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Industries Where Forklifts Are Most in Demand

Forklifts were manufactured out of necessity during World War One. They were used to transport artillery, weapons and ammunition from one location to another, helping to cut manual labour times in half. A more advanced forklift model was used during World War Two to help transport food and, again, weapons and ammunition from place to place.

During this time, their huge benefits were realised when it came to the transportation of large and/or heavy goods and they were soon purchased by several different industries in a bid to help them become more efficient and to save their workers the struggle of having to manually carry loads.

As an increasing number of companies started to use forklifts for their own gain, both personal and financial, this particular piece of material handling equipment became more popular than ever before and it’s continued to be right up until the early 21st Century.

As of 2022, forklifts are used by an exceptionally high number of professionals in several different industries across the globe, making it one of the most sought-after pieces of warehouse equipment on the market. So which industries benefit from forklift implementation the most and what else can they be used for?


Before the introduction of the forklift, those in the construction industry relied on several different systems and mechanisms to raise and transport heavy loads, including, but not limited to, the following:

  • Ropes
  • Pulleys
  • Cables
  • Hoists
  • Winches

Although effective, the aforementioned methods were not nearly as safe as using a forklift to execute the same task. So when this revolutionary piece of material handling equipment became readily available to the general public, it’s no surprise that business owners across the construction industry leapt at the chance to buy a fleet of them.

Not only did forklifts vastly improve the safety of their workers, but they also improved overall efficiency and productivity throughout their business, meaning jobs were being completed in a fraction of the time it would have taken the old manoeuvring systems.

The Occupational Safety Health Administration (OSHA) eventually established safety regulations when it came to forklift use, making it mandatory for everyone to receive adequate training if they wished to operate a forklift. This meant undergoing theory training (much like you would on a driving test) and practical training before being granted permission to drive a forklift. Unless a person has received the correct training, a forklift should not be used by anyone who hasn’t adhered to the OSHA regulations.

Warehouse & distribution

Forklift trucks are exceptionally useful in the warehousing and distribution industry. Before forklifts were implemented, ey’d have relied on pulley systems and winches to raise loads and even then, it wouldn’t be to a great height. Forklifts enable even the tallest of warehouse racking to be used to its maximum capacity due to their impressive lifting heights and capabilities.

It’s important within the warehousing and distribution industry that loads are handled as quickly and as safely as possible and forklifts are used to help with operations as they can swiftly transport goods without causing any damage. Not only can forklift improve the productivity of warehouse workers, but they can make the overall process far more efficient, leading to happy customers all round.


Forklifts are able to handle exceptionally large ad/or heavy loads, so they’ll make short work of transporting goods in and around shipping yards. The containers that are used are far from small and so specialist equipment is needed to help manoeuvre them as safely and as efficiently as possible.

During WWII, a quick, effective transportation method was needed to help manoeuvre vehicles, food, weapons and other war supplies. It was here that the shipping industry realised how beneficial these powerful machines could be when the war was over.

So after WWII, forklifts were implemented throughout shipping yards worldwide, and for good reason. Many argue that it was in fact the implementation of forklifts that helped to bring the country back from the economic and financial hardships suffered as a result of the war, as operations ran far more smoothly and quickly and less accidents occurred as a result.

Recycling & waste management

Where other large vehicles are used to raise, transport and unload skips, for example, forklifts are often used at recycling facilities to help move materials from one place to another, ready for recycling. This way, waste can be efficiently transported to the relevant sorting bays and cae attachments can even be added to help move tyres and other large or heavy materials (that would just fall off the forks) around the premises.


The manufacturing industry is renowned for working with heavy materials. Whether a company is constructing a car or manufacturing speciality materials, a forklift is most beneficial to this particular industry as they have a wide variety of material handling needs.

Depending on what it is that’s being manufactured, forklifts might be needed together with other pieces of warehouse equipment, including pallet trucks, reach trucks, cherry pickers, and order pickers, for example. But usually, a forklift is all a manufacturing business might need to get the job done.

Forklifts will make short work of heavy lifting and transportation whilst also carrying out the task as safely as possible for absolute peace of mind – no wonder business owners throughout the industry are turning to forklifts to help with everyday applications.

Other specialist uses

In addition to the aforementioned industries, forklifts will be able to help with the following:

  • Natural disaster relief
  • Ploughing or removing snow from the streets, driveways, car parks etc
  • Clearing areas of dirt and debris with sweeping or broom attachments
  • Being turned into a loading crane with a boom attachment

Hire Forklifts are able to provide industries across the UK with a variety of warehouse equipment, including forklifts, all of which are available to rent. We are proud to offer our customers transparent, affordable and flexible rental contracts, either for long or short term hire. We’ll tailor your contract to meet your specific needs, regardless of the industry you’re in or the size of your budget. For more information about material handling equipment we have available for hire, including forklifts, get in touch with our friendly, knowledgeable team today – we’re always on hand to help.

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