Forklift Safety Tips to Avoid Injuries

Forklift Safety Tips to Avoid Injuries
Published On:May 22, 2021 Revised On:December 28, 2023

Capable of enhancing work productivity and speeding up processes, the forklift is one of the most widely used equipment on the job site for lifting and transporting loads with deft and precision.

However, running any industrial machine carries a certain amount of risk. It is critical to obey all worksite rules, signs, and regulations while using a forklift, and crews should be trained in proper safety procedures. Here are some best practices to help monitor the working environment to prevent forklift accidents.

Forklift Safety Tips

Forklift-related accidents are among the most common incidents in warehouses and industrial settings. Implementing and adhering to safety tips is an effective way to reduce these accidents. Fewer accidents mean fewer workplace disruptions, lower medical costs, and improved productivity.

Forklift accidents can also cause substantial property damage. Dropped loads, collisions, and tipping incidents can damage goods, equipment, and infrastructure. Adhering to safety tips helps protect valuable assets and avoids costly repairs or replacements.

Examine Forklift Before Use

Before operating, operators should regularly inspect the equipment, and forklifts should be examined thoroughly before each use. It is recommended to check in with the shift supervisor daily to recognise and log any issues or defects. The following are some of the suggested checks:

  • Test operating controls (brakes, lights, horn, and steering wheel)
  • Check mast and overhead guard for damages
  • Check for water, oil, or radiator leak
  • Check for potential hazards
  • Check fluid and tire levels (hydraulic, brake, engine, fuel, and coolant)
  • Ensure the forks are in good condition (straight, no cracks, no distortion)

If there are any noted damages or problems, the manager should be notified, and the forklift should not be operated if repairs are required.

Be Aware of the Surroundings

Always be aware of the surrounding equipment on the job site. Paying attention and obeying all instructions while using a forklift are critical worksite rules. The forklift should only be driven on marked roadways, and it should only be operated close to other machinery if required.

When entering or exiting buildings, consider all signs, particularly those indicating maximum permitted floor loadings and clearance heights. Be mindful of the distance of the forklift’s load, mast, and overhead guard. Remember to keep a safe distance to allow sufficient space, stop safely, and stay away from other machines that are moving unpredictably.

proximity alert sensor can prevent these issues with collision avoidance alarms. The forklift sensor addresses this by alerting everyone only when dangerously close to a moving vehicle. As a forklift safety pedestrian warning system, it effectively and efficiently prevents workplace accidents.

Ensure Loads are Stable & Secured

Forklift

Always double-check loads for balance and damage before placing them on the loading dock. Ensure loads are stacked and positioned across both forks properly before driving, with the load tilted backwards while keeping the forks as low as possible to improve the equipment’s stability, particularly while navigating ramps.

If applicable, secure stacks and heavy loads with protecting measures such as ropes or bindings, and make sure any pallets or skids used are the right weight for the load.

Operate at a Safe Speed

Operating a forklift at a safe and controlled speed is fundamental to forklift safety. The speed at which a forklift is driven significantly affects its stability, the operator’s ability to react to unexpected obstacles, and the likelihood of accidents.

The operating speed of a forklift should always be adjusted to suit the environment. Slow down when working in crowded or confined spaces or when pedestrians are present to ensure everyone’s safety. Only operate at a slightly higher speed in areas with good visibility and minimal obstacles.

Most workplaces set specific speed limits for forklifts, and adhering to them is essential. These limits are typically based on factors like the facility’s layout, the presence of pedestrians, and the type of loads being handled. Exceeding these speed limits can lead to accidents and violate workplace safety regulations. Do not stop or change directions abruptly; take corners and turns slowly to reduce the chances of tipping. Should the forklift tip over, stay seated and hold the steering wheel while bracing both feet.

Avoid Hazards

Forklift operators must thoroughly understand the forklift driving environment, as any unseen bumps in the road will cause damage to the truck. Avoid rough ground conditions or loose objects that could result in a loss of control over the machinery. When approaching a corner, doorway, entrance, or people, use the horn to warn pedestrians or other forklift operators of the forklift’s location to prevent unwanted collisions.

Always maintain a safe operating distance from other forklifts and ensure enough space to stop safely. Avoid standing or walking under a load, lifting mechanism, or forklift attachment for pedestrians since loads can fall off and hit someone below. Keep hands and feet clear of the forklift mast, which can cause severe damage if it moves.

Maintain Clear Visibility

Maintaining good visibility is another critical responsibility for forklift operators. Keep forks low to provide good forward visibility. Ensure a clear view of the rack when positioning the load and operate the machine in reverse if the load limits the visibility.

If visibility is low and the ability to see is impaired, pull over and ask for help from a lookout. A forklift management platform can help optimum real-time visibility of all equipment, operators, and inventory movement. It enables warehouse processes to operate more effectively and safely by combining this visibility with driver safety information and other reportable data.

Park Forklift at the End of the Day

The workplace should have designated parking areas for forklifts. Always park the forklift in the designated spot when it’s not in use. Avoid parking in walkways, fire exits, or other high-traffic areas that could impede the flow of people and materials.

The company must ensure that the parking areas do not hinder pathways, exits, or entrances. Lower the forks or any attachments to the ground before parking. This lowers the forklift’s centre of gravity, enhancing stability and preventing the load from falling during storage.

When using a forklift, never leave it running unattended. Apply the parking brake, switch off the engine, and remove the key from the ignition after lowering the forks until they are on the floor. Ensure all controls, including the accelerator and lift functions, are neutral. This prevents unintended movement when the forklift is started the next day.

How to Improve Workplace Safety?

Enhance and make workplace safety simple with Stream Peak’s forklift safety solutions that minimise damage and injury risks. Our forklift safety system provides vehicle operators with an audible and visual alert near other forklifts. It also provides an exceptional truck-to-truck collision avoidance system, which helps to reduce one of the most common types of accidents in the workplace. 

The forklift fleet management System allows vehicle access control and operation monitoring. This impact and utilisation tracking device are designed to keep forklift-centric environments in mind, which can reduce damages and injury costs when integrated into forklift safety procedures. Contact us to learn more about ensuring workplace safety and increasing productivity.