Ever wondered what the pedals on the forklift do? Why are there three of them? Is it any different than driving a car?
The forklift is one of the most useful vehicles that workers use. It does require training in order to operate safely, but for now we will simply answer the question posed at the beginning. What do the three pedals do?
The pedal farthest to the right, and simultaneously the largest, is the acceleration pedal. If you are legally able to drive any vehicle you should be familiar with the operation of an acceleration pedal. Gently place your foot on top of this pedal and press it gently to move forward. The harder you press, the faster you go.
The center pedal is the service brake pedal, another pedal all drivers should be familiar with. Gently pressing this pedal will slow your forklift to a stop. A quicker and harder press should stop the vehicle immediately. Familiarity with this pedal is most important because there are many hazards that you need to be aware of in the worksite and you need to be ready to stop at a moment’s notice.
The final pedal is the pedal farthest to the left, known as the inching pedal, or the ‘clutch brake’. When slightly depressed, it deactivates the transmission so that you are able to depress the accelerator for faster lifting. If you depress it further, it will act as a brake.
Inspect the pedals to make sure that they work. You can check them by going forward and braking and then backwards and braking. Carefully observe how they feel and function. Are they soft or do they grab? These can be signs that something is wrong and needs to be maintained or fixed. Better now than after a breakdown or accident. Good luck and stay safe!