10 simple tips for operating a forklift safely


It’s easy to take for granted that operating a forklift will be a safe and easy activity, mainly because these machines are usually driven clear of many other vehicles - unlike driving a car on the road. We all have horror stories about incidents that happen while driving, but there’s also danger in operating a forklift without taking proper safety precautions.   

As specialists in workplace safety for all forklift and materials handling equipment, RTE has set out a few safety tips to help keep the workplace safe. 

  1. Make sure you are adequately trained and qualified as an operator

Forklift operators are required to be licensed professionals, with the relevant theoretical knowledge and practical skills to operate the equipment safely. Take the step to undergo training and licensing processes. 

  1. Ensure that your forklift is serviced regularly

The law requires the maintenance of safe and healthy conditions in workplace environments - this includes vehicles, such as forklifts. 

  1. Make sure that you’re kitted up

Before you even board a forklift, you need to ensure that you are dressed in appropriate safety gear. Wear well-fitted, basic safety work wear, which includes a reflector jacket, safety shoes and a hard hat. 

  1. Make sure you conduct a pre-inspection before every trip

Check that everything in your forklift is in place and working properly - report any defects to the relevant persons for repairs. 

  1. Ensure your load is even, stable and secure

Goods must be loaded securely and evenly onto the forklift to make for stable operation. 

  1. Use the forklift to do only what it has been designed for

Horseplay and other inappropriate use of a forklift can result in injury and even death.   

  1. Don’t drive too fast

Maintain a safe speed and slow down when turning corners. 

  1. Be wary on dangerous surfaces

Avoid uneven, wet or slippery surfaces. Drive extra carefully if you cannot avoid these surfaces. 

  1. Pay attention to your surroundings

Be aware of large objects and other vehicles around you, and drive in reverse if your vision is obscured by a load. 

  1. Park in the designated area once you’re done

Switch off the forklift, apply the parking brake and leave the forks lowered to the floor. 

Thousands of accidents happen in the workplace every year. Follow these tips to make sure you know how to use a forklift safely so you don’t become another statistic.


Related Tag: Forklift Safety Training

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  • Daniel C