How to Use a Forklift: The Basics Explained

Do you own or manage a small business? If so, then you understand the importance of having the right tools for every job.

This is especially true when you work in an industry that requires moving freight from one location to another. That’s what makes a forklift a vital tool for nearly every business of any size.

Operating a forklift isn’t complicated, yet you will still need to understand the basics in order to maintain a safe and efficient workplace. Fortunately, you’ve come to the right place for help.

This article takes a look at how to use a forklift and why using a forklift saves time and money. Keep reading to get the inside scoop.

Learn the Controls

Before your get started, you’ll need to understand the controls on a forklift. Fortunately, the average forklift is fairly simple to operate.

These include the fuel, engine oil, and radiator water levels, control levers, adjustable forks, lift and tilt mechanisms, brakes, warning lights, and chain anchor pins.

It’s important to take time to familiarize yourself with how to operate a forklift sitting in place before attempting to move freight for the first time.


It’s important to understand that while forklifts feature a normal steering wheel, the process of steering a forklift is nothing like steering a car. That’s because lifts are much more top-heavy, making it very difficult to stop quickly.

Because of this, you should never drive fast or round corners too quickly. You should also never attempt to turn sharply while traveling at any speed.

Lifting a Load

Now let’s talk about the proper way to lift a load.

The first thing to remember is to never raise a load while a truck is moving, and always make sure the truck’s brake is engaged. Raise the load straight up with your forks, then tilt it back slightly. You should also check to make sure you have adequate overhead clearance. And never lift a load that exceeds your fork truck’s weight limit.

Be sure to check out push-back racks at

Driving a Forklift Inside a Warehouse

Driving a forklift through a warehouse space creates the potential for plenty of dangerous situations.

One of the most important aspects of driving a forklift, especially in a busy space around other equipment, is to always keep your arms, legs, and head within the frame of the fork truck.

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It’s also important to maintain a slow speed and to watch for obstructions. And never operate a fork truck if your vision is obscured. Thus if you have any blind spots, take the time to make sure that the driving path is clear before proceeding. This is true regardless of whether or not you’re moving a load.

A Businessowner’s Guide to How to Use a Forklift

Running a small business can be stressful. Fortunately, this guide on how to use a forklift will help you train your team so that your warehouse will function more effectively.

Keep exploring the articles on this blog for more great small business and lifestyle advice.