6 Safety Tips for Forklift Operators

happy forklift driver

For many organizations in dozens of industries, forklifts and the people who operate them are the lifeblood of what they do. However, it is also important to note that forklifts can weigh more than three tons, reach a speed of 10 mph, and can do a lot of damage if not handled properly. Which is why today, we’d like to do our due diligence and help ensure that they are, in fact, managed properly, with these helpful and handy tips for forklift operators to stay safe.

You must be qualified

While many may think to themselves, “Hey, I can do that” in reality, it takes a trained and licensed man or women to operate a forklift. It is as simple as that.

Wear appropriate clothing

Think hard hat, boots, and hi-visibility clothing. After all, in many cases, you will be lifting items and freight that is dangerously heavy, so safety should always be top of mind, and that starts with wearing the right stuff. Also, try and avoid loose-fitting clothing as it is more prone to getting caught in machinery.

Always check the equipment before each use

Before you hop on your machine for the day, it is wise to give it a once over and look for any issues before you get started. Take your time, walk around it and look for anything out of place. While this may seem like a simple step, you’ll be amazed at what you can catch and when/if you do, it could make all the difference.

Starting the forklift

Before you get moving, you always want to check a few things first. Are all your instruments and controls within arm’s reach? Are you safely and securely seated? Are your mirrors adjusted? Every time you get into your machine, you should treat it as a motor vehicle, because that is precisely what it is.

Look around

Often, when it comes to operating a forklift, the most significant potential danger doesn’t come from the driver, or the machine, but rather, the environment they find themselves in. Always be aware of your surroundings when operating, and you have the right to refuse work if the environment is unsafe. Check for spills, unsafe racking, too many people in small areas, and any other situation that could lead to possible danger.

Slow down

While it can be tempting to put the peddle to the metal and have a little fun while working, it is paramount that you operate your machine at a safe speed. One of the most common causes of accidents on forklifts come from operators who were going too fast. So slow down and make sure you have the chance to work another day.

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4 thoughts on “6 Safety Tips for Forklift Operators

  1. It made sense when you said that loose-fitting clothing should be avoided because it has a higher risk of being caught in the machinery. My brother is thinking about hiring a forklift service to help him get all of the materials in place during his project next month. I think the info you shared in your article will help him find a forklift operator that’s knowledgeable and prioritizes safety!

  2. I like what you said about always being aware of your surroundings when operating a forklift. My brother has been telling me about how he wants to work with a forklift in the future. I’ll share this information with him so that he can be safe while using one.

  3. Thanks for the great advice about inspecting the machine to ensure it is safe to operate. My uncle was thinking about renting a forklift to have the office repainted and reach the highest points in the facility. I will pass him the tips and things to look out for when renting the lift, so thanks for the help.

  4. Thanks for explaining that an operator driving too fast is one of the most common causes of forklift accidents. My brother is looking for a used electric forklift for sale that he can use to organize materials on the site of his new commercial construction project. I’ll pass along these tips so he can make sure his workers understand the importance of maintaining safe forklift speed!

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