Forklift Safety

Last updated: May 15, 2024

What Does Forklift Safety Mean?

Forklift safety refers to the safe management of operations of forklifts for protecting operators and other employees working in the vicinity. This is done by following standard operation procedures, minimizing hazards, risks and accidents directly or indirectly related to forklift operations. Most of the hazards related to the forklift operations are arising from performance of the forklifts, type and characteristics of loads, areas of operation, handling of the forklift trucks and stowing of materials.

Safeopedia Explains Forklift Safety

Forklifts are widely used in industrial workplaces to lift and transport any load around the work space. Forklifts are dangerous if not operated safely. Forklift safety is, therefore, important to protect operators and other workers in the workplace from death, injuries and other accidents causing financial losses. Forklift operators must be trained when they’re hired and also periodically thereafter, and, upon completion, be provided with certificates for successful operators. Employers must ensure that operators are competent to operate the forklift safely, as demonstrated by the successful completion of the training and evaluation specified.

Hazards associated with forklifts generally arise from the following:

  • Operator’s competence – Certified or not, competence includes the mental conditions during operation, drug influence, physical fitness (vision, hearing, etc.)
  • Knowledge on the forklift capacity, its operation, and peculiarity if any
  • The capacity of the forklift – When the size and weight of the load being lifted exceed forklift capabilities
  • Characteristics of the load – Special characteristics of the load must be considered. Such as the load being top heavy, cylindrical, sphere shapes, etc.
  • Condition of the forklift – Whether the machine is operable or defective, whether it has sufficient fuel, hydraulic oil, hoist mechanism, steering, wheels and engine, etc.
  • Area of operation – Light and sound, obstacles, bumps, ramps, cross roads, other workers using the area or a narrow passageway, etc.


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