Some people think that if they can drive a car, they can drive any other motorised vehicle, including a forklift truck. While they may be right to a degree, they will require a very different skill set when they get behind the wheel in a warehouse environment. If you are thinking of applying for a job in this field and getting ready to apply for a forklift licence, what do you need to know about skilful and safe control?
Designed for the Purpose
Engineers have designed the forklift truck so that a driver can manoeuvre it in an extremely tight environment and so that it is perfect for that warehouse job. You only need to look at it to see that it is a tiny machine and has a wheel in each corner so that it can be as stable as possible. This stability is a good thing when you consider the mast and forks fitted to the front. When the forks are lifted to the top and are holding a pallet full of bulky goods, stability is essential, and this is one of the first things to learn as a new driver.
Slowly Does It
When the driver has loaded a truck in this fashion, they should move it very slowly and carefully, as there is a great danger that it could topple over otherwise. Indeed, a certain amount of weight is added to the rear end of the truck to try and stabilise or counterbalance that load, but this can only be so effective
Remember, a forklift truck will steer from the rear, and the wheels can turn through almost 90°. This design makes it easier to reverse and turn while carrying that pallet load, but the driver should always lower the forks to ground level as soon as possible and before moving to another location.
When you encounter a sharp corner, you should slow to a snail's pace before turning around it and especially, once again, if you're carrying a load. Don't underestimate the risk here as there is always a danger that the machine could topple over to cause extensive damage and injury.
There's one other thing to bear in mind as well. Always turn in your seat and look in the direction of travel whenever you have to reverse the truck. Otherwise, there is considerable risk that you could injure somebody who may be standing in your blindspot or collide with another object.
Learning the Lessons
Before you apply for your forklift truck licence, make sure that you get a series of lessons at an accredited facility.