Forklift Operation & Certification: The Quick Guide

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Operating a forklift might seem like fun and games. You get to roll around all day pushing buttons, sitting higher than everyone else in the warehouse, right?  Not exactly – but it can still be rewarding, and it’s definitely a job worth going after. Just know that a forklift operating job is work – hence why you’re getting paid for it! Follow this guide on how to get certified, as well as safety tips and career options.

About The Job

Here’s the deal. As I’ve already stated, driving a forklift can be great job. Even a lot of the time. Just be aware that sometimes you will have to step off it and do some physical labor. Not everything in the warehouse is forklift-necessary, so be prepared to do some good lifting, walking around to take inventory, etc. Also be aware of the working conditions. You’ll probably be expected to work odd hours and nights. If you’re working at a department store, be aware that most forklift work is done when customers aren’t around. And in any environment, be prepared for very cold or very warm temperatures. As long as you can handle these things, keep on reading.

Getting Certified

If you’re at a job that wants you driving a forklift around without certification, you might want to find a new job. You’ll need to find an Occupational Safety and Health Administration course that will certify you. And your job will most likely need you to be over 18 years old. The course will go over how to handle boxes and other similar topics of the sort. Your job will train you on the actual forklift operation, but they will be working together with the OSHA to make sure everything is A-OK.

You’ll also learn a variety of safety tips. Be ready for lessons on how to start the machine, what the proper clothing is to wear, the dangers of driving a forklift, and how to park. You’ll also learn about the size of the loads you can carry, driving on ramps, and more. You can begin to see why the job isn’t as easy as it seems at first. It requires focus!

Career Options

If you’re looking at forklift job as a chance to get higher up in a company, you might want to go after something else. But driving a forklift certainly has its advantages payment wise. You might be able to start off at $15 (or a little lower), and get as high as $20, or slightly higher. A lot of it can depend on the shift you work, if you’re expected to do other jobs, etc. Forklift operation is a desirable career path – go after it!

Eric is the owner of J&L Moving Supplies. You can find him on , Facebook or Twitter, so be sure to connect with him!

Scissor Lift Safety and Procedures

Birmingham City Council - New office building construction site at Birmingham Science Park Aston - panelling up on Heneage Street West

When using any type of aerial work platform, safety comes before everything. In this case, we’re talking specifically about scissor lifts. Anyone who has worked in construction might be very familiar with one of these. It’s a platform that goes up vertically, and as it extends, its supports become crossed like an “X.” The larger ones are usually operate with hydraulics, but smaller scissor lifts do exist (such as portable scissor lift tables.) These machines are extremely useful, but unfortunately can be dangerous. Read below to learn the proper procedure and safety tips when operating a scissor lift.

Initial Check

Before getting on a scissor lift, you want to make sure everything is in good condition. Check to see if all parts are in place and everything look normal. Make sure you’re operating the lift on even, hard ground. Make sure there are absolute no holes in the ground, or other dangers anywhere near the lift. Then, look out for the weather. If there’s any chance of lightning, rain, or wind, don’t operate the lift. Fog is also a problem. You need maximum visibility. Above all, one scissor lift may operate differently than another. Make sure someone who will be performing the inspection is qualified and certified to operate one of these lifts.

Using the Lift

First, you need to set the brakes. Then remember, all scissor lifts have a capacity you need to follow. Going over the capacity puts anyone on the lift at great risk. When raising the lift, be aware that the a greater height means less stability. Also be aware of the guard rails. They’re in place for a reason, so don’t lean over them! Be aware of where you’re putting your work tools on the lift, as well. For instance, if you have a paint can, keep it near you. You don’t really want to be moving all around the lift, if you can avoid it. When it comes time to move the lift to a new area, always make sure the lift comes down and the worker gets off before moving it.

Other Things To Know

As with many things in life, people that use scissor lifts regularly begin to get lazy. Be aware – this should never become true for you. You should always be alert when operating a lift, or standing on one. Never operate the machine while it’s on another platform, such as a truck. Never override the safety devices of the lift. Never use anything on the lift’s platform to extend the height of the lift – even if it’s just a small stool or a ladder.

Hopefully you found this guide helpful. Make sure you’re always properly trained to use or operate a scissor lift. If you’re unsure of something, be sure to ask a qualified professional to help you out.

Eric is the owner of J&L Moving Supplies. You can find him on , Facebook or Twitter, so be sure to connect with him!

Tips for Organizing a Workbench

Both Work Benches in the Garage

Any owner of a workbench knows it’s important property. Or at least it used to be. Hours upon hours were spent there when you first got it. Nobody was allowed near it. And then over the years, things changed. Suddenly, it has turned to the go-to table for anything and everything. Laundry detergent? Leave it on the work bench. The old television? To the work bench it goes. Take a second to think about how much more productive you can be with a clean work bench. Get organized!

Get Rid Of Garbage!

A dirty work bench usually means a generally messy work area. If you’ve got any empty cans and other garbage, throw it all away. Any tools you never use? Toss them or donate them. If you’ve got a lot of papers lying around, try using a whiteboard instead! Then move on to everything around the work bench. It’s almost inevitable that you’ll have boxes lying around, scraps of wood on the floor, etc. It’s probably making it difficult to move around. Throw these items away or move them to a completely different area.

Use Pegboards And Shelves

Shelves are key for any organizational project. The best place to build shelving is usually right under the workbench. Say goodbye to all of your equipment sitting on the floor in a tangled mess. You can also add shelving to a pegboard – which of course, you probably already have. But it might be time to reevaluate. Consider buying a bigger pegboard, and/or placing it a little bit higher on the wall. You don’t want it to interfere with anything in your work area. Just make sure it’s not too high, because dropping tools would not be fun!

Give Items Their Own Spot

You need to make sure everything has its own spot. For instance, drills can be lined up along one shelf. Boxes of nails can be stacked on another. Consider buying drawers for smaller items so they’re not sitting everywhere. At the end of the day, make sure you put things back where they belong. It only takes an extra minute or two, and your bench will look better all the time.

All of this may seem like a lot of work, but you can turn it into an enjoyable experience. Put on some good tunes, set a few hours aside, and go to town. You’ll be extremely satisfied with the result. You might even be tempted to get right to building.

Eric is the owner of J&L Moving Supplies. You can find him on , Facebook or Twitter, so be sure to connect with him!

How to Properly Use a Dolly or Hand Truck

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Dollies and hand trucks are extremely useful tools for moving. There are many different kinds of each device, but they all serve the same purpose – moving those heavy items more easily! We all know lifting items can be hard on your back, and a dolly or a hand truck will help relieve that stress. Both dollies and hand trucks have certain advantages. Read below for tips on how to use each device:

Dollies

Dollies come in different shapes and sizes. Some dollies have 4 wheels, some have 8. Some dollies are circular, some are rectangular. The options go on and on. You can use them to move everything from a 5 gallon pail to a dresser. If your item is small enough to fit on one dolly, have one person use proper lifting techniques to hold the item, until another person can slip the dolly underneath. If the item is very large and heavy, you will need two dollies. Simply have one person tilt the heavy object, as another person slides the dolly underneath one side. Do the same thing for the other side.

Hand Trucks

Hand trucks are a must-have for any professional mover. When using hand trucks, it’s very important that you don’t stack uneven objects. Use boxes if at all possible. Classic aluminum hand trucks are great because the plate that holds your boxes is already sitting on the floor. Simply have one person tilt your heavy box back, and have another person push the hand truck until it is underneath the box. Set the box down on the hand truck, and use proper lifting techniques to stack more boxes. Heavy boxes should always be at the bottom. Don’t stack the boxes too high – it only makes the process more dangerous. Move slowly forward and keep the hand truck in front of you while pushing. The only time a hand truck should be behind you is when you’re going up a hill. Most of those rules apply to a four wheeled hand truck as well. Always make sure your load is balanced. Always push the truck, unless it has a handle and a fifth wheel that is specifically designed for pulling.

For both hand trucks and dollies, injuries can almost always be avoided by working slowly and safely. Try to avoid operating these devices if your hands are wet or sweaty. Uneven surfaces should also be avoided if possible. Lastly, use moving straps everywhere you can.  You won’t need to worry about all of your boxes toppling over. Good luck!

Eric is the owner of J&L Moving Supplies. You can find him on , Facebook or Twitter, so be sure to connect with him!

How to De-Stress After a Big Move

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After you’ve gone through a big move, you still might experience stress. After all, moving is a huge task, and you’ve devoted months to the process. Rather than lying around surrounded by boxes, use your time after a move to refresh your mind. You can de-stress from home or other places. Follow this guide and you’ll surely find something you’re up for.

Write & Talk:

These are two of the easiest ways to get rid of stress. You can either write down exactly what you’re feeling, or try to get more creative; write about family, past experiences, music, and more. Writing is good for the mind – and something you might want to continue doing for weeks or months after a move. If you’re the type that likes to get your feelings out, talk to someone who lowers your stress level. Sharing feelings with the person who’s causing the stress will only stress you out more.

Meditate:

If you’re new to meditation (including yoga) it’s going to feel weird at first. But don’t write it off just yet. It’s an extremely popular way to get rid of stress. When you meditate, you’re mixing concentration, relaxation, and peacefulness – a great recipe. You’re resting your mind. Meditation will help improve your focus and make you look at stressful situations differently. And the best part is that you don’t need anybody or anything to do it. Just yourself!

Exercise:

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Exercising is good for you any day, any time. It’s especially useful if you’re stressed. Try running a trail or going for a hike to get some fresh air. Go for a swim, a bike ride, or even a simple walk. You don’t need to go all out – just enough to get some anger out. As a personal tip – it may not be wise to try a sport you’ve never tried before. You don’t want to get more frustrated than you already are.

Go to the Movies:

Yes – that means spending the dreaded $10 on a ticket. If you’re the type that usually likes to rent from home, try going back to the theater. We all know the big screen and great sound makes any movie much more enjoyable. After all, the goal here is to escape stressful environment. Still not interested? The total will be less money than eating out.

Go to YouTube:

YouTube is the land of the stress free. Usually, YouTube will have funny videos posted right on their home page, and you can jump around from there. You’ll be taking your mind off the stress and laughing at the same time. Easy and free. What’s better?

Eat Right:

It’s easy to get caught up in fast food after a big move because it’s a simple fix. It’s understandable – you’re starting with a completely new kitchen you don’t want to stock. The problem – you’re losing money, and although fast food tastes good when you’re eating it, it hurts your body in the long run. Make sure to eat healthy – it’ll make you feel a lot better. And if you need that junk food fix, have a bar of chocolate. That won’t hurt once in awhile!

Eric is the owner of J&L Moving Supplies. You can find him on , Facebook or Twitter, so be sure to connect with him!