Before You Drive a Forklift
Before you even think about operating a forklift, you must have received your forklift license and undergone adequate training. The latter should include familiarisation with the particular model that you are operating.
Moreover, ensure that you examine the forklift before you get in it. A routine inspection should check for any mechanical faults associated with the brakes, steering, mast, tyres, and so on. If you do carry out an inspection, you are increasing the likelihood of a serious accident that was completely avoidable.
Driving a Forklift Safely
It is important that you always keep all your limbs inside the vehicle whilst operating a lift truck. You should also never exceed the recommended speed limit of the vehicle and take extra care in slowing down when you make any changes in direction. Similarly, do not turn or drive across a slope. Forklift tip-overs are one of the most common types of workplace forklift accidents.
As the driver, it is also your responsibility to make sure that no one stands or walks under the mast. If a heavy load falls on someone, this can cause serious injury.
How to Lift a Load and Drive Safely
First and foremost, your load must be stable, secure, and evenly distributed. The load should be tilted back with the forks sitting at a low height for maximum stability. In some cases, you may have to use ropes and bindings for extra security.
You should also check your forklift’s rating plate and note its load capacity before you attempt to try and lift any object. This will ensure that your vehicle has been designed to cope with such weight. Remember that the lift capacity is reduced when the load centre is higher. For example, a forklift may have a load capacity of 2,000kg, but this only applies when it is very slightly lifted above the ground. If it is taken up to one metre, it may fall by over 500kg. The exact information should be provided on your truck.