It is a good practice to put the fork arms just below the front axle of the forklift and it should be as close to the ground as possible.
When the forks are too low, it could scrape the floor surface. It is also dangerous when you reach an incline or slope, that is why when traveling in slope, drive the forklift in reverse. In a typical warehouse setup with an even floor surface, the forks should be above the ground at a height of 5 to 10 centimeter. This height is the same as it needs to go through a wooden pallet. In outdoor and in a rough surface, the forks should be a bit higher to prevent from the forks from digging in the ground. The height of the forks should be enough to clear the terrain, too high is a safety issue because you can hit someone on his head or lower torso.
When can carrying a load, it is good practice to:
- When traveling with a load, always make sure to tilt the mast of the forklift backward so that the load will firmly place against the backrest to make it more secure during transport. By doing this, you move the center of gravity towards to rear of the forklift making it more secure when traveling.
- Distribute the weight of the load properly. If the load is off-center, it can cause the forklift to flip over. Place the heaviest load near the truck’s front wheels. Never overload, see the forklift’s load capacity in the data plate.
- Travel in reverse if the load that you are carrying blocks the front view. Don’t look at just the mirror when reversing, rotate your head and look to the path where the forklift will be going.
- Be attentive and know the height of the mast and overhead guard when traveling, especially when you are entering or exiting warehouse entrances.
- Never overload, check the maximum load capacity of the truck that you are using. Overloading causes tip over and tip-overs are frequent occurrence in the workplace and it is among the leading cause of deaths and severe injury to the operator.
- Observe the maximum traveling speed in the workplace. The permissible speed is 8 miles/hour in a typical environment but in a workplace where there is too much foot traffic and pedestrian, the minimum speed is 3 miles/hour. You can consult your safety supervisor what’s the minimum traveling speed limit in your work area.
- I put it the last, but it should be the first, never operate a forklift is you are not trained to do so. You must certified driving the forklift.
When driving a forklift the forks should be at the required height enough to clear the terrain and not too high that it can hit someone or something.
Knowing the path of travel can also give you an insight how high should the forks be.
Also perform good safety practices when picking up load, unloading and traveling.