forklift Operators

It’s no hidden fact that forklift accidents are one of the most common dangers in the materials handling industry. Many of these accidents are caused by first time forklift operators. Here are some things to consider if you are new to forklift operations.

Forklifts help us with the heavy lifting essential to efficient loading and unloading required in this industry with proper training and guidance new operators can become experts in no time.

Before you do anything make sure you have a full tank of gas and that your battery is properly charged. This will mitigate the chances of malfunction. By checking these essential levels first time users will be sure to know they have the proper functioning tools to get the job done. It take less than a minute, but is often forgotten. Make sure to look at both gauges on the dashboard and check they are both at the right levels.

New operators may not be used to how to properly communicate to others while inside the forklift. There are various ways to signal to others about your actions and intent. It’s no different than driving a car on a highway or through a city. Traffic signals should always be used while operating. This will allow others to see what your are going to do even if you can’t see them. Like checking the gas and battery before use make sure these signals all work before you start your job.

Similar to golf carts forklifts have a backup alarm. This should be checked before use as well. This will alert others that you are reversing. This common sense safety tip is a priority because many times operators cannot see personnel behind them.

Finally, make sure that all new operators are outfitted properly—this usually means no baggy clothing, a hard hat, work boots, and a hi-visibility jacket or vest. By following these simple steps new operators can confidently put themselves in a position to succeed.

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