3 Tips for First Time Forklift Users

Worker driving a forkliftTo the amateur or a beginner, operating a forklift can seem like an overwhelming task. However, there is good news, the process is not as hard as it seems and following these few tips will help any beginner become an expert in no time! While a forklift is a heavy machine that must be handled with care, it can also increase efficiency and productivity in virtually any industry or setting. Forklifts can be a great aid in helping any worker avoid the grueling labor of heavy lifting and further expedite or streamline any loading or unloading process. Here are some basic tips for the first-time forklift operator that will make the first use, a good one:

1) Check Gas and Battery Before Operation

To make that first time easy, it is essential to assure that there is a limited chance of malfunction. The best way to achieve this is to assure the machine has proper fuel and electricity. Checking the gas and battery prior to use will assure the forklift is safe and ready to use. It is imperative to check both the fuel and voltage levels before operation. Failing to do so can result in serious consequences and ultimately result in collateral damage to goods or injury to personnel. For a first-time user this can be a traumatic encounter and sully their new experience. Avoid a preventable catastrophe by checking the levels of both the gas and battery. The process is quick and easy, simply look for both gauges on the dashboard and assure that both are the appropriate industry-standard levels. When ready to use, operate the forklift as you were taught, adhering to all company protocols and procedures.

2) Communication is Paramount

For those that are new to operating forklifts or venturing in to the material handling industry, communication is paramount. If you are operating a forklift, there are many methods of conveying intent. First, be sure to use lights and signals when needed to alert oncoming traffic and nearby personnel. It is also important to assure these devices are working to full functionality. Second, ensure the backup alarm is working. A backup alarm alerts all in close proximity that the operator is backing up. This is even more essential when the operator may not be able to see an employee behind the forklift due to blind spots. In addition to queues and use of forklift devices to alert colleagues, it is extremely important to maintain consistent verbal communication with fellow employees, this is the most effective and proven way to assure all personnel are on the same page.

3) Never Be Scared To Ask For Help

There is never a need to fear asking for an extra hand. Whether the help comes in the form of unloading a palate or some simple yet essential veteran advice in proper handling of the machinery, there is no such thing as a stupid question. If you are unsure or feel uncomfortable with any facet of forklift operation, be sure to ask any co-worker or supervisor for insights and instructions. Safety always comes first.

About Tom Reddon

Tom has been involved in the forklift industry since 1986. He loves doing research, blogging, and speaking about forklifts. You can contact Tom on his Twitter or Google+ profiles.

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