These Safety Tips Forklift Operators Must Keep In Mind

Forklifts play an essential role in retail outlets, warehouses, and other businesses throughout the world. Thousands of these powered-industrial trucks are in operation, helping employees stay efficient, productive and organized.

Safety Tips Forklift Operators

Despite how warehouses and material handling industries are improving efficiency and safety at workplaces, forklift-related accidents are still on the newspaper headlines. According to stats, 11% of forklifts involve in accidents every year, including workers crushed by vehicle tipping over, crushed between two vehicles, struck or ran over by a forklift, struck by falling material and falling from a platform on the forks.

So, how to stay safe while operating forklifts?

Follow these four tips for operating forklift equipment safely:

Follow Pre-Shift Inspection before Operation

Performing a proper pre-shift inspection will help determine any potential problem that can arise with the equipment during work. Following are the things you should inspect:

  • Tires
  • Forks
  • Hydraulic hoses
  • Piston
  • Carriage
  • Chain
  • Propane tank
  • Seat belt
  • Emergency brake
  • Radiator
  • Other Controls

A pre-shift inspection will help you know if there is any part that needs to be changed or repaired or whether or not your forklift needs service or a red tag until repair.

Forklift Operators Must Be Properly Trained

One of the best safety tips for proper operation of forklifts is to ensure that every operator is properly trained and certified. Even if the new employee has experience in driving forklifts, they still need to have forklift certification so that they can work on every new equipment as well.

Some of the aspects that are covered under training are:

  • Lifting capacity
  • Speed
  • Load stability
  • Travelling on slopes

Know the Possible Fuel Hazards

Internal combustion engine: If you are working indoors, choose your forklift type wisely. Internal combustion engine produce carbon monoxide, which is why gas and diesel forklifts might not be the correct choice for indoor operations. Or, if you do use them, make sure to have proper ventilation, opening overhead doors, and large spaces to alleviate the impacts of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Electric forklift: while electric forklifts don’t produce harmful fumes, you need to ensure that your employees are trained on proper handling of batteries. You also need to install well ventilated charging stations.

Propane: LPG and propane are highly flammable, so, make sure to have firefighting processes executed during their use and storage.

Assess Workplace Surroundings

Not only forklift inspection is important, but the work area needs to be safe as well. Things you should get asses to have safe workplace surroundings include:

  • Any possible leakage that could be dangerous
  • Debris on the aisles that can obstruct the safety of workers
  • Overhead obstacles
  • An uneven floor that might cause forklift tipping
  • Corners and confined spaces that are tricky to navigate – installing safety mirrors can render greater visibility as well as protect your workers from colliding.


Once the operative’s shift ends, the lift truck must be placed to it’s designated area. There must be good communication between all operators and supervisors if there is a change in work applications and worker shifts!

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Article Author Details

Michelle Jones