Logistics & Materials Handling Blog

How to Unload a Truck with a Forklift

by Paul Hinz
Filed under: Forklifts

Unloading trucks is an extremely valuable skill for all forklift operators to know how to complete.

It is a necessary skill in a wide variety of warehousing and logistic roles including store person, warehouse worker and dockhands.

In this post we briefly discuss Adaptalift Group’s recommended safe way to unload trucks, using a forklift from both sides of the trailer.

Unloading a truck from both sides using a forklift fitted with standard tynes

  1. Open the trailer curtain and approach the truck trailer on the side from which the load is to be unloaded
  2. Ensure the tynes are straight and square to the load, do not raise them until you are a few feet away from the trailer (ensure you do not raise the tynes whilst the tips are under the trailer bed)
  3. Line the tynes up with the tyne pockets of the pallets and drive the forklift forward so they are fully inserted under the load, and it is leaning up against the load backrest
  4. To ensure the load is fully and correctly supported they can be brought forward slightly on the trailer to allow the operator to adjust the position of the forklift to fully insert the tynes to allow a safe lift
  5. If pallets are packed tightly together in the trailer a forklift fitted with side-shift can be utilised to create a small gap between pallets to avoid accidental product damage during unloading
  6. With the load safely positioned on the tynes and resting on the backrest, apply a small amount of back tilt to stabilise the load and slowly reverse the load out from the trailer
  7. Reverse the load away from the trailer ensuring that tips of the tynes are clear of the trailer
  8. Once clear of the trailer the load can either be set down and inspected for damage before being transported to its destination or transport directly to its destination
  9. To unload goods from the other side of the trailer the forklift operator will open the other side of the trailer curtain and repeat the previous steps outlined above
Safely unloading a truck with a forklift 1

Things to consider when unloading a truck with a forklift

  • Before unloading a truck with a forklift ensure that the trailer curtain has been properly pulled back providing a clear path to all pallets and goods needing to be unloaded
  • Ensure that all ratchet straps and harnesses have been removed from pallets ensuring all goods can easily and safely be removed by the forklift
  • Generally tall and double stacked loads (if permitted) will usually be loaded at the front of a trailer where they can be supported by the headboard/truck body
  • It is recommended to unload pallets and goods from the back of the trailer to the front unless otherwise directed to by the truck driver
  • When unloading tall or double stacked loads it is imperative to watch the trucks roof, this can be easily forgotten and can lead to product damage or damage to the truck
  • When unloading all loads, it is imperative to make sure the tyne tips are always clear of the trailer bed and lip before lowering
Safely unloading a truck with a forklift 3

Adaptalift Group sell one of the largest ranges of forklifts and warehouse materials handling equipment to allow businesses to unload goods safely and efficiently from trucks of all sizes.

Contact your nearest MHE expert on 13 22 54 for advice on purchasing your next forklift or fill-out a contact form and team member will get back to you as soon as possible.