Tips for NEW Forklift Operators

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Tips for NEW Forklift Operators

You’ve got everything you need to start your new job off on the right foot. You’re enthusiastic, ready to learn and listen, open to criticism and correction, and interested in making a good impression. Ideally, you’re also stepping into a workplace that cares about your safety and can provide managers who can train you and send you down a path to success.

But if you’ve never worked in materials handling, and you’ve never operated a forklift before in your life, there are a few bits of advice that may come in handy during your first day, week and month on the job.

If you don’t know, please ask.

It may seem like a good idea to just fiddle with the controls until you figure it out or fumble your way toward success as you attempt to maneuver through narrow aisles or lift a pallet that may or may not exceed your truck’s weight range. But if you just ask, your managers will not think less of you. They’ll thank you for saving them from the cost of a lost pallet of product, or much worse, an injured co-worker.

Prevention is easier and smarter than picking up the pieces after the fact.

Even on the first day, your safety and success on the job depend on your lift truck. But the lift truck can’t speak, and it can’t tell you if it’s harboring a loose wire, a corroded battery or a malfunctioning stability system. So, starting with your first shift, be sure to give your truck a once-over before you get in, even if your manager doesn’t make this a requirement.

Training can make you better at your work.

Your lift truck may seem simple to operate, and the idea of a formal training course may seem unnecessary. But the more you know, the more you can lift, move and accomplish during your shift with speed, safety and efficiency. Ask for training, even if a formal session isn’t provided. Even better, ask how you might put yourself on a path to certification, which can help you secure and keep jobs in the future.

Protect your sight and hearing.

Over the long term, you’ll want to protect your ears and eyes simply because you’ll need them later in life. But over the short term, making sure you have a clear sight line, a clean windshield and functioning mirrors before you start your truck can help you operate at the highest level throughout your shift.

Pedestrians deserve respect, even when they aren’t around.

Always keep pedestrians at the top of your thoughts as you maneuver your truck. Even if you’re 90 percent sure you’re the only one in the warehouse, look behind you before you back up.

For more on how to keep your truck clean and well maintained and your habits safe and productive, contact the lift truck experts at Liftow.

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