Top 11 Tips for Forklift Workplace Safety

Fork trucks are used in every type of facility. From fan factories to steel mills to aluminum fabrication plants. We encounter many different types of these forklifts and fork trucks daily. From electric forklifts to reach trucks to counterbalance forklifts, they are so common. So common in fact that it is easy to become complacent and forget just how dangerous they can be. That is why forklift workplace safety is important in all situations.

Stay Safe When Using a Forklift

forklift workplace safety
Forklift Workplace Safety

That is why it is important to be aware of the hazards associated with lifts to ensure forklift workplace safety. Forklifts are extremely versatile machines. They have numerous uses in the factory setting; from loading/unloading equipment from flatbed trucks to repositioning equipment. They move heavy objects into tight areas, quickly and seamlessly. A small forklift can weigh 10,000 lbs without the load, which is more than (2) Ford Explorer SUVs. Add a 3,000 lb load, and you can have a lot of momentum working for you . . . or against you.

Whenever you are working near operating forklift equipment, don’t assume the operator has you in sight. Let the operator know you are working in the area or use a barrier to create a safe zone. It is your responsibility to be noticed when working on fork trucks in a factory setting. Remember the fork trucks and lifts won’t get hurt if you run into it. Be responsible and be safe. Unfortunately, serious injuries do occur at the workplace, whether they are falls, being struck by objects or from machinery.

For fork truck operators is important to always know where your load is and how it is reacting. Know where you are in proximity to other personnel and equipment and don’t forget the significant hazard of power lines/energized equipment. Regulations require the training of operators to be trained and certified every three years. New employees are required to be trained before they are allowed to operate lifting equipment.

Top 11 Tips for Forklift Operators

  1. Watch your hands and feet. Stay clear of pinch points such as the wheels and lift gears.
  2. Stay inside the machine within the guards. Keep hands and feet inside the forklift.
  3. If your truck starts to tip over, DON’T JUMP! Stay in your seat, grip the wheel securely and brace yourself with your feet.
  4. Always look out for others when operating your forklift.
  5. Never walk or stand under raised forks.
  6. Do not allow anyone to ride with you on a lift. Do not lift anyone on the forks unless using a basket made for that purpose.
  7. Be aware that hydraulic fluid can leak from a forklift making the surrounding area slick. Prevent a slip and fall accident by inspecting the area.
  8. Absorbent mats are available to absorb leaks. Keep machines maintained to avoid this problem.
  9. Do not let unauthorized persons operate your lift and remove the key when unattended.
  10. Use your horn when backing up, at intersections, and when going through doors. Make yourself conspicuous anywhere you have limited or blocked vision.
  11. Use your seat belt and check that the warning lights and backup alarm work before operating the machine.
  12. Lastly, do not exceed equipment load rating.

Tips for Forklift Operators

Forklift Operators should consult a checklist to inspect critical lift equipment items before each use. This checklist needs to detail everything from the tires, tines, and brakes to the speedometer, horn, and lights. Making sure the equipment is in good working order is always step one in Forklift Workplace Safety.

At Moffitt, we always say safety is Job One. Following these tips is just one more step to ensuring forklift workplace safety. Get more safety tips from Moffitt at our blog.