StowmarketSuffolkIP14 5DT

SFT Services Ltd

Forklift Truck Repair, Maintenance and Servicing Specialists

Phone Number: 01449 763 375

Mobile Number: 07880 700 574

Which Industries Are Forklifts Commonly Used

  • Posted by:
  • Admin
  • Tags:
  • Posted date:
  • 29-11-2021
Which Industries Are Forklifts Commonly Used

Find out more about the industries where are forklifts are commonly used. We look at why forklifts are vital to many workplaces in the UK.

Which Industries Are Forklifts Commonly Used?

Since being developed in the early 20th century, the forklift has become commonplace among commercial and industrial sites. With them now being used across many different sites, they can carry large amounts of heavy cargo and make construction much easier.

What are the primary industries that use forklifts, and what benefits do they bring us? This article will go over precisely that.

Which Industries Are Forklifts Commonly Used?

The Industrial Uses For Forklifts

The perk of moving heavy duty and bulk items means that forklifts attract a certain clientele and will appear on specific sites. Named after their fork-like prongs, a variety of materials and stock can be carried. Ranging from pedestrian operated to a smaller piece of equipment, there are many different types and uses.

Here are the key industrial uses and locations where forklifts will be used:


Internal forklifts can also be used for similar reasons, especially in warehouses and other storage facilities. You've probably seen them before, and they are essential for staff transporting inventory to and from shelves, especially with heavier duty items.

Wooden pallets, large containers and even people can be lifted and transported. A "man basket" will be attached when moving tradespeople around, and you may see these in larger warehouses.

Of course, there are smaller forklifts for smaller jobs, and these are ideal for navigating down narrow aisles and reaching high objects. Most commonly, you will find what are called pallet trucks in such places and work almost exclusively with such items.

Counterbalance and side loaders will also be found and are used for specific purposes.

The Construction Industry

The most obvious place you'll find forklift trucks are on construction sites, as they can significantly increase the efficiency of material movement.

As construction sites can be tricky to navigate over rough terrain and involve the movement of steel, timber, and bricks, forklifts are perfect for aiding builders.

Rough terrain or straight mast forklifts are equipped with durable pneumatic tires, ideal for traversing over uneven sites. Unlike other types, they are predominantly used on outdoor projects where materials need moving from delivery trucks to the site.

Recycling Operations

Forklifts also come in handy on recycling operations, especially when unloading recycling trucks or moving large containers for sorting.

The forks at the front of the vehicle allow attachments to be added for almost any purpose, and forklifts can be used to unload trucks, elevators, trailers and any other container.

It's even possible to transport tires at recycling plants, and this requires a new attachment. All of this can ease the workflow for the tradespeople on that site.


With their arrival in the early 20th century, forklifts quickly became used in light of the First and Second World Wars. When their use was realised for unloading and loading barges and ships, they became commonplace to see on a dock.

When time was crucial, forklifts could aid in the stocking of goods and arms onto a boat, allowing the ship to sail sooner. In the modern world, forklifts are still used on docks for transporting materials and shipments of wood, metal and plastic.

Snow Ploughs

Using a forklift to move and shovel snow isn't unheard of, and many industrial trades will prefer to do this over hiring a snowplough. Once again, by utilising an attachment on the vehicle's front, snow can be cleared from any walkways or driveways.

Some businesses cannot get a snowplough to their property in severe snow but already have a forklift on-site. In this case, the vehicle can be used and clear the snow so the company can continue running.

Why Forklifts Are Vital

Before forklifts were around, humankind utilised whatever materials they could when transporting heavy goods. Ropes, cables, hoists, and other pulley systems were used at the expense of human resources. Of course, this isn't efficient in the slightest. 

Workforces will tire quickly, and fewer materials are moved compared to when using machinery. Of course, there's also the occupational safety of your workers to be aware of, and any machinery can aid in keeping people safer. 

When the war broke out in 1914, there was significantly less workforce than ever before, and there was a need for an alternative. Worksites across the country needed new material handling equipment where their staff had been halved. 

This is where hiring forklifts became more common, as industrial and commercial sites realised their potential. Towards the end of the Second World War, forklifts were used everywhere and are now as widespread as we see now. Since then, of course, more and more adjustments have been made to ensure that forklifts are as versatile as possible and are safe for those using them.

Musculoskeletal injuries sustained from heavy lifting and extensive, strenuous hours on-site are now a thing of the past. While a hand truck can serve smaller loads and smaller distances, it will still add up to bodily strain. 

As a business owner, having forklifts on your site will significantly speed up workflow and delivery of projects. Any loading and unloading can benefit from using a forklift, but of course, training must be provided before an operator can enter the vehicle.

Many are run on diesel or petrol, so your site must have access to those regularly, but some forklifts can also be powered by battery or electricity. Of course, electric-ran forklifts will benefit smaller indoor spaces. 

The Industrial Uses For Forklifts

Speciality Uses

Forklifts aren't exclusively for the use of commercial or industrial sites, though. As time progresses, more modifications and attachments are being designed that provide forklifts with specialist uses.

Some interesting attachments and models worthy of note are:


A Telehandler forklift, which acts as a cross between a crane and forklift. 

This forklift is perfect for moving building materials much higher than possible by using its attachable boom and extendable arm. 

Typically this type of forklift can lift materials up to 20feet in the air, ideal for small construction sites. 

Pallet Jacks

Pallet Jacks are a truly unique style of forklift. Operating as a handheld item, this isn't something that is operated by sitting in a chamber. 

They are much smaller and are used for narrow jobs that a normal forklift would never be able to succeed in. 

Due to this, they cannot lift as heavy loads, but manoeuvrability is drastically increased. 

Broom Attachments

Broom Attachments are also popular and are used to clean, sweep or mop larger amounts of floor. 

Most commonly used in warehouses, car parks, or streets, these attachments are excellent for quickly cleaning areas. 


Many more forklifts are being developed, and as we evolve into new businesses and requirements, so will the machines we use. However, as long as material handling remains a large part of our society, so will forklifts. 

Do you use forklift trucks in your industry? If you require forklift truck servicing and maintenance in Stowmarket and Suffolk contact us today. Follow the link below to find out more.