As with any other exam, preparing for your forklift evaluation can seem extremely daunting. Having your level of knowledge and expertise with a subject being tested in a short time period can feel overwhelming for many, but there are reasons to feel hopeful. Again, as with any other exam, undergoing a successful forklift evaluation comes down to one principle – practice.
The mistakes you need to avoid
When employers are testing your skills operating a forklift, they are really checking for one vital ingredient – can this person handle a forklift safely and securely? With that in mind, preparation for your forklift evaluation should be focussed on ensuring that you are as informed as possible about the correct way to operate a forklift. Here is a list of the seven most common mistakes that you need to avoid during your forklift examination.
1) Poor forklift operator behaviour
Aside from just testing technical expertise, one key area that is being tested during a forklift examination is the examinee’s behaviour whilst operating a forklift. Employers want to know that you will be conscientious and responsible whilst operating a forklift, and thus it is essential to ensure that you take your job as a forklift operator seriously. Messing about or showing a lack of concern for safety regulations will not do. Employers do not want an employee with bad behaviour to enter their organisation, as it could be dangerous to the other people working in the area.
2) Insufficient forklift pre-use inspection
Before operating a forklift, there are a number of pre-use inspection checks required to ensure the machine is operating properly. If these checks are not carried out, there could be potential danger for the operator or any other employee in the vicinity of the forklift. For example, it is essential to complete steps such as ensuring that you troubleshoot the lift truck, and check to see if there is any damage from previous usage.
3) Incorrect loading of the materials to be transported
As a forklift operator, you will spend your time transporting loads from one place to another. Thus one key area of safety concern is the stability and security of the load being transported. The examinee must ensure that the object being transported on a pallet has its weight distributed and balanced evenly before attempting to lift it up. When lifting the object, the fork tip must be 1 foot away from the pallet carrying the object. Always ensure that there is no other person in the vicinity when you are loading up the forklift. The load being carried must be lifted slowly and carefully to avoid unnecessary injury or damage to the load.
4) Malpractice whilst in transit
Another common mistake made is examinee behaviour whilst in transit. It is essential to remember that the forks should never be raised or lowered when the forklift is in transit. Moreover, the speed of the forklift must be kept at a low and controllable rate, and you must always be aware of other employees moving around in the vicinity. When in transit, all body parts must be kept within the confines of the forklift. As a forklift operator is likely to be working within the vicinity of other forklifts, you must be aware of any other machines around you. Moreover, always ensure that you stop before any corners to ensure you do not run into another machine.
5) Incorrect unloading of the materials being transported
Once you have arrived at the location for unloading, it is important to ensure that you have enough space available to place your load down safely. Furthermore, you need to have sufficient reversing distance away from the load, so that your forklift does not come into contact with the object or material. It is always essential to check that no other employee is in the vicinity of the unloading, and you need to make sure you have a clear and unobstructed view of what you are doing. Once you have placed the load down, lower your forks to a few inches above the ground before you head to your next destination.
6) Poor forklift parking procedures
When it is time to park the forklift, lower the forks until they touch the ground. You need to ensure that you turn off the control of the forklift, and engage the brakes – checking that they are fully engaged. Once that is completed, you need to turn the keys to the off position. If you have to park your forklift on an inclined surface, ensure that you block the wheels to prevent unwanted movement.
7) Malpractice whilst fuelling and charging the forklift
When refuelling and recharging, make sure that the engine is always off. There are many potential dangers if the engine remains on during this process, especially the potential for fuel ignition. You should always have a fire extinguisher ready at hand in case something goes wrong during the refuelling and recharging process. Moreover, you should ensure that you are wearing fireproof coverings to prevent any further hazard. If there is any spillage during refuelling, the ground must be cleaned up immediately.
As with every common mistake made during forklift examinations, always remember – safety first!