10 rules of forklift safety explained

Forklift safety

Forklift safety training tips

Did you know forklift accidents can cause severe injury and even death? When operating any heavy equipment, safety should always take first priority. Along with proper forklift safety training, the following tips will help keep your staff and workplace safe.

1. Only trained and qualified employees should operate forklifts.

Forklift safety training includes the basics of operating a forklift, driving and steering, safely lifting and depositing loads, and navigating through tricky areas. The only people who should be operating a forklift are employees with authorization and proper training, even if it is a two-minute job to move the forklift a few feet away. Operators need to be authorized to run the forklift and trained in the specific operating rules and equipment model.

2.Inspect the forklift before using it

Before using the forklift, always make sure to inspect the forklift thoroughly. The equipment should be in good working condition with no repairs required. This inspection is outlined by the manufacturer and can be found in the equipment manual.

3.Use at a reasonable speed

The purpose of a forklift is to safely transport goods from one place to the next efficiently and safely. The faster the speed is, the greater the risk of injury to the operator and others. Slow down on turns and steadily change direction when needed.

4. Be mindful of your surroundings

Be aware of any holes, bumps, or slippery floors. Clear away any debris and small objects before continuing through your path.

Forklift safety tips Forklift safety tips

5. Wear appropriate clothing

Avoid loose clothing that can get caught in the equipment. It’s recommended that the person operating a forklift wear a high visibility vest or jacket, a hard hat, and proper safety shoes.

6. Always load up facing the heaviest part of the machine

When driving up or down a ramp, the direction of travel is dependent on the forklift carrying a load or travelling without the load. The general rule is that the heaviest end of the machine is orientated up slope.

For example, if the operator is going up an incline and is carrying a load, then they can drive forward up the incline with the heaviest part of the machine going up. If they are driving up slope without a load, then the heaviest part of the machine is the counterweight in the back and they should travel backwards up the slope. This avoids a potentially dangerous rollover accident.

7.Always follow proper load technique

Never push or pull a load with fork tips, lift loads above the suggested weight, or attempt to use a counterweight. Loads should always be secured and attached properly. Never load or unload goods while on a ramp. Remember, it’s always better to take extra precautions than to have a load potentially fall on someone and cause serious injury.

8. Be mindful of other people

While operating a forklift, always keep an eye on other workers. As the trained driver, you are responsible for the safety of others. Never allow anyone to walk or stand under a load and be sure to communicate directly with anyone who tries to fool around with the forklift.

9. Avoid abrupt stops

Sudden stops can shift the load you’re carrying and potentially cause the forklift to tip over. This highlights the importance of staying at a good speed in case you do need to stop for safety reasons.

10. Always park at a designated spot

A forklift should have a designated parking spot at the end of the day. Before leaving the equipment, make sure that it’s placed in park, the engine is off, and do a walk-around inspection.