Section 2 | Driving, Lifting, and Placing

Whenever you climb onto the forklift, use the three-point technique. Make three points of contact with the forklift. Grab a secure part of the lift with each hand, and put one foot securely on the forklift.

These basic precautions will increase your safety and the safety of those around you.

  • On smooth indoor surfaces, keep your forks as low as possible Ė only three of four inches off the floor.
  • Donít give anyone a ride on the forklift, and donít do any stunt driving or horseplay.
  • Keep all your limbs inside the forklift. When driving in reverse, donít wrap your hand around any outside guards Ė if the lift runs into something, your hand will be crushed.
  • Always fasten your seat belt. If the truck has a safety belt, youíre required to wear it.
  • Never exceed the speed limit in your work area.
  • Avoid loose objects, bumps, or depressions in the floor. Collisions could cause you to lose control of the steering, bring the forklift to a sudden stop, or tip the forklift.
  • Avoid wet, oily, or icy surfaces. Clean up fluids as soon as possible.
  • If your work area has convex mirrors at corners and blind spots, use them.
  • Sound your horn at corners and blind spots and then proceed slowly.
  • Never approach a person head-on, especially a person standing in front of a fixed object like a wall or rack. If you canít stop the forklift, or it lurches forward, the worker will be crushed. Instead, approach parallel to the person.
  • Donít let anyone walk or stand under the elevated forks.
  • Stay at least three forklift lengths away from forklifts ahead of you.
  • Donít pass a forklift traveling in the same direction if youíre at a blind spot, an intersection, or any other dangerous spots. Avoid passing at all if you can.

Never jump off of a forklift. If the forklift is tipping over, do not attempt to jump off, because you could be pinned under the lift.

If the forklift is tipping over, protect yourself by staying put:

  • Stay in your seat and do not attempt to jump off.
  • Lean away from the falling direction of the lift.
  • Hold onto the steering wheel and make sure youíre stable.

Your never want to lean toward your fall. You should hold onto the steering wheel, make sure youíre stable and lean away from your falling direction.

Before you pick up a load, make sure the load does not exceed the capacity of the forklift. The identification plate tells you three things:

  • The maximum load thatís safe to life.
  • The maximum height for lifting.
  • How far the load center is in front of the forks.

Make sure you know exactly what you will be lifting:

  • Thereís a big difference between a light load and a heavy, off-center load.
  • If the load is unstable, restack it or attach the load securely to the pallet with banding or stretch wrapping.
  • If youíll be handing a load with an unusual shape, know where and how youíll safely stack the load before you lift it.

Always take these precautions when lifting a load:

  • If youíre going to raise the load, check for overhead obstructions. Look for lights, pipes, or sprinkler systems.
  • Center the forks under the load so the weight is evenly distributed.
  • Drop the forks to the floor and slowly position them under the load.
  • Drive forward until the load is resting against the backrest.
  • Tilt the load against the backrest. If the load is unstable, lift the load slightly first, then carefully tilt it back so that the load stays tight against the backrest. If itís a stable load and secure on the pallet, tilt first, then lift.
  • Once the load is lifted, lower it to a safe traveling height. Keep the forks two to four inches off the floor if driving on a smooth surface.

 Follow these precautions when traveling with a load:

  • Keep your forks at the lowest safe height. Raise them slightly if you come to bumps or seams in the floor. On a smooth, indoor floor, keep the forks about two to four inches off the floor.
  • Donít raise or lower the forks while driving. This causes the center of gravity to shift unpredictably.
  • Pedestrians always have the right of way. Look out for them. Always look in the direction of travel. Travel in reverse if you load blocks your vision.
  • If a load is so tall that you canít see over it, try to split the load and carry it on two separate pallets, on two separate trips.
  • If you canít split a tall load, either drive in reverse or use a spotter. Make sure you understand the hand signals the spotter will use.
  • On ramps and inclines, keep the load on the uphill side of the forklift. Try to travel straight up and down grades, ramps, and inclines. The forklift could tip if you turn on a slope.

Before placing a load, check the destination. Is it flat and stable? Will the load tilt or lean? Follow these guidelines when placing a load:

  • Never place heavy loads on top of light loads.
  • If you're placing loads onto a rack or storage loft, be sure the structure can support the load.
  • If any rack legs or support members are bent or disconnected, wait until the rack is repaired to place the load.
  • Make sure the rack decking is in good condition.
  • If you're stacking, the bottom pallets must be in good condition and able to support the load.
  • Stop the forklift in front of where you want to place the load.
  • Slowly raise the load to the required height.
  • Move forward slowly with the raised load.
  • Position the load for placement, and tilt it forward so that itís level.
  • Place the load squarely and straight.
  • Once the load settles, check behind you for pedestrians and other traffic. Then back up slowly.
  • Make sure the forks clear the pallet before turning or lowering the forks.
  • Lower forks before moving again.



Introduction | Welcome to Forklift Safety Training

Section 1 | Forklift Basics and Inspection

Section 2 | Driving, Lifting, and Placing

Section 3 | Trucks, Trailer, and Rail cars

Section 4 | Parking & Refueling

Section 5 | Special Units and Maintenance

Section 6 | Conclusion