Tips For New Forklift Operators
According to MotorTransport, there is a national shortage when it comes to forklift operators. However, if you are lucky enough to join this highly rewarding and engaging industry, you will want to know the ins and outs when it comes to being the best forklift operator possible. While there are aspects of common sense that come into play when you operate a forklift, there are some tips and tricks that are less well documented in which we are going to disclose to you so that you have the best chance to thrive within this industry.
Wear Appropriate PPE
First on this list of top tips for new forklift operators we have safety. Have you ever heard of the saying “Safety first?” well there is solid reasoning for it.
When you’re operating a forklift, it is crucial that you are wearing the correct clothing to give you the best chance of preventing injuries to yourself and others. Furthermore, operating a forklift requires concentration, so you don’t want to be distracted during a long shift by uncomfortable clothes that don’t fit well.
In addition, bright or reflective clothing, such as high-visibility vests, will also alert those around you that machinery is in use so that you can minimise errors (as humans do make mistakes) and overall keep the safety standards maintained.
Plan Your Route And Stay Alert
A second aspect in regards to tips for forklift driving is plan ahead and always stay alert. Careless driving is inevitably going to lead to disasters or even severe injuries in the workplace. As such, it is important that you conduct a clear plan and end goal of where you want to drive the forklift.
Try to envision the current place of your forklift and the steps on how you are going to get to your end location. By doing this, you can give yourself the best chance of conducting a sufficient job as well as caring for the safety of others in the surrounding vicinity.
Furthermore, in regards to staying alert, always assume that the people and vehicles around you will move unpredictably. Make sure to keep your distance as much as possible and drive conservatively while communicating with your coworkers, telling them where you are and what you’re planning to do while operating the forklift.
Another incredibly vital tip for new forklift operators is to practice. If you want to be good at anything it will require constant practice, and it’s exactly the same for operating a forklift. Keeping on top of your skills will give you confidence in your role and in your forklift truck.
Similarly, you can practice your knowledge by enrolling onto a forklift training course which we have detailed in a previous blog post or alternatively, you can apply for a VR forklift training programme which can imitate common warehouse and transportation scenarios without the need of actually manning a forklift truck.
When In Doubt, Ask
If you don’t feel comfortable carrying a load or manoeuvring a forklift into a tight space, don’t be afraid to ask for help. It’s better to ask for help than to cause an accident and your managers will understand this. If you do ask for help or someone qualified decides to take over, try to take a mental or physical note on the process they conducted in order to complete the tasks.
Don’t be afraid to ask them how they completed certain manoeuvres as this will inevitably help you in the long run.
This tip is a literal lifesaver and it relates to maintaining sounding thinking and remaining calm. If you are tasked with a difficult manoeuvre when operating a forklift truck, always remember to stay calm. If you begin to work yourself up before conducting the tasks, then coaches are your judgement can become clouded and mistakes may begin to appear. This could actually end up being fatal if you are carrying a heavy load on a forklift truck.
There are many documented methods in order to stay calm but the one we suggest and perhaps is the easiest to perform is to take slow, deep breaths. This will regulate your heart rate, and will relax your mind so that you are in the best possible cognitive state to conduct your allocated tasks.
Know Your Truck’s Specification
Last and certainly not least on this list of tips for new forklift operators, we encourage you to know your forklifts specification. What we mean by this is knowing your forklift lifting capacity, its lift height, whether its gas, fuel or an electric forklift etc. This will be hugely beneficial for new forklift drivers as lets say you know your forklift has a lift capacity of 3000kgs, and you know that the pallet you are required to lift is 3500kgs, then clearly you know the forklift capabilities are not able to lift this load.
If you were to go ahead and stupidly attempt to lift this load, then you risk the forklift experiencing major damage or risk the driver being seriously harmed.
Here at Trucks Direct, we have supplied you with helpful tips for forklift driving. If you are interested in any further reading regarding training and tips to become a better forklift operator, why not check our blog on the further of forklift training with VR headsets.