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Tips for Becoming a Better Forklift Driver

If you’re a forklift operator who has only just passed your forklift driving test, then it’s likely that you’ll want to do everything you can to improve and build on your existing skills. But how can you do this safely and effectively? We’ve presented you with some useful hints and tips to enhance your current forklift driving abilities.

Check over equipment before the start of your shift

It’s normal for the start of the working day to be slightly rushed and busy and because of this, it’s likely that vital morning equipment checks aren’t carried out. You should allocate yourself a certain amount of time each morning to inspect the vehicle you’ll be driving. Some of the things you should be paying close attention to when it comes to ensuring safe and effective forklift operation includes the following:
  • Brake lights
  • Alarms
  • Dashboard lights
  • Damage to the chassis
  • Rust
  • Cracks
  • Debris
  • Leaks
  • Hydraulics
  • Forks and forklift attachments
  • Fuel levels/level of charge a forklift has

Take care when entering & exiting the cabin

It’s imperative that a forklift driver has full visibility at all times. You should be able to see everything before you get into the cabin, while you’re operating the vehicle and before you exit the truck. This keeps everyone, including the driver, protected from harm when people are entering, operating and exiting the vehicle. Stay alert when:
  • In the presence of a forklift, whether it’s operational or not
  • Getting out of the cabin
  • Climbing into the cabin
Also, make sure you aren’t getting in or out of the cabin with your hands full. You’ll need your hands to be free in order to use the necessary railings while in the process of climbing into the cabin and also getting out.

Don’t get distracted

If a forklift driver is distracted whilst operating their vehicle, it can be extremely dangerous for all involved. Much like when driving a car, distraction of any kind is extremely hazardous and so all necessary measurements should be taken to ensure that the driver isn’t distracted at any time. It’s paramount that focus is maintained at all times as forklifts are extremely heavy, dangerous pieces of equipment that could cause serious damage if involved in an accident.

Acquire the correct gear

Not only does a forklift driver have to be comfortable when operating a forklift, but they also need to be visible by all, whether they’re in the cabin or not. A forklift operator should be provided with various pieces of PPE equipment, including:
  • High-visibility jackets and vests
  • Hard hats
  • Overalls
  • Steel-toed boots
  • Goggles
  • Masks
  • Ear defenders
  • Winter coats
  • Gloves
It’s also important that forklift drivers are comfortable in the heat as well as in colder temperatures. During the summer, a base layer of clothing will be needed that’s also moisture-wicking in order to keep the forklift driver dry. Hard hats and protective footwear should be worn at all times in the warehouse, whether operating a forklift or not.

Refrain from overloading material handling equipment

The forklift itself will have manufacturer recommendations regarding the amount of weight it can lift and transport. These guidelines should be followed at all times and, when the forklift is carrying a load, the forks should be held as close to the ground as possible to minimise damage to employees and the stock itself.

Forklifts should also be driven at a responsible speed. Do not exceed any recommended speed limits in and around the warehouse, particularly when travelling around corners, up and down ramps and when your forklift is carrying a full load.

Forklift Hire has over 30 years of experience in the material handling industry, so you’ll always be able to count on us to provide customers throughout the UK with high-quality, reliable forklifts and other pieces of warehouse equipment. You’ll be able to rent a forklift and hire warehouse machinery for a reasonable price. With transparent rental contracts available, you’ll be spoilt for choice when you choose to rent material handling equipment from us here at Forklift Hire. For more information about how we can help you today, get in touch with a member of our team – we’re always happy to hear from you.

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