5 Tips for New Forklift Operators

For any new forklift operator ready to get behind the wheel, there is some excitement and concern about operating the device. The most seasoned forklift operators will claim that a forklift is like an appendage, an extension of themselves. However, new forklift operators may find themselves overwhelmed at first. There are several initiatives one can take to gain a level of comprehension and comfort with any forklift! Forklifts are like any other vehicle or machine: they require precise handling, a focus to attention and the appropriate consideration when utilized. Here are five easy tips to help any new forklift operator to use to flourish when at the helm:

1) Communication – Communication is the backbone of material handling. We have emphasized this vehemently in many posts and will continue to do so here, as communication is the backbone of learning for the most novice of learners. New forklift operators should feel comfortable with senior employees and management personnel. They should be encouraged to express what they feel and address any concerns as they arise as opposed to being reluctant to raise their voice. Good communication builds workplace relationships and helps employees identify and recognize hazards easier.

2) Ask For Help – There is absolutely no shame in asking for help. While trainers and coaches may want any new operator to learn the tools of the trade through experience, if there is any form of confusion or misunderstanding operators should feel safe in asking for assistance. There is no such thing as a stupid question, but there is such a thing as operating a dangerous vehicle without proper awareness if any inquiries go unanswered. Ask whatever questions need to be asked and ask them often. The answers in themselves are a critical phase of the learning process.

3) Remain Focused– While it may seem cliché, focus is a big part of operating a forklift. Building upon our first two initial points, forklift operators need to have their eyes on the road and ear to the street at all times. Doing so helps employees mitigate any potential risks in the workplace and also assures the operator is putting their best foot forward in terms of safely and appropriately handling the vehicle. If any new forklift operator finds themselves distracted, it is prudent to turn the vehicle off and reach out to an administrator to help fine tune these issues.

4) Follow Safety Precautions – For the novice operator that does not know where and how to begin, checking safety precautions is a great place start. These directives and narratives are designed to promote safety in the workplace and serve as a compass for new forklift operators that are unsure if they are correctly handling their vehicles. According to the ForkliftPro, while this may seem like a tedious remark, many operators grow complacent in their operational initiatives and this often is the source of many fines and accidents that could have been easily avoided. Follow those best practices early and stick to it throughout your career.

5) Regularly Check Machine – Last but certainly not least, it is imperative to check any forklift prior to operation. Checking the oil, battery, hydraulic fluid, signals, lights and coolant are essential to assure the device is ready to be used.

About Tom Reddon

Tom has been involved in the forklift industry since 1986. He loves doing research, blogging, and speaking about forklifts. You can contact Tom on his Twitter or Google+ profiles.

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