attempting to operate the forklift on your own. Basic
education in safe operation and load-handling
techniques is absolutely necessary to prepare you for
proper operation and enables you to anticipate the
NOTE: A forklift is only as safe as its operator.
Only authorized, properly trained licensed personnel
are permitted to operate it.
Pallets and Boxes
Most of the loads that you will handle are on pallets
or in boxes. A standard pallet is 40 inches by 48 inches,
as shown in figure 8-20. Mount-out boxes are in all
different sizes; however, they have stringers like pallets.
LIFTING. The technique for lifting a pallet is as
1. Position the forklift squarely in front of the load
and raise the forks to the proper level, halfway between
the top and bottom boards of the pallet.
2. Slowly insert the forks into the pallet until the
load rests against the fork faces. If the mast is not in a
vertical position, the forks may hang up in the pallet
when they are inserted.
NOTE: If the pallet or load is against a wall or
obstruction and the forks are longer than the pallet, you
will have to pick up the pallet and back up the forklift
until there is enough room to reposition the forks
entirely under the pallet.
3. Lift the load just enough to clear the floor (or
stack beneath the load being removed). Then tilt the
mast or forks back enough to cradle the load. The load
should always be carried as low as possible for
maximum stability and vision.
Figure 8-20.40 by 48-inch pallet.
Overloading a forklift is strictly pro-
hibited. The forklift can safely lift and carry
no more than its rated capacity. Among the
dangers of overloading are injury to the
operator, damage to the cargo, and damage to
the pump and lift mechanism. Additionally,
overloading causes wear on the tires, engine,
or electric motor.
Also, a forklift will tip
forward if the load on the forks exceeds the
lift capacity of the forklift. The manufacturer
has established the forklift rating (expressed
in pounds of load on the fork) and the
allowable distance in inches from the heel of
the forks to the center of gravity of the load.
This distance is known as the load center.
CARRYING. Carrying material with a forklift to
move it from one location to another requires skill and
concentration. The techniques for carrying loads with a
forklift are as follows:
1. Tilt the mast as far back as the load will permit
when carrying a load, and raise the load only high
enough to clear obstructions. Always change speed
gradually, as sudden starts and stops will cause the load
to shift. Gradual starts and stops also prevent rapid wear
of equipment components.
2. Always know the ground clearance of your
forklift truck and the surface you are traveling on.
NOTE: If the load is so bulky that your vision is
obstructed, drive in reverse. Extra care must be taken
when driving in reverse, because the operator does not
have a constant view of the load; therefore, a backing
guide is usually needed.
3. You should ascend and descend a grade with the
load pointing upgrade when operating a loaded forklift
on an incline (fig. 8-21). Normally, direction of travel
should be determined by what direction the operator can
see best. This is why forklifts are built with reverse as
well as forward travel. But, on grades of 10 percent or
more, both forklift and load stability demand that the
load be kept upgrade.
4. Handle each load within the rated capacity of the
forklift. The rated capacity is the weight the forklift
can handle safely. The forklift data plate rating indicates
the maximum safe load that can be lifted. This
maximum rating should never be exceeded; however,
there are conditions requiring a load less than the rated
capacity. The data plate rating does apply for weak