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Have you ever watched a teenage driver just jump into a car and drive off without making any adjustments to the seats, mirrors, or steering wheel? They are in such as hurry to get where they are going that they could care less about comfort or safety.
An experienced forklift operator driving a lift truck needs to be a lot more conscientious than an impetuous teenager. To maximize forklift safety, every time you get behind the wheel it’s necessary to make all the necessary adjustments before you begin driving the vehicle.
It could make the difference between life and death.
Adopting the Proper Position
For one thing, forklifts are typically driven by more than one driver. And everybody who gets behind the wheel of the same vehicle is going to be just a little bit different. Some drivers are tall while others are short. Some are bigger while others are slimmer.
So the first thing you need to do after getting into the cab is to adopt the proper position for you. Use all the available adjustments to maximize comfort and safety, including the seat, the steering column, the armrests, and anything else you can adjust.
Sti down in the seat and settle into a comfortable height for operating the vehicle. Lean slightly forward and shift your hips to the back of the seat so your spine is properly aligned. Then adjust the seat by sliding it forward or backward so that your feet are resting comfortably on the cabin floor and the pedals are within easy reach.
Steering Wheel Forklift Safety
Many modern forklifts have adjustable steering columns. Adjust your steering wheel so that the steering assistor can easily be reached by either hand at the furthest point away from your body, with the goal of never needing to lean forward while driving.
The backrest should be adjusted to a slightly tilted backward position to prevent you from having to bend your neck or head while in motion.
Adjust the mirrors so that you can see all areas around the vehicle clearly while in the primary driving position. This may include exterior mirrors as well as those within the cab itself. If so, you may need to climb out of the cab to make these adjustments.
Finally, after everything else has been adjusted, the seat belt should be clicked into place. Wearing a seatbelt while operating a forklift has been the law since 2002.
Making sure you are completely comfortable while driving will prevent you from having to make adjustments on the fly, which could cause a dangerous and even potentially deadly distraction.