Operating a forklift truck, regardless of whether you’re in a yard or inside a warehouse, doesn’t come without its element of danger. A forklift truck is a piece of heavy machinery and, therefore, you must exercise caution when you are operating one.

There are some common mistakes which can occur when a forklift truck is in operation. Here are a few to watch out for…

1. Overloading

Load data is important. That’s why it’s included on every fork lift truck. Ignoring this and overloading your truck can cause accidents. Overloading causes the forklift to become unstable and runs the risk of it toppling over.

2. Speeding

Although it may be tempting to whizz around on your forklift truck when you’ve got a lot to get through, this isn’t a good idea. In environments where forklifts are operational there are often other vehicles, members of the work force and heavy objects in the same space. It’s best to drive sensibly and avoid a high-speed collision.

3. Observation

It’s important to make sure that you’re familiar with the environment you’re working in, especially if you don’t work there on a regular basis. Before you begin to operate your forklift truck, have a quick walk around your surroundings to familiarise yourself.

4. Communication

Poor communication within any workplace can lead to mistakes. In an environment where forklift trucks and other machinery are in operation, this can lead to a high level of noise. In this situation, the worst thing to do is shout in an attempt to be heard above the noise. Instead, be clear in your instructions and reinforce your message using hand signals.

5. Teamwork

Even the most experienced forklift truck operators require an extra pair of hands sometimes! If you feel like you’re struggling with a particular load, or with moving a load due to restricted visibility for example, it’s always best to ask a colleague for some help.

6. Narrow Aisles

Warehouses are often tight spaces, leaving only a small amount of room for manoeuvring around.  Make sure you’re aware of the size of your forklift truck to prevent any damage being caused to either the stock or the machine itself.

7. Elevated Loads

Operating a forklift truck with a load elevated in the air requires a slightly different style of driving. If you’re not aware of how to handle the forklift with an elevated load, make sure you consult the manual and receive the proper training.

8. Unusual Loads

Not all loads come packaged in neat and secure crates, which are easy to lift and move around. Some loads are strangely shaped, and others are loose and unstable. When moving a load of this nature, be extra careful of your surroundings and the speed at which you operate the forklift truck.

These are just some of the most common mistakes that can be made when operating a forklift truck. Don’t be complacent when you are in control of a forklift and always maintain the highest level of precaution.Carelessness does cause accidents, so ensure you’re safe when operating a forklift truck, otherwise you might end up caught on camera doing something a bit stupid…


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