7 Tips for Operating a Forklift Safely

Due to an increase in forklift accidents, forklift training is especially important for anyone in this line of work. Accidents can have serious consequences to employees and the companies they work for. Some of the reasons behind the increase in accidents is due to:

  • Driver error
  • Poor visibility
  • Excessive noise

Below are a 7 tips for operating a forklift safely.


First and foremost, proper training is necessary prior to operating a forklift.

Quick Check

Before operating a forklift, do a routine check. Make sure that the brakes work, tires are in good condition, and steering works well, at a minimum. If you are in doubt about the operation of a forklift, report your concerns to your supervisor.

Wearing Appropriate Clothing

  • Standard wear includes a hard hat, hi-visibility jackets and safety shoes.
  • Clothing should fit properly with no loose areas that could get caught in machinery.

Before Starting a Forklift

  • Ensure the forklift is in it’s designated area.
  • Make sure it’s not near the edge of a loading dock or in an area where it can fall off an edge.

Safe Speed

  • Take corners very slowly to avoid tipping
  • Do not exceed the speed limit

Avoiding Hazards

  • Avoid slippery surfaces, bumps and uneven ground surfaces
  • Do not drive over loose objects. This can cause the forklift load to shift and you risk losing control of the vehicle.
  • Likewise, when approaching a corner use your horn to alert people in the area.

Evenly Distribute the Load

  • Do not lift a load with only one fork.
  • Make sure both forks are under the load before lifting.
  • Do not exceed the capacity of the forklift. Overloading a forklift can cause the rear tires to raise off the ground and the forklift can tip over.

This is by no means an exclusive list. These 7 tips on operating a forklift safely should be kept in mind but proper forklift training  will ensure that accidents are kept to a minimum.

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