Your Personal Guide to Narrow Aisle Forklifts

narrow aisle forkliftNarrow aisle forklifts are designed for aisles less than 10.5 ft. wide. They are commonly used in warehouses and other tight workspaces and enables forklift operators to safely retrieve and store pallets. With FLC, you can educate your employees on the safe operation of these powerful machines. Keep reading to learn more about narrow aisle forklifts and how to safely and efficiently operate them.

What is a Narrow Aisle Forklift?

Also known as reach trucks, narrow aisle forklifts are used to move pallets in tight workspaces. Space is often at a premium in warehouses, so these machines come especially in handy when aisles are small. 

How to Operate a Narrow Aisle Forklift

Ever wondered how to operate a narrow aisle forklift? To do so properly, operators must:

  • Examine the lift; if any issues are identified, they must be corrected
  • Assess the surrounding environment; if any obstacles or hazards are found, they must be removed
  • Drive the lift at a safe speed
  • Avoid overloading the lift and ensure the load is stable and secure
  • Maintain clear visibility
  • A forklift certification training program is ideal for employees who work in warehouses or other workspaces where a narrow forklift is used. By completing this program, forklift operators can take the necessary precautions to operate a narrow lift or other types of lifts safely

Narrow Aisle Forklift Operator Certification Requirements

While learning how to drive a narrow aisle forklift is fairly straightforward, operators must be fully certified before doing so. That’s because there are certain risks that are inherent to these machines. Without proper training, forklift operators may make errors that could jeopardize their health and safety. 

It’s not just recommended that narrow aisle forklift operators get safety training – it’s the law. OSHA requires all forklift operators to be fully trained and certified before getting behind the wheel of such equipment. Online certification programs make it easier than ever to get in compliance with OSHA regulations.

Consequences of Not Certifying Employees to Drive Narrow Aisle Forklifts

You might be tempted to skirt the official rules around narrow aisle forklift training. Skipping out on training is a bad idea for several reasons. For starters, forklifts can be more dangerous than they first appear. Without proper training, operators may make careless mistakes, endanger the lives of their colleagues, and seriously inhibit productivity in the warehouse.

OSHA fines are another good reason to get your employees certified. Not meeting certification requirements puts countless businesses in jeopardy of costly OSHA fines each year. Should an OSHA inspector discover you have an uncertified employee operating a narrow aisle forklift, your organization could be facing thousands of dollars in fines. That’s reason enough to invest in training your team. 

Narrow Aisle Forklift FAQs


A narrow aisle forklift is a specialized machine, and it must be used correctly. Like any forklift, an operator must understand how to safely navigate the lift in a limited amount of space. At the same time, an operator must ensure the lift is properly maintained.

When it comes to using a forklift for tight spaces, training is key. A training program allows a forklift operator to learn how to safely use and maintain a narrow forklift. It can also help reduce the risk of narrow aisle forklift accidents.


A typical narrow aisle forklift can handle the same amount of weight as a standard lift. The load capacity of a narrow lift tends to range from 80,000 lbs. to 105,000 lbs. To determine a narrow forklift’s load capacity, review the lift’s operating manual.

How Much Room Do You Need Between Narrow Aisle Forklift and the Aisle Itself?

For narrow aisle forklift safety, it’s best to leave at least 12 inches of clearance. This will allow room for the lift’s turn radius so you can safely turn and help protect against unsafe situations. Always factor your pallet into the equation before entering an aisle that feels especially narrow.


When it comes to using a narrow aisle forklift, safety training is vital. Thanks to, your business can easily enroll its workers in a comprehensive forklift safety training program.

We offer an extensive forklift safety training program intended for warehouse workers and other employees who regularly use a forklift. Our program enables your business to meet OSHA requirements and ensure that your forklift operators know how to prevent lift accidents. To learn more about our forklift safety training program or to enroll your workers in our program, please contact us online or call us today at (888) 278-8896.

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