Lifting Principles

Rated load capacity, leverage and center of gravity are three principles you need to understand.

  1. The center, or fulcrum, of any forklift is at the front wheels.
  2. Where the load sits is just as important as how much it weighs.
  3. The closer the load is to the front wheels, the more weight you can lift, the more stable the load is maneuvering.

Start-up Walk-Around Inspection

Just a few minutes at the start of each shift or whenever a new operator takes over can save lives.

  1. First check the forklift power plant. Most construction forklifts are powered by gasoline or diesel. Check the fuel tank for cracks, broken welds, rust or any other damage. Make sure valves and nozzles are secure and that there are no leaks.
  2. Know where the nearest fire extinguisher is and how to use it.


  1. Intended function and purpose of each control
  2. Manufacturer’s operating instructions and user safety rules
  3. Purpose and location of decals, warnings and instructions displayed on the forklift.

Moving a Load

  1. Make sure the load does not exceed rated load capacity.
  2. Buckle your seat belt and keep arms and legs inside the cage.
  3. Square up on the load center and approach straight on..
  4. Make sure no one is standing close to the load. Get an observer’s help if needed.
  5. Move forward slowly, leveling the forks until the load rests against the mast.
  6. Raise the load just high enough to clear anything underneath, then tilt the forks back.
  7. Keep the boom and mast as low as possible to clear the ground during travel.

Extended – Reach Forklift

  1. Read the chart in the machine to verify maximum load capacity, height and distance.
  2. Keep forks as close to the fulcrum as possible when lifting straight up or down.
  3. Before setting down a load, square up and stop to see if you need to lift it higher.
  4. Drive half way into the loading area.
  5. When the load is seated, lower the forks slightly to keep from hooking the load.
  6. After unloading, retract the boom before returning it to the ground.

Hazardous Areas

  1. Keep your load on the high side of slopes and ramps.
  2. Raise forks slightly when going down a ramp to avoid scraping them.
  3. Be aware that a heavy load could cause your steering wheels to raise off the ground at the top of a ramp.
  4. Drive in reverse down a ramp or a hill to keep your load on the high side of the slope.
  5. Drive your empty forklift backward up a slope and forward down it.
  6. Stay away from the edge of ramps and docks because of your forklift’s natural instability.
  7. Prevent movement by chocking flatbed trailer wheels, setting brakes and using steel jacks.

Snorkel, Articulating Boom & Bucket Operations

  1. Specific safety requirements are to be followed. Refer to the Operator’s Manual, which should be provided with the equipment.
  2. Proper use of all controls and verification that they are all properly working.
  3. Visual inspection of entire machine. Look for any hydraulic leaks, pinched .lines and wires, frayed or broken wires and any broken or damaged parts, etc.
  4. Verify operation of ground level controls. e. Never climb on the edge of basket.
  5. No planks, ladders or other devices for work positioning are to be used from or attached to the basket.
  6. A harness shall be worn and a lanyard attached to the manufacturer’s provided attachment point (usually on end of boom).
  7. Do not exceed load limits.

Scissor Lift

  1. Specific safety equipment requirements are to be followed. Refer to the Operator’s Manual which should be provided with the equipment.
  2. Proper use of ALL controls and verification that they are properly working. c. Visual inspection of entire machine. Look for hydraulic leaks, pinched lines and wires, frayed or broken wires and any broken or damaged parts, etc.
  3. Verify operation of ground level controls.
  4. Safety chains, guard rails and toe boards are to be in place, in proper working condition and secured to the main platform/frame.

Note: This lift should not be operated where open pits or holes exist. Caution should be exercised while moving, lifting and lowering around the many obstacles and encountered during the performance of your work.  Safety harnesses are NOT required by O.S.H.A. to be used in scissor type lifts.


  1. Any equipment used or left overnight shall have appropriate lights and/or reflectors or barricades with appropriate lights and/or reflectors to identify location of equipment.
  2. When equipment is parked, the brake shall be set and wheels chocked if on an incline
  3. All vehicles shall be checked at the beginning of each shift. If equipment is called into service at an unusual time (emergency situation) a pre-trip will be done
  4. Fenders are required if vehicle can exceed 15 mph.
  5. Must have back-up alarm or designated back-up person
  6. Seat belts must be worn.
  7. Unattended equipment must be in shut down mode if the operator is 25 feet away.
  8. R.O.P. (roll over protection) information required and designed by the manufacturer must be posted in the cage.
  9. If overhead protection is required and designed by the manufacturer, no changes or modifications may be made without the manufacturer’s approval.

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