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The Top Safety Tips to Remember When Operating a Forklift

Did you know that in 2017, there were 74 fatal injuries due to accidents involving forklifts? The sad part is that many of them, like most workplace accidents, were avoidable. 

Safely operating a forklift every time will help keep a lot of people safe.

Read on for some great safety tips you can put to use on your next job.

Safety Tips for Operating a Forklift

Even if you have years of experience operating a forklift, it’s recommended that you review a regular forklift safety tips regularly.

OSHA also requires refresher training and evaluation in some situations, such as after driving in an unsafe manner or being in an accident or near-miss incident.

Operators must undergo Certification and training on how to drive a forklift. The operator also must be over 18 years of age.

Whether you are using a forklift rental or your company’s forklift, let’s review some tips on how to operate a forklift safely.

Pre-Shift Forklift Inspection

Inspecting a forklift before use is essential for safety, and includes checking both the forklift’s exterior and the interior of the cab. 

For the exterior, check the condition of the forks and tires. Make sure the fluid levels are correct. Inspect all safety devices, including the seat belt.

Inside the cab, buckle your seat belt. Then check the position of the mirrors and confirm the forklift is properly parked before starting the engine. 

With the engine running, proceed to make sure all gauges and the horn are working. Also, inspect the mechanisms involved in steering, loading, and tilting of a load. 

Handling Loads

Loading and unloading is a dangerous time in forklift operations.

Before loading, inspect the load for damage and confirm that it doesn’t exceed the load rating for the forklift. 

Position the forks completely under the load before picking it up. Lift the load just enough to clear obstacles on the floor only.

Do not tilt the load unless you are loading or unloading. The load must remain stable and positioned over the load center at all times.

Avoiding Collisions with People and Objects

Do not let anyone else ride on your forklift unless the forklift came with a designated seat for a passenger.

To limit the chances of collisions, drive under the imposed speed limit and make sure your visibility remains unobstructed. Slow down whenever it’s necessary. Honk anywhere you lose full visibility, such as cross-aisles or turning corners.

Stop the forklift if anyone gets between you and a wall or other spot that doesn’t allow the person to escape in-between.

Use extreme caution when driving near ramps and loading docks, since these are both areas where forklift tip-overs are more common.

Keep other people away from your forks or your load (especially if you think it might be unstable). 

Securing and Parking a Forklift

Do not park a forklift in a way that will block emergency vehicles or exits.

For forklift safety, every time you exit a forklift, lower the forks as much as possible. Set the parking brake and set the forklift to neutral.

To ensure that only authorized people use the forklift, always turn off the engine and remove the keys.

Safety First, Every Time

Any time you’re operating a forklift, safety needs to be at the forefront of your mind. 

Even for a quick job, don’t skip these safety tips. You risk injuring yourself or someone else if you do.

Be sure to bookmark our website to help you return for more great tips on how to run your business. Also, check out our forms and templates to help make your business run smoother and easier.