Driving a forklift is a huge responsibility. Being behind the wheel of a powered industrial truck isn’t a job for everyone, so it’s important to make sure you’re up to the task.

For safety purposes, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration requires employers to create and implement a training program. It must be based on the standard principles of safe truck operation, the type of forklift(s) used by the company, workplace hazards associated with forklift use and general OSHA safety requirements.

Powered industrial trucks were the seventh most frequently cited federal OSHA standard violated in fiscal year 2018. Make sure you’re up to the job of forklift operator by ensuring you have the following abilities.

Good Judgment

Being an effective forklift operator requires common sense. Since you’re behind the wheel of heavy machinery, you need to think before you act. You must be aware of both your surroundings and the capabilities of the forklift, so you can effectively gauge the size of spaces it can fit into, the amount of weight it can hold and other key issues. Misjudging these parameters can cause accidents that result in injury.

Safety Conscious

When the proper precautions aren’t taken, operating a forklift can be a major safety hazard. Not only do you need to know how to handle the machine, you have to understand the importance of always putting safety first. This means you should never take any risks and always practice good safety habits. For example, inspect the machine at the start of every shift and always use all required safety devices.

Technical Skills

If you want to succeed as a forklift operator, you must know the machine. This will allow you to perform basic maintenance and understand its limits. Having strong background knowledge can help you do your job in a more safe and efficient manner.

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