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Forklift Terminology Part 1: Introduction To Basic Forklift Features

Filed under: Forklift Basics

Are you new to forklifts? Or just need a quick review? This blog is the first instalment of a four part series that will focus on getting you familiar with basic forklift terminology or recap on basic forklift terms that you might already know.

Today we will begin with a short introduction to the basic features of a forklift. Familiarise yourself with the picture below labelled with the important forklift features and also find a small description of them. We will now run through them individually.

    Forklift Diagram
  • Mast: The mast is the vertical support that permits raising and lowering the load.
  • Carriage: A support structure where the forks are attached or mounted.
  • Back Rest: Attached to the carriage and prevents the load shifting backwards, it protects the mast cylinders hoses as well as preventing any goods falling through the mast and hitting the operator.
  • Fork (Tynes): The cantilevered arms attached to the load carriage, that engage the load. 
  • Lift Cylinder: Controls the amount by which the mast structure, forks and carriage may be raised or lowered in the vertical.
  • Overhead Guard: A framework/roof, providing overhead protection for the operator from falling objects.
  • Tilt Cylinder: Controls the amount by which the mast structure, forks and carriage may be tilted beyond the vertical position, forward or backward.
  • Rating Plate: This is used to inform users of the maximum load a forklift can legally carry.
  • Counter Weight: The weight installed by the manufacturer to give stability to the machine under load.

 We hope you’ve enjoyed the first part of the Forklift Terminology Series and next week we will move onto Part 2: Forklift Manoeuvrability and the simple forklift terminology that relates to it. Until then have a great week and if you have any questions or comments please feel free to leave them below.

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Next entry: Forklift Terminology Part 2: Mast Details & Dimensions

Previous entry: ForkSafe - Health, Safety & Environment Program


Great blog, I’m a beginner who just wants to drive them, this will be a great help for my prac training. Really like the way it’s written too. Thanks mate.   

January 17, 2013 - 4:50 pm

Hi Michael,

Thanks for the comment, we’re glad you found it helpful. Best of luck in training!

AAL Admin
January 18, 2013 - 1:25 pm

Thanks for the comment, we’re glad you found it helpful. Best of luck in training!   

April 15, 2013 - 2:10 am

This information is immensely helpful and many thanks for the publisher.

Nimal Mahinda Kulatunge
June 21, 2014 - 12:57 am

    Am a beginner and i really like this blog, I will be starting classes next week Monday be ready for my questions.

Gideon Lot
January 21, 2015 - 10:47 pm

I really like the blog and it will really help me during my practical section    

Francis Ezekiel
May 26, 2015 - 4:26 pm

                Very helpful!

Dylan Rambhajan
July 09, 2015 - 6:52 am

  Thanks for helping me to learn very important things I did not know,I drive forklift but I did not know all these.    Please sir, I want to know how many types of forklift do we have                  

Ezekiel Amuah Haizel
September 03, 2015 - 1:23 am

Yes this was very helpful.                       

June 17, 2016 - 2:52 am

                  Thank you it was very informative, about to do a course and needed to learn the total basics.

Patricia Newman
May 14, 2017 - 10:53 pm

                      Yea! I really enjoyed what I have learnt, and I have understood it too..Can’t wait for part two of it…

May 26, 2017 - 7:16 pm

I’m glad to read this blog. It was very helpful learned a lot. Thanks admin.                       

September 21, 2017 - 2:26 pm

This was helpful I give it 5 stars thanks

March 08, 2019 - 7:14 am

      Can you tell me if a “Stand-Up” Forklift is meant to be used in a job function standing all day, moving freight (car parts/ mix of heavy metal, running boards, etc..and “stacking” the containers) compared to using a “Sit-down” model?  Specifically, standing for 4 hours, up-to 9 hours on a stand up, locked kneed,  I am concerned about “ergonomics.” in general on knees, neck, wrist, hand using a ‘Stand-Up” vs. “Sit Down” type of forklift in a very rapid moving job function in order to give freight to someone who is loading the freight.
Thanks so much for any info.
Greatly appreciated.

Jan Farmer
March 30, 2019 - 10:19 pm

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