Forklift Safety

Forklifts are excellent labor saving devices. They save time and reduce the likelihood of injury associated with manual material handling activities. However, forklifts can become very dangerous if operated by a reckless or untrained operator.


  • Perform a visual and operational check of the forklift at the start of the shift.
  • Keep forks pointed uphill when traveling with a load on an incline.
  • Place forks as far under the load as possible.  Drive with load against heel of rack with mast tilted back.  Be sure forks are spaced correctly to support load.
  • Carry load as low as possible
  • Keep forks pointed downhill when traveling without a load on an incline.
  • Travel in reverse when load is blocking frontal vision.
  • Sound horn and slow down when approaching pedestrians, doorways, rows aisles, ramps and other forklifts.
  • Keep pedestrians away and raise and lower the load smoothly. Any elevated load is hazardous.
  • Stop when a group of people are waking across the route being traveled: lower the load to the floor, and wait until the people get by before proceeding.
  • Watch out for pedestrians, avoid driving a forklift up to anyone who is standing in front of a bench or other fixed object.
  • Stay constantly alert to changing or unusual conditions.
  • Always be prepared to stop.
  • Whenever anything develops that affects the normal operation of the forklift, tell the supervisor immediately.
  • Report any accidents promptly to supervisor, immediately.
  • Use only approved personnel platforms, securely fastened to the forks to elevate anyone. Reduce speed when doors, corners and elevations restrict vision. Keep to right unless plant conditions or layout dictate otherwise.
  • Park forklift with controls in neutral, brakes applied and forks in a down position with the motor switched off.
  • Keep hands, arms, head and feet and legs inside the confines of a moving forklift.
  • Observe and obey the load capacity of the forklift.


  1. Do not leave forklifts running inside for long periods of time without ventilation.
  2. Do not handle steering wheel if your hands or gloves are greasy or slippery.
  3. Do not try to move or adjust any part of the load, the forklift or the surroundings when on the forklift.
  4. Do not move loads that are piled or stacked poorly.
  5. Do not lift a load that extends above the load backrest unless no part of the load can possibly slide back toward the operator.
  6. Do not allow anyone but the operator to ride on the forklift.
  7. Do not use pallets elevated by forklifts as an improvised working platform.
  8. Do not permit anyone to stand or walk under the elevated part of any forklift, whether loaded or unloaded.
  9. Do not allow anyone to stand, walk or work under elevated forks.