Most industries require material handling equipment to move products from A to B. Most often, this is done with a forklift. As with all material handling equipment, this brief guide is not a replacement for specialized training and certification in their safe operation. Here are some brief guidelines for how to drive a sit down forklift.
Even if you have previously completed training on this class of products, take the time to get familiar with its unique features and design. Equipment features can vary greatly from manufacturer to manufacturer and assuming all features are the same can be very dangerous. If you have questions bring them to your supervisor and be sure to read the operator manual.
Remember – driving a forklift is nothing like driving your car. Rear-wheel steering means you need to slow down when turning and leave ample room for rear-end swing. Keep loads pointed up a hill whenever you are negotiating a grade to avoid spills or tipovers. You should also avoid lifting or lowering the forks while driving and you should never do so while handling loads – between the obscured visibility and decreased stability, it is best to do so only at a standstill.
Remember: operator training and certification are both class and application specific. If you are using familiar products in a new location or work application you must complete training for those specific uses. Every unique workplace can have its own rules and policies for safe operation. Be sure you know these before you using familiar equipment in those locations.