Forklift Trucks on Building Sites

Forklift trucks are a common sight on most building sites with Counterbalance or Reach forklifts being the most popular machines to use. Apart from taking all the hard work out of lifting heavy building materials that arrive on the site, forklift trucks can be used to cover other practical jobs that need to be done around a yard.

During the winter months, forklifts can be especially valuable machines to have around especially if they have been fitted with specific accessories. These add-ons allow the machines to be used to clear paths in the snow. They can even be converted for other cold weather jobs which include gritting and spreading to make the workplace safer.

Forklift trucks moving materials on pallets

Forklift trucks moving materials on pallets

Keeping Injuries Down

Over the years the use of forklift trucks on building sites has dramatically reduced the risk of injury caused by heavy lifting. However, with this said injuries and accidents involving forklifts cannot be ignored and safety is always a primary issue when a machine is being operated on a building site.

Forklifts are particularly useful machines when delivery trucks turn up at a site with any sort of building material. Loads can be taken off Lorries on pallets, making the whole process that much easier for both the truck driver and building workers alike. The same goes for any materials that need to be taken off the building site.

However, to drive a forklift truck takes special training and safety is always a prime concern when a machine is being operated around any building sites. The fact the forklift is capable of lifting large and heavy items from one place to another on the site means it has to be driven with due care and attention so as to avoid injuring other workers who may be working close by.

The Most Common Use of a Forklift Truck

By far the most common use of a forklift truck on a building site involves loading and unloading delivery trucks. However, they are useful machines when heavier items including any pipework needs to be moved around onsite. Since the forklift truck first appeared on the scene, it has been seen as the ‘backbone of the industry’ and for this reason many builders and construction companies either hire a forklift truck on a long-term basis or buy one in, which can prove to be more cost effective.

Forklift truck moving snow

Forklift truck moving snow

It Takes Training and Skill to Operate a Forklift Truck

There are times when more hazardous materials need to be moved around or delivered to a building site. Forklift trucks are the perfect machines for such work as long as the driver is experienced and knows the dangers involved in moving more hazardous materials which includes any chemicals. This is when strict Health & Safety procedures have to be adhered to especially as forklifts can move a lot more hazardous material in one single go than it would be possible to do manually.

Safety First

There may be times when using a forklift truck might be a tempting option but in truth, the machine might not be suitable for whatever purpose you may have had in mind. Around 24% of all accidents that occur on building sites involve forklifts trucks in one way or another. For this reason, there are health & safety regulations in place that are meant to protect all the people working on a building site and which offer guidelines as to what the machine should and should not be used for.


Forklift trucks have become the backbone of the building industry and are today one of the most valuable machines to have on a construction site. Operators must be trained to use a forklift whether loading or unloading a delivery truck or moving any materials around a building site. Other practical uses include moving any snow in the colder winter months but at the end of the day, forklift trucks no matter what their size have to be driven with care.


Image credits: JAXPORT and Ben Coulson