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Figure of 8 Forklift Training

How to Steer In Very Confined Spaces

In this online Forklift Training video, our instructor Sheikh, explains how to steer in very confined space using a figure of eight (figure of 8 forklift) forwards exercise. This is another part of the training course to show students how to practise our steering, making sure we have full control of the forklift truck. Visit our various forklift training courses for more information or to book your session today.

Steering around a cone or drum/ Barrel

Once the trainees have mastered steering the machine both forwards and backwards in an open space it is time to teach them how to steer in very confined spaces such as those that they will find in their normal working environment.

Although there are many ways of doing this the most common involves a figure of eight with the trainees starting out driving around a single drum or cone and gradually working up to a tight figure of eight.

To start with, a single drum or cone is placed on flat ground and the truck is positioned some 3 to 4m away from it. The instructor then explains that the turning point of the forklift is an imaginary line running through the front wheels/axle.

Figure of 8 forklift | 4KS Forklift Training

Steps for figure of 8 Forklift Training - Forwards

  1. Follow the correct moving off procedure; Gear, Observation, Handbrake release and final Observation (GOBO).
  2. Gently drive forward in a controlled speed
  3. Line up front wheel axle (Pivot-point) with centre of barrel maintaining 2-3 inches from barrel
  4. Steer around barrel looking over shoulder while rear end swings also looking at the direction of travel
  5. Change hands while approaching the second barrel
  6. Line your front wheel axle to the centre of 2nd barrel
  7. Feather steering around the barrel glancing over your shoulders maintaining 2-3 inches from the barrel.

Figure of 8 Forklift Training in Reverse

The trainees are instructed to drive towards the drum maintaining a close distance to it, typically 50 to 75 mm. The steering wheel should be turned in the appropriate direction when the turning point of the truck is level with the middle of the drum or cone.

On a counterbalanced forklift truck it is usual to get the trainees to turn to the left during the first exercise as visibility to this side of the truck is better. If a reach truck is being used then, for the opposite reason, this exercise should be done to the right-hand side.

Whichever direction the trainees start with, after this they should have practice going in the opposite direction. In the training world the right hand side is referred to as the “hard” side on a counterbalanced truck as the drivers seat is offset to the left.

The idea is that the trainee should be able to travel round and round the obstruction at a nice steady pace maintaining a consistent 50 to 75mm distance away. Whilst doing this trainee should be encouraged not to forget what is happening behind him/her and to take frequent glances over their shoulders.

Our RTITB accredited instructors will be with you every step of the way!

Steps for Figure of 8 Forklift Training - In Reverse

  1. Complete the correct moving off procedure; (GOBO) Gear, Observation, Handbrake release and final Observation.
  2. Twist your body and arm behind the seat looking at the direction of travel
  3. Keeping limbs in the confines of the forklift truck
  4. Reverse slowly in a controlled speed waiting for the centre of barrel to line up with centre of front wheel axle (pivot point)
  5. Feather your steering around the barrel maintaining 2-3 inches from the barrel
  6. Once truck is turning keep an eye on the fork arms swinging
  7. Apply footbrake, twist your body posture facing the turning of the barrel
  8. Swap your hands and control your speed maintaining 2-3 inches from the barrel
  9. Ensure observations are maintained including fork arms swinging.



Negotiating a Figure of 8 forwards using a Counterbalance Forklift

Another Figure of 8 Forklift in Reverse Training Video

Depositing a load at ground level | Counterbalance Forklift Training