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Forklift Trucks - Maintaining Truck Control

How do you maintain control when handling pallets?

Ensure that forks are:

  • Level.
  • High enough to go into the pallet.
  • Proper width to provide even distribution of the weight.
  • All the way under the load, reaching up to at least two-thirds of the load length.

How do you maintain control when lifting, tilting, and stacking a load?

  • Lift the load straight until it is clear, then tilt back.
  • Watch that the load does not catch on adjacent loads or obstructions.
  • Do not raise or lower the forks before you stop the lift truck and set the brakes.
  • Ensure that the forks are free of the load before backing up.

How do you maintain control when traveling?

  • Tilt loads backwards.
  • Travel with forks as low as possible from the floor and tilted back (maximum 10cm/4" above the floor).
  • Match speed to driving, load and workplace conditions.
  • Obey posted traffic signs.
  • Decrease speed at all corners, sound horn and watch the swing of both the rear of the lift truck and the load.
  • Watch for pedestrians.
  • Avoid sudden stops.
Tilt load backwards
  • Travel in reverse when a load blocks your vision and always look in the direction of travel.
  • Check for adequate overhead clearance when entering an area or when raising the forks.
  • Watch out for the following dangers on the floor or roadway: oil spots, wet spots, loose objects, or holes, rough surfaces, people, and other vehicles.
  • Approach at an angle when crossing railroad tracks.
  • Maintain a safe working limit from all overhead power lines.
  • Do not turn on ramps.
  • Do not elevate the load when the forklift truck is on an incline.

How should you steer to maintain control?

  • Have the load carried by the front wheels.
  • Turn with the rear wheels.
  • Do not turn a lift truck steering wheel sharply at fast speeds.
  • Do not overload a lift truck. It can cause a loss of steering control.
  • Do not add extra weight to a counterweight to improve steering.

How do you maintain control when driving in reverse?

  • Face the rear.
  • Sound horn before moving.
  • Go slowly.
  • Stop when vision is limited or blocked. Sound the horn and go slowly.

How do you maintain control when traveling up or downhill?

  • Keep the forks pointed downhill without a load.
  • Keep the forks pointed uphill with a load.
  • Do not turn until on level ground.

How should you park the forklift truck?

  • Secure lift truck when left unattended.
  • Park in an approved location.
  • Set the brakes.
  • Lower the forks or load to the floor.
  • Neutralize the controls.
  • Turn off the motor switch.
  • Disconnect battery or go through propane shut-down procedures.

Document last updated on June 7, 2013

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Although every effort is made to ensure the accuracy, currency and completeness of the information, CCOHS does not guarantee, warrant, represent or undertake that the information provided is correct, accurate or current. CCOHS is not liable for any loss, claim, or demand arising directly or indirectly from any use or reliance upon the information.