Eureka Forklifts


Everything you need to know about driving a forklift for the first time

Driving a forklift for the first time can be a little intimidating, but it’s important to realise every expert forklift driver also started where you are now. They didn’t become experts overnight, and with proper training and preparation, you can become a confident and skilled operator just like them.

If you’re searching around the internet for articles about how to drive forklifts or operating them for the first time, we cover everything you need to know about driving a forklift for the first time below. 

First off, you need to understand the basics of forklift operation

Before getting behind the wheel of a forklift, it's super important to understand the basic principles of forklift operation. This includes understanding the different types of forklifts, their components, their capabilities and how they operate. 

Here are just a few of the operational principles that you will need to get a handle on before you sit behind the wheel. 

Understand the controls
Get yourself used to the different controls of the forklift you will be using, including the accelerator, brake, steering wheel, and horn. It's important you know how to operate these safely and efficiently.

Get familiar with load capacity
Every forklift you use will have a load capacity, which refers to the maximum weight the forklift can lift and carry without it being a safety hazard. It's essential you know the load capacity of the forklift you're operating to make sure you don’t overload it, which can be dangerous, not only to you but to those working around you (many forklift accidents are caused by overloading the weight capacity).

Work out the load centre
The load centre is the point at which the load is centred on the forks. Knowing the load centre is crucial for properly balancing the load on the forklift and preventing accidents.

Understand forklift stability
Forklifts can tip over if you don’t operate them properly, which is obviously pretty dangerous for you as the operator and those working around you. Making sure you understand the forklift's stability and centre of gravity is an important measure to prevent tip-overs.

You will need to learn to manoeuvre the forklift 
Forklifts can be incredibly difficult to move around safely in tight spaces, so it's essential you know how to navigate your forklift in a range of environments safely and efficiently.

Be aware of your operating environment
Driving a forklift means you need a clear and unobstructed environment to operate in. Being aware of potential hazards in your operating area can include knowing the location of other workers, pedestrians, and obstacles in the areas you’re driving your forklift. 

By making sure you understand these basics of forklift operation, you can be sure to operate it safely and prevent accidents and injuries on the job site.

Things you will need to do before jumping behind the wheel of your forklift

Driving a forklift for the first time can be a daunting task, but with proper training and preparation, you can become a confident and skilled operator. Here are some of the things you will be required to complete before getting behind the wheel of a forklift. 

Complete the necessary training
To operate a forklift in a safe and effective way, you will need to complete any necessary training. This usually involves a combination of classroom instruction and practical, on-the-job training. Topics covered in training will be things such as forklift operation, load handling and safety procedures.

Conduct any necessary pre-operational checks
Before you operate a forklift, it's essential to conduct a pre-operational check to make sure the forklift is in good working order. This will include checking the brakes, steering, and controls, as well as inspecting the tyres, mast and forks to make sure they’re all working correctly. 

Use proper techniques when lifting and manoeuvring
You will need to make sure you use proper techniques to ensure you’re using your forklift safely and efficiently. Keeping your load stable and centred, driving at a safe speed, and avoiding sudden movements or jerks are all things effective operators will ensure happen.

Make sure you follow all safety procedures
Forklifts can be extremely dangerous when not operated properly. This is why it's essential you follow the proper safety procedures. Some examples of this are making sure you wear appropriate personal protective equipment, using the horn to alert others of your presence, and making sure you avoid operating your forklift near people or in an area with limited visibility.

Practice, practice, practice
Becoming a skilled forklift operator takes time and practice. There’s no fast track to gaining the experience you will need to be an expert operator. It’s important to take the time to familiarise yourself with the equipment and practise your skills in a safe and controlled environment.

Remember, before you get behind the wheel, make sure you understand the basics of forklift operation, complete the necessary training, conduct all the needed pre-operational checks and follow safety procedures. 

By following these guidelines, you can be sure you’re operating your forklift in a safe and efficient way.


86 Delta St, Geebung QLD 4034
PO Box 90 Geebung, Queensland, 4034



Eureka Forklifts has almost 30 years experience dealing with forklifts in the SE Qld region.

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