How to Master Forklift Parking

fundamentals of forklift parkingForklift operators must follow certain rules, procedures, and best practices in the workplace. Failure to comply with such rules can lead to accidents and injuries. Forklift parking, in particular, requires careful consideration of space, walkways, and pedestrians. Leaving a forklift unattended comes with certain risks, which is why it’s so important to follow safety measures. Proper lift operator training can help foster good habits in employees and create a culture of safety in your organization. 

When is a Forklift Considered Unattended?

Before diving into the fundamentals of forklift parking, let’s clarify the differences between leaving a forklift unattended and parking it when not in use. According to the Occupational Health and Safety Administration, a forklift is considered unattended any time an operator is 25 feet or more away from it. So long as it is in view, it can be considered attended. Should an operator leave sight of the lift, it should be formally parked. That’s because unattended lifts can create dangerous situations for pedestrians walking by. 

Leaving a forklift unattended can block pathways, entrances, and exits. Should an emergency occur, workers may not be able to get around a forklift left in the walkway. Whether you’re leaving your lift for a quick break, long lunch, or to head home for the night, parking a forklift is the way to go. 

What to Know About Parking a Forklift

When it comes to parking a forklift, it’s important to first identify an appropriate area to do so. Each warehouse or job site should have a designated parking area in place that is free from obstructions and clearly labeled. This area should be a flat, hard surface that doesn’t obstruct exits, stairs, or fire extinguishers. Parking areas should also not block any lanes of traffic, including pedestrian walkways. These spaces must be located away from cargo, machinery, storage racks, and any sources of heat.

Once you’ve found the proper space for forklift parking, manuever your lift carefully into the area. Use your horn, headlights, and brake lights to warn colleagues of your presence. Move your head and check your mirrors frequently to avoid collisions. Come to a complete stop in the parking area and straighten your wheels. 

After parking, you’ll want to engage your parking brake. Some forklift models use foot-operated parking brakes located near the brake pedal. Others use hand-operated parking brakes that look like levers. Be sure to identify your model’s parking brake before parking a forklift. Not sure where it is located? Check the manufacturer’s guide for help.

Other Forklift Parking Tips

Once you’ve got the parking brake engaged, it’s important to use the hydraulic controls to lower the carriage until the forks touch the ground. The heel of the fork will typically make contact first. Forks should be positioned against the wall and away from any walkways. 

Next, tilt the forklift mast down until the forks are parallel to the ground. Forklift masts are the main structures that allow the carriage to move up and down. A tilt cylinder allows operators to change the angle forward or back. Before completing a forklift parking job, you’ll want to move the mast forward or backwards to ensure that the forks are parallel with the ground. Leave the forks off the ground and you may cause the entire lift to tip over. 

At this point, you’re virtually done parking a forklift. To finish, simply switch the key to the off position. Carefully dismount by lifting yourself from the seated position and get out slowly. Avoid jumping out of the lift, as unnecessary movements can lead to injuries. As you head out, do a quick inspection of the tires to make sure they’re stable and facing forward. 

Learn More About Forklift Parking Today

Reading about forklift parking is one thing – training to do so is another thing entirely. There’s a reason OSHA requires all lift operators be properly trained and certified before beginning work. Accidents are much more likely to happen when workers are not educated on safety best practices. By enrolling your employees in convenient online forklift certification training, you help create a safer work environment for everyone.

It’s never been easier or more affordable to earn your forklift license online. While reading about parking a forklift can shed light on the process, it’s important to undergo official, OSHA-approved training before attempting this skill. has the resources you need to educate your entire team. To learn more about our training options or to enroll your workers in any of them, please contact us online or call us today at (888) 278-8896.

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