Advice & Tips

How To Drive/Operate a Forklift

Forklifts are trickier to drive safely because they are more likely to topple over and are difficult to steer. You’ll be able to lift and carry heavy loads with ease after getting some driving practice and forklift handling instruction. 

Before You Start

1. Dress for the Job

The first piece of advice for effective forklift use should be put into practice even before you enter the warehouse. When operating a forklift, it’s essential that you dress appropriately. This easy safety advice might prevent harm to you.

Put on steel toe boots, for starters. If the item ever falls on your feet, this will shield them. To protect your legs, put on jeans and a full-sleeved shirt or jacket. Don’t wear shorts outside. Last but not least, make an effort to always put on a high-visibility jacket when using the forklift so that people can see you.

2. Move Obstacles Out of the Way Beforehand

You should be aware of your destination before boarding the forklift. As well as knowing the path you’ll take through the warehouse to get there. Additionally, if you are familiar with the route, you will be able to determine whether any obstructions need to be moved.

Accidentally driving your forklift into an obstruction is a given when you try to move obstacles out of the way as you go.

3. Always Do a Pre-Operation Check

You should now perform a quick pre-operation check to make sure everything on the machine is in working order before you begin moving on the forklift. Depending on the forklift manufacturer, the specific checklist you go through will vary, but you should at the very least check the condition of the forks, the brake lines, the tires, and the oil and fuel levels.

4. Slow and Steady Saves the Product

Never compete when operating a forklift. Instead, keep in mind this quotation: slow is smooth, and smooth is fast. Start out by going slowly through the motions if you want to finish the job quickly. By doing this, you’ll avoid making any mistakes that will cost a lot of time and money to fix.

5. Be Vigilant

Last but not least, while operating the forklift, always be aware of what is going on around you. Avoid texting or daydreaming while driving to avoid clipping a shelf.

a forklift

How to Operate Forklift

Step 1 – Performing Basic Checks Before Starting the Forklift

Take the left side of the forklift to board. The shifter lever can be found under the left side of the steering wheel. Once you are seated, fasten your seatbelt to ensure your safety. Assuming it is in neutral, make sure the lever is in the middle position. On the machine’s left side, look for the emergency brake lever and make sure it’s lowered and engaged. To start the forklift’s engine, insert the key into the ignition on the right side of the steering wheel and turn it forward.

Step 2 – Loading the Forklift

Push the brake pedal until you come to a complete stop in front of the load you want to pick up. Turn on the parking brake and shift into neutral.

Step 3 – Unloading the Forklift

Pushing the tilt control lever forward to restore the mast’s vertical position after arriving at the desired drop-off location is necessary. Otherwise, you’ll lift or set your load down unevenly.

Step 4- Parking the Forklift

Park in a spot with level ground that isn’t in the way of any exits. To stop completely and change into neutral, depress the brake pedal with your left foot. In order to engage the parking brake, pull the lever. Fork height can be changed using the levers on the right side of the steering wheel. In order to prevent tripping hazards, make sure the tines are on the ground. Turn the key in your direction to shut off the engine after the fork has been fully lowered and the parking brake has been applied.

Removing Forklifts from Service

If there is a problem, including any of the following:

Mechanical breakdown

When taking forklifts out of service, adhere to these guidelines. The following should be stopped, parked, and assistance sought by forklift operators if they see any of them:

The forklift is not in safe operating condition (for any reason)
Any defects are found
The forklift emits hazardous sparks or flames from the exhaust system
The temperature of any part of the forklift is greater than the normal operating temperature
A leak in the fuel system is discovered
removing forklift from service image

Forklift Maintenance

Performing preventive maintenance on a forklift on a regular basis is one of the best ways to avoid a dangerous operating conditions on the forklift.

Make certain that the forklift receives routine maintenance, and avoid operating a forklift that needs repair.

Always notify a supervisor of any repair issues so that unscheduled maintenance can be performed in addition to routine preventive maintenance.


This article on how to operate and drive a forklift was written with the intention of being helpful to you. If you have any further inquiries, kindly let us know.