Forklifts are basically used for transportation of cargo in warehouses or other places. In UK you need to have proper training in driving a forklift according to the Provision of Use of Work Equipment Regulation. However, PUWER does not specify the exact nature of the training and as a result of this many third party organizations developed something called a “forklift license” which shows that you have received adequate forklift training.
What is forklift training? Basically forklift training is when you know the proper operations of the truck and its critical aspects such as its instability and turning at a constant speed. Since you are carrying a heavy load, you need to be aware of center of gravity and the maximum load the forklift truck can transport. The first thing that any trainer will tell you is that you need to be aware of the maximum amount of load that will be mentioned on the nameplate provided by the manufacturer of the forklift. Along with the maximum weight, the forward center of gravity will also be given on the name plate and that is also quite crucial for any person who is learning how to drive. Mostly, it is illegal to remove the nameplate as all trainers need to know the information provided by it.
Another thing about the forklift that everyone must keep in mind is its instability. Forklifts have a tendency to tumble if the load is above the maximum limit or the gravitational force and the centrifugal force combine. To avoid an accident due to the two forces combining, remember to never turn when the load is raised; the raised force is the main reason of the two forces combining to cause an accident. When the load is raised, the earth is exerting its gravitational force on the load and when you take a turn with the raised load, the centrifugal force will then combine with the gravitational one. Hence, lower your load whenever you have to take a turn.
Forklifts are usually meant for one person only, therefore, avoid giving anyone a lift on it. If you do decide to have someone on board with you check for sure that the forklift is made for two people. Lives are precious and you do not want to harm yourself or the person going with you. Try using force to make the person back off if he insists on taking a lift with you.
During your training, you will be reminded again and again of how important it is for you to keep your eyes and ears open. In a warehouse where there is a lot of hustle and bustle, you need to be wary of the people around you. When you are backing the forklift, remember to use your horn so that people know and get out of your way. Also, use the horn whenever you are unsure or have blocked vision. Places such as intersections and entrances of different rooms are ideal places for accidents, so remember to use your horn there.
The last thing you need to remember is that you are the single most important thing on the forklift. You are trained and you are the basic safety device on the forklift. You would know how to prevent an accident, and as a result you need to be confident in your abilities.