Forklifts are dangerous pieces of machinery. In 2020 alone, forklift accidents were responsible for 7,290 non-fatal injuries and 78 deaths. 

One cannot simply hop into a forklift and drive away without the proper training. So, how does one learn to operate a forklift safely? With the proper training, of course. 

But, before your training, use this guide to explore all the tips you need to know for appropriate forklift operation. 

Wear the Appropriate Clothing

Before operating a forklift, you must dress appropriately. You should always wear hi-visibility jackets or vests. This ensures other members of staff can always see you.

You should also wear safety shoes and hard hats in working areas. In addition, avoid wearing loose-fitting clothing or accessories. Clothing may get caught in machinery, which can cause serious injury.

Load and Equipment Checks

Before starting your forklift, ensure that your hands are clean and dry. Next, you should perform the appropriate forklift safety checks

Always inspect your vehicle before starting it. Check the following:

  • Tires
  • Steering
  • Controls
  • Forks
  • Breaks
  • Warning lights

If you notice damage to any of these systems, do not drive the forklift. Instead, report all forklift problems by following your company’s protocol.

Ensure your seatbelt is appropriately strapped, your mirrors are in the appropriate position, and you can reach all controls comfortably.

It is important not to drive until you are certain your load is properly secured. Distribute the weight of your load evenly across both forks, and ensure it does not go beyond the size guidelines set by your company.

Appropriate Forklift Operation While Moving

Always check your surroundings before and during forklift operation. Keep your distance from other people, vehicles, and structures. 

Take note of any obstacles that could stand in your way. It is pivotal to remain vigilant throughout forklift operations.

The best thing you can do is think ahead. This helps you ensure you have the appropriate space to stop before injury or damage can occur.

Safely Unloading the Forklift

Again, vigilance is important. Be sure you are aware of your surroundings before unloading. You should be able to see the racking where you will unload your cargo. 

In instances where visibility is poor, you can try reversing the forklift to see better. If you find you still can’t see, stop forklift operations immediately.

Prioritizing Everyone’s Safety

As a forklift operator, you are responsible for your safety and the safety of those around you. Never allow anyone to walk near or under the forklift’s forks. Additionally, you should never leave an unattended forklift running.

When finished with your job, be sure to return the forklift to its proper location, place it in park, and remove the key. 

Regular Forklift Maintenance

Ensuring your forklift is in good condition is part of operating it safely. Damage to your forklift could result in malfunctioning parts and bodily injury. 

Always keep an eye out for common signs that forklift maintenance is needed. 

Protect Yourself, Protect Your Team

Following the appropriate safety guidelines for forklift operation is essential to keeping everyone on your team safe. Injuries from heavy machinery can be devastating. 

If you find your forklift in need of maintenance or new machinery, contact us. We can help ensure your forklift remains in proper working order for maximum safety.