International Ship And Port Facility Security Code The Ultimate FAQ Guide 6

Forklift: The Ultimate FAQ Guide

If you have any question about forklift, you will find it right here.

This guide covers everything you need to know about forklift such as uses, classification, and safety, among other vital aspect.

So keep reading to learn more.

What Is A Forklift?



A forklift is a type of automotive vehicle that helps to hoist up objects or materials that are heavy for normal humans to carry over short distances.

They are operated by trained personnel who can control the car either while seated or standing.

These vehicles are mounted with finger-like forks that help lift heavy materials.

They are mostly used in warehouses and large storage facilities that offer storage services for huge and heavy cargo.

What Is Forklift Used For In Shipping?

Forklifts have a wide range of usage in different industrial scenarios. However, when it comes to shipping, fork lifts are majorly found in warehouses and dockyards.

Warehouses offer storage services to cargos. As a result, warehouses are bound to receive shipments of different sizes and weights.

This exposes warehouses to receiving heavy cargo unfit for human handling. These forklifts come in handy to help in handling of these types of cargo and facilitating movement of the cargo from one point to another within the warehouse.

Dockyards task forklifts with the function of facilitating movement of heavy duty during loading and unloading exercises.

Thus during loading, forklifts move the cargo to the means of transport and during unloading, forklifts help to move cargo to their dorkstorage destinations.

These cargos are usually bulky and more so heavy. Examples of such cargos include wood and steel shipments.

What Are The Different Forklift Types On The Market Today?

Forklifts come in different types all designed to suit various needs in the market today. These types include:

Warehouse Forklift

From the name, this type of forklift is mostly found in warehouses.

If you have a visual picture of how golf carts look like, then these forklifts should not be hard to recognize them.

They bare a resemblance to the golf carts, however, they come with two forklifts at the front to help in loading and unloading of inventory in warehouses.

Side Loaders

They are a branch of the warehouse forklifts. They are found in manufacturing industries where heavy loads are common.

Additionally, they are easy to operate as the controller stands at the designated side and the side loader helps move or pick the intended cargo.

They are narrow in size hence they can easily maneuver through narrow pathways.

Counterbalance Forklifts

They are another sub group of the warehouse fork lifts. These trucks are mounted with forks at the front.

They easily attend to loads as they are directly positioned to the load that requires the attention of the forklift.

Additionally, they come in 3 wheels, which allows the operator to move in circles if need be.

They also incorporate a stand up design. The stand-up allows the operator to make necessary stops within the warehouse.

Tele Handler Forklift

This type of forklift comes fitted with long extending arms that enable the forklift to operate as a crane. It helps in positioning pallets to higher grounds in warehouses.

Industrial Fork Lift

These type of fork lifts is designed to carry heavy loads in manufacturing industries. It combines the features of the warehouse forklifts and the tele handler.

However, it is narrower in size compared to the warehouse and tele handler fork lifts. Hence easily maneuvers through narrow pathways.

Pallet Jacks

They are small in size intended to help move smaller loads within the warehouse. These type of fork lifts are a perfect fit to use in moving pallets in small and tight storage areas within a warehouse.

Walkie Stackers

They are similar to the pallet jacks. However, they come in a larger size that allows them to move heavier pallets to much higher levels off the ground compared to pallet jacks.

They operate in similar way to pallet jacks. An operator stands behind the stacker and with use of available hands moves the stacker to the desired designation.

Order Picker

This lift resembles the walker stackers. They are able to lift operators to much higher heights to pick the required pallet for customers.

They are also suited to handle pallets of various sizes and types.

Reach Forklift

This type of forklift is designed to reach into compartments and storage racks in ways that normal lifts are un able to do so. It also bears an open compartment that allows the operator to see what the machine is doing.

How Are Forklifts Classified?

Types of fork lifts

Types of forklifts

Forklifts are classified into various categories as described below;

Electric Motor Rider Trucks:

These forklifts form the first classification of forklifts. They come suited with either cushion tyres or pneumatic tires.

The difference between the two tyres is that as for cushion tyres, they cannot engage on rough road, thus they only operate indoors or on smooth surfaces.

As for the pneumatic tires, they can handle a rough road.

Electric Motor Narrow Aisle Trucks:

From the name, these classification is for forklifts that are narrow hence minimize used space. They are able to move through narrow shelve spaces hence present efficiency and speed in service delivery.

Electric Motor Hand Or Hand-rider Trucks:

These type of forklifts are controlled by hand as outlined in the name.

There is a steering tiller which the operator makes use of alongside other controls on the tiller which helps in the locomotion of the truck.

Rough Terrain Forklifts:

These trucks are well adapted to help carry out their tasks in rough and difficult surfaces. They are mostly used in construction sites.

What Are The Elements Of A Forklift?

There are three commonly known elements of forklifts as described below:

Stability: The trucks are suited with stability triangle located under the trucks. This serves the purpose of ensuring the truck does not trip over while carrying out its functions.

Lift capacity: This is a key element of the forklifts. It describes the maximum weight the forklift can handle in relation to the stability of the forklift.

Load center: This element describes the distance between the fork and the trucks` center of gravity. This is dependent on the weight of the load, the tilt and lift angle of the forklift.

However, this should not be a concern to the operator who observes the designated weight for the forklift.

What Types Of Cargo Can Be Moved With A Forklift?

Forklifts are able to handle pallets and materials such as steel and construction materials from the containers to the desired storage site.

Fork lift

Fork lift

What Types Of Pallets Are There For Shipping?

There are two types of pallets available in shipping. These are the stringer pallets and the block pallets.

Types of pallets

Stringer pallets: They have three long pieces of wood that offer support to the cargo. Two of the pieces of wood are arranged on the sides and one at the middle of the pallet.

They offer forklifts two ways of picking up the pallets, hence also known as two-way pallets.

Block pallets: These pallets are supported by pieces of wood at the sides and middle and all edges of the pallet. Unlike stringer pallets, they are four-way pallets.

Forklifts easily move such pallets because no matter which way the forklift desires to move the cargo, the 4-way offers an orientation that supports it.

What Are The Advantages Of Forklifts In Warehouse Operations?

They help in the unloading and unloading of heavy and bulky pallets within a shorter time. Hence they create efficiency in the warehouse hence increasing the productivity of the warehouse.

How Much Is Forklift Price?

Forklifts are pricy. The price range for a standard forklift is between $20,000 and $50,000.

However, the price for other forklifts might be higher than the above range. The price depends on the type of forklift you are purchasing and the technology incorporated.

Should I Lease, Rent Or Buy Forklift?


Lease vs buy forklift

Lease vs buy forklift

Leasing or renting a forklift entirely depends on the nature of business you are exposed to. If you are in business that constantly requires you to use a forklift, leasing or renting a forklift is the most cost co-efficient thing to do.

This is because different cargos will require different types of forklifts to use. Hence purchasing numerous forklifts is costly compared to renting.

However, if you infrequently use a forklift, buying might be the best option to avoid incurring unnecessary costs. The aim of your business is to maximize on profits and minimize on costs.

Therefore ensure to choose the best cost efficient way of acquiring a forklift to your business.

How Does A Forklift Rental Work?

A forklift rental allows the user to acquire a forklift at a designated period and later return it to the owner at a fee.

Renting forklifts is somehow similar to leasing.

However, in renting, the forklifts are a little expensive.

This is because, when renting for the forklift, the fee covers all maintenance costs as well as the idle time the forklift is exposed to at the dealerships.

It is advantageous to business owners especially during peak seasons to help move cargo hastily and save time.

It also provides the owner of the warehouse with an opportunity to explore different models to gauge how the productivity of the firm is improved.

What Is The Importance Of Mounting And Dismounting a Forklift?

Mounting and dismounting procedures in a forklift help promote safety to the user while using the forklift. The following safety precautions must be adhered to;

  • Always face the vehicle
  • Avoid jumping off while alighting form the forklift truck.
  • Practice the three-point stance which mandates you to have both hands and one foot or vice-versa in contact with the forklift.
  • Wear certified safety shoes which are oil resistant and non-slippery.
  • Wear suitable clothing. Avoid wearing loose clothing or dangling jewelry.
  • Check the area around the forklift to make sure the floor is free of fluid or other fragments that could cause a slip.

Mounting and dismounting safely from a forklift reduces the risk of injury to the operator.

What Are The Advantages Of Forklift Leasing?

Forklifting attracts the following advantages;

New Technology Advancements:

It allows the leasing party to enjoy benefits of being up to date with current technology.

The intervals of leasing a forklift create an opportunity for the leasing party to explore new models of the fork lifts.

New technologies add unto productivity and safety protocols in using the forklifts hence presenting new worthwhile benefits to the user.

Budget Of Maintenance:

Leasing of forklifts also caters for maintenance costs.

This allows the users to incorporate maintenance fee as a monthly charge of leasing the forklift.

Low Associated Costs:

Leasing a forklift saves business owners from the costly purchase of the fork lifts.

Forklifts are costly, but the business manager can forego these costs by leasing the forklifts for a period of even five years.

These helps minimize costs within the business entity.

They also improve productivity as they are not exposed to events of breakdowns due to the constant changes in the models while leasing. Hence work continues as normal.

When Should I Consider Buying  Forklift?

Buying is a costly event when in need to use a forklift. However, it becomes the most preferred option under the following scenarios:

  • If as a manager you wish to possess all capital equipment, buying is the best option.
  • Additionally, if as a business entity you have a ready market that can facilitate leasing or renting the forklift, it is best to buy one.
  • If your company guarantees a stability that requires the forklift to be in use for over 20 years, it is best to buy a forklift.
  • If the amount of money to purchase the forklift is readily available, then buying should be the best option.
  • If a company opts to incorporate all capital equipment in its books, buying the forklift is suitable in this case.

What Is The Best Forklift Size?

Forklifts come in different sizes depending on the type and also the functions it is exposed to. Therefore, the best forklift size entirely depends on the type of forklift you choose.

Normally, the standard forklifts have a width of 4 to 7ft and a height that ranges between 8 and 10ft.

However, for narrow aisle forklifts they should be within 5ft in length.

For warehouses, standard counterbalance forklifts should be 13ft wide to facilitate easier turning, and navigation of pallets.

Height is also a factor that contributes to the size of a forklift. As earlier outlined, tele handlers offer the highest height to reach of about 55ft.

However, the standard forklifts can go as high as 10ft and 15 ft.

How Do I Choose The Right Forklift?

To choose the right forklift, below is a criterion that can help,

First of all, determine the right capacity that can handle the cargo you are about to use the forklift on.

This entails determining the amount of weight of the cargo or pallets.

Secondly, determine the amount of weight the ground of the warehouse can sustain. Forklifts are heavy machines and the ground should offer sustainability to the forklift.

Thirdly, the height of the warehouse should be able to accommodate the forklifts.

As earlier outlined, a standard forklift operates between 10 and 15ft height, hence the warehouse height should be higher.

Also be sure to select the forklift based on the most preferred fuel type. There are those that are power operated and those that depend on gas.

Lastly, choose a forklift that can withstand the type of terrain in your warehouse.

There are pneumatic tyres-fit for rough surfaces, and cushion-tyres on forklifts exposed to smooth surfaces.

What Is A Forklift License?

This is a certification presented to OSHA to show that the employer is well trained and equipped to operate a forklift truck.

What Are The Hazards Associated With Operating Forklift Trucks?

Forklift operational safety

Forklift operational safety

There are six hazards associated with forklifts that every operator should cautiously be on the lookout.


A forklift comes with various attachments that need to be carefully addressed before engaging the forklift to its functions.

These includes the worn forks, stretched chains and other additional parts that aid the functioning of the forklifts.

Attachments can result to serious injuries if not carefully installed.

As a result, it is important to make a background check of the entire forklift truck to ensure all attachments are strongly attached to the truck.


The diesel and propane are the most used type of fuels for this trucks.

Consequently, these type of fuels have a high flammability property that can result to unforeseen fires in a warehouse.

For operators of this trucks, they should avoid smoking or any another fire related activities near the forklifts especially while refueling.

Maneuvering And Speed

Due to the nature of forklifts, the operators most make movements in reverse. This is due to the blockage caused by the cargo being carried.

In busy scenarios, there is the susceptibility of the truck to hit pedestrians especially in the narrow aisles.

The operators of the trucks need to make careful turns when in these environments.

Additionally, high speeds can cause unintended accidents and injuries. Maintaining a low speed is highly advised to the users of the forklifts.

Blind Spots

These are majorly caused by poor visibility caused by poor lighting in warehouse facilities. Blind spots can cause detrimental injuries to the operator.

Ensuring proper lighting enhances visibility and hence helps evade these blind spots. Additionally, closing of potential blind spots can easily facilitate a safe working environment for forklifts.


Forklifts have a designated amount of load they can withstand. This allows the forklifts to evade scenarios of toppling over due to excess weights.

It is important to adhere to the stipulated weights as they further facilitate the balance of the forklifts.

Floor Conditions

Slippery floor as well as presence of debris that can affect the maneuvering of forklifts pose as a serious hazard in the warehouses.

The ground to which these forklifts are operating in should be even and free from causing accidents.

What Are The OSHA Requirements for Forklift Safety?

OSHA mandates that the following requirements should be fully met when operating a forklift to enhance safety;

As an operator, OSHA requires you to be aware of the type and class of forklift you are using as they all have different operational requirements.

You are also supposed to be aware of the safety hazards exposed to the forklift as earlier outlined in the article.

Employers must have a training program for the operators before they fully engage on suing the forklift.

This must include both formal and practical lessons

Employers must present a certification to OSHA as proof of training and credibility of the operator to safely operate the forklift.

What Is The Importance Of Forklift Safety Training?

A forklift training is exposed to employees or rather the operators who are responsible for the functioning of the forklift.

This training is essential because it equips the operators with all the safety precautions and protocols that they must adhere to.

This improves the safety of the workers while operating the machine.

The training also minimizes costs related to the safety of the employees.

The operator is best equipped with the safety precautions of the machine hence presenting low risks to injuries.

Lastly, the training increases life span of the forklift since employees are trained on how to properly use the forklifts.

They are also trained on what parts to constantly be on the lookout for maintenance.

Do I Need Liability Insurance For Forklift?

Yes. It is a must for every business that uses a forklift on a daily basis to have an insurance liability in place.

The liability can be in the form of public liability or employer liability.

How Do I Know Which Policy To Take For My Forklift Trucks?

If the business has an auto policy, then there will be no need to take another policy to cover for the forklift trucks. This applies when the forklift is classified as a street vehicle.

If you need a cover that guarantees to cover bodily injury costs and the forklift, a general liability policy for insurance is suitable.

The policy totally depends on the costs you want the insurance to cover in case of any hazards.

In case you want to import forklift from China, BanSar team is here to help.

Contact us now for all your freight forwarding needs from China.

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