How to Use a Skytrak Forklift

Skytrak is a major brand of telescopic forklifts, also commonly known as telehandlers, used in construction and rugged terrain applications. Pro Vehicles, a website dedicated to mobile equipment and material handling describes the Skytrak forklift as extremely useful in increasing productivity and efficiency in the workplace. That is because the Skytrak's unique all terrain maneuverability and extended reach make it an excellent partner for a variety of outdoor construction applications that a traditional forklift would have difficulty completing.

Ensure all equipment controls are in neutral prior to attempting to start forklift. Lights, heater and other accessories that would create a drain on the battery must be shut off prior to start up.

Turn ignition switch to the start position. Allow up to 20 seconds for the engine to fully start. If the engine does not start in this time period turn switch to the off position and allow the starting motor to cool for a few minutes before attempting to start the engine again. When the engine starts, allow the engine to warm up at half throttle while observing all gauges to ensure the engine is operating within the prescribed safe limits.

Apply the parking brake and place the transmission in neutral prior to attempting to shut off power to the forklift. Lower the forks to the ground and allow forklift to idle at low for three to five minutes. Then turn ignition switch to the off position and remove the key. If parked on an inclined surface, block the forklifts wheels to prevent the vehicle from rolling in case the parking brake fails.

Loading the Lift

Determine if the weight of the load to be lifted. If unsure of a load's total weight, consult with a supervisor or the material supplier prior to attempting to lift the load.

Calculate the load capacity of the forklift using a load capacity chart found in the operator's manual for the forklift. If the load weight is greater than the capacity of the forklift in general, or for the particular operation required, do not attempt the lift.

Approach the load. Lower forks to no more than 4 feet from the ground surface and observe the leveler gauge. If this gauge indicates that the frame needs to be leveled, use the leveler joystick or outrigger switches to ensure the frame is level.

Adjust spacing of forks so that they are at the maximum width that can be used to lift the load safely while engaging both forks.

Drive to the load squarely and slowly with fork tips straight and level. Engage the load with the forks taking care to ensure both forks are engaged with the load. Tilt the load against the load backrest and lift the load.

Placing a Load

Use the forklift capacity chart to determine the safe range of the telescoping boom of the forklift while under load. Do not attempt any operation that exceeds the capacity of the forklift boom.

Move forks so they are evening aligned with the area he load is to be placed and slowly extend boom to the area just above where the load is to be placed.

Slowly lower the boom and set load in place. Retract the boom so that the forks slide out from under the load.

Safety Precautions

Conduct a pre-operation safety check. According to, safety inspections should be conducted daily by the forklift operator. Several points must be included in the check such as the horn, hydraulic systems, lift and tilt controls, tire pressure, brakes and steering.

Use a specially designed forklift work platform if lifting personnel. Platforms must conform to OSHA regulations for such purposes. The forklift operator must never attempt to lift any person on the forks of a forklift without such a platform in place.

Refuel the forklift carefully. points out that the parking brake on the forklift must be set and the forklift engine off before fueling. Excess fuel spilled must be cleaned off he forklift before attempting to restart the ignition.


About the Author

Craig Murphy began writing professionally in 1996 for the "Exponent." He holds a Bachelor of Science in industrial technology management-occupational health and safety from the University of Wisconsin-Platteville. Murphy has also earned the Associate in Risk Management designation from the American Institute for Chartered Property Casualty Underwriters.