If you are looking to begin a career as an operator of a forklift truck then you will need to enrol on, and pass, a training course. In the UK it is a legal requirement that forklift drivers are in possession of at least a basic operating qualification. If you do not have this, you will not be able to take up employment in the forklift truck sector, and this applies to all types of forklifts whether they are new or from a company who supplies used plant machinery.
What is a forklift?
Developed in the early 20thcentury,a forklift truck is a small type of industrial vehicle. It has a power-operated platform with “forks” that is attached to the front of the vehicle. This forked platform can be raised and lowered, and it can be manoeuvred under a load in order to lift it, transport it and then place it safely and efficiently where it needs to be. Forklifts are important machines that are often found in warehouses or on construction sites where they make short work of moving heavy loads.
The forklift truck is powered by either a combustion engine or an electric battery. Some forklift trucks have a place where the operator is able to sit, while others are operated from a standing position.
A forklift truck, while smaller in size than many other pieces of equipment that you might find on a construction site,is still a very heavy piece of plant equipment. There are some safety requirements which areimperative to follow for the safety of the operator and also anyone else on the construction site. The first and most important thing is that the person operating the forklift truck must have the relevant qualification.
The person operating the forklift truck must be over statutory school age, and if the vehicle is to be driven on a public highway, then the legal minimum age applies. Training must be undertaken, and the trainer must be an accredited trainer. This should be done in a safe area and not in the workplace. Any forklift truck operator who is qualified should also consider refresher courses periodically to sharpen up their skills, and any training records should be kept up to date.
Other safety issues that it is vital to consider are that anyone operating a forklift truck should wear the appropriate protective clothing such as safety footwear, hard hats, fluorescent jackets etc. They should also ensure they use the seatbelt when operating the forklift.
Finally, at the end of a shift, it is crucial that the operative who has been using the forklift removes the keys from the ignition and that they are placed in a secure and safe location to ensure they are not used by someone who if not authorised to drive the forklift.
One final consideration to the safe moving of a forklift truck is that they do not operate well on bumpier ground. This can, of course, be an issue on a construction site, but it is essential to ensure that the land is as flat as possible and also that any gaps that need to be navigated are wide enough to give the forklift truck sufficient clearance. Signs should be erected to advise other people that the area they are entering is one where a forklift truck is in operation.