Top Tips For Loading And Unloading Forklift Trucks


Using a forklift truck is an everyday activity for many businesses. Whether you are loading, driving or unloading these trucks you have a responsibility to ensure it is done safely. It isn’t uncommon for staff to become sloppy when they have been completing these tasks daily for many years and this is when accidents happen. 


Loading and unloading forklift trucks can be incredibly dangerous, this particular piece of machinery can seriously hurt people, leading to severe injuries or even death. In order to stay vigilant and safe, we have put together our top tips for both loading and unloading forklift trucks in the workplace. 




  • Location 


You must always be aware of your surroundings when loading your forklift. Firstly, loading should only be conducted on a firm and level ground. You should also check for any overhead objects before lifting or stacking loads, ensuring that you are clear of overhead cables, pipes, or other dangerous obstructions. 


Another thing that is worth considering is that your loading area, if outside, is protected against bad weather as far as possible. For example, strong winds can be particularly dangerous.


  • Check the load 


Don’t focus solely on the machine you are using, you need to check the load too. You should ensure that the load is suitable, undamaged and stable to be lifted and moved by the forklift. Always avoid lifting a load that isn’t safe and reconsider how you move the load or make adjustments to ensure it is safe. 


You should also check the hight of the load. If you are going to be moving a load through a door, for example, you should ensure that once the load is placed on the forklift you still have a clearance of at least 5 cm between the forklift load and the door frame.


  • Positioning 


This may seem like the most obvious step, however, it is the first to be forgotten when working at speed or just carelessly. You must always make sure that any load is carefully and correctly positioned on the pallet or skid before loading. Aim to evenly distribute the weight and ensure that restraints are used so that it is safe and secure to avoid it collapsing whilst on the forklift.

Of course, you should also only use pallets and skids that can withstand the weight of the load and you should give them a check over to ensure that they are not damaged, deformed or decaying before they hold your load.




  • Location (again) 


Location is just as important when unloading as it is when loading. Similarly to when you loaded the forklift, you need to check for any hazards, such as obstructions in the unloading area along with firmness and level of the ground.


You should also make sure that you have enough room to line up your load with where it needs to be placed before attempting to place the load. 


  • Another load check 


Don’t just go ahead and place a load before you have checked how it is sitting on the forklift after being moved. If your load hasn’t been secured properly before moving the forklift or if you have encountered anything unexpected on your journey then your goods can shift during transit. If this has happened then it is likely that they will fall or move when any restraints are removed. 


If the load has moved in any way, you should take time to consider how it can be unloaded safely before these restraints are moved and the load placed. 




It should be relatively easy to remember these tips, especially because they are just reiterating what you have already been taught. The tips are also nearly always the same for loading as they are unloading, so, if you have checked something when loading then there is a high chance that it should be checked when unloading too. 


Never overlook the importance of these tips. No matter whether you are using a counterbalance forklift, reach forklift, side loading forklift or any other types of forklift - these steps and tips will be relevant and important. If you have any questions at all about your forklift then seek assistance from a professional company, such as Trucks Direct UK, who will be able to assist you further. 


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