Forklift Safety

Forklift Training And Certification Fall Protection

Forklifts are highly energized equipment and if not handled properly can lead to multiple incidents. Forklift incidents are the leading cause of incidents of severe injuries in industrial settings.

Industry Requirements

Forklift Safety Training & Audits

Forklift training can help prevent accidents and injuries in the workplace. Proper training ensures that forklift operators understand how to operate the machinery safely and how to recognize and avoid potential hazards. Accidents involving forklifts can be costly in terms of property damage, lost productivity, and workers’ compensation claims. By investing in forklift training, companies can reduce these costs and improve their bottom line. Well-trained forklift operators are more efficient and productive. They can move materials quickly and safely, helping to increase throughput and reduce downtime. Forklift training is required by law in many jurisdictions. By providing training, companies can ensure that they are in compliance with regulations and avoid fines or other penalties.

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Note: For many years, Forklift violations have been among the top 10 OSHA violations in the country. These violations come under the category of Powered truck violations(CFR: (1910.178)). Specific categories of violations include Unsafe Operation, Failure to provide refresher training by employers to employees, missing/inadequate operator certification, Failure to remove unsafe trucks from the operation, and no pre-operation inspections. It’s important to note that OSHA does not certify trainers, but it does approve training programs and courses that are taught by OSHA-authorized trainers.

Safety Program Set Up

Training, maintenance and operational procedures for forklift safety.

Forklifts are powerful industrial vehicles used for lifting, transporting, and stacking materials in various settings. Due to their capabilities and the environment in which they operate, forklifts pose potential hazards. To ensure forklift safety, it’s important to implement proper training, maintenance, and operational procedures. Here are key guidelines for forklift safety:

  1. Operator Training:
    • Ensure that only trained and authorized operators operate forklifts.
    • Provide comprehensive training on safe operating procedures, including load handling, steering, and braking.
  2. Pre-Operational Checks:
    • Conduct pre-shift inspections to check forklifts for any defects or issues before use.
    • Address and resolve any identified problems promptly.
  3. Maintenance and Inspections:
    • Establish a regular maintenance schedule for forklifts to ensure proper functioning.
    • Conduct regular inspections to identify and address wear and tear.
  4. Load Capacity and Stability:
    • Clearly communicate load capacity limits to operators.
    • Ensure that loads are stable and properly positioned on the forks.
    • Avoid overloading the forklift.
  5. Safe Operating Speeds:
    • Enforce speed limits and safe driving practices within the workplace.
    • Encourage operators to adjust their speed based on the load and the operating environment.
  6. Pedestrian Safety:
    • Clearly mark pedestrian walkways and ensure that they are separate from forklift routes.
    • Implement communication systems, such as horns or lights, to alert pedestrians of approaching forklifts.
  7. Seat Belts:
    • Ensure that all forklifts are equipped with functional seat belts.
    • Operators should use seat belts at all times when operating the forklift.
  8. Proper Visibility:
    • Ensure clear lines of sight for operators by keeping loads at a safe height.
    • Install mirrors or cameras to enhance visibility, especially when moving in reverse.
  9. Refueling and Charging:
    • Follow proper procedures for refueling or recharging forklifts, and do so in designated areas.
    • Avoid smoking or open flames in these areas to prevent the risk of fire.
  10. Parking and Shutdown Procedures:
    • Park forklifts in designated areas when not in use.
    • Engage parking brakes and lower forks to the ground before shutting down the forklift.
  11. Emergency Procedures:
    • Train operators on emergency procedures, including how to respond to spills, accidents, or equipment malfunctions.
    • Ensure the availability of emergency equipment, such as fire extinguishers.
  12. Operator Behavior:
    • Discourage risky behavior, such as stunt driving or carrying passengers.
    • Encourage operators to report any issues with the forklift promptly.
  13. Documentation:
    • Keep records of forklift inspections, maintenance, and operator training.
    • Use these records to track and address any recurring issues.
  14. Proximity to Power Lines:
    • Be aware of the crane’s proximity to power lines and maintain a safe distance to prevent electrocution.
    • Use spotter personnel to help ensure safe clearances.
  15. Outrigger Use and Ground Stability:
    • Deploy outriggers properly to ensure stability.
    • Avoid operating cranes on unstable or uneven ground.
  16. Boom Position and Swing Radius:
  17. Be mindful of the crane’s boom position and swing radius to avoid collisions with structures, equipment, or other cranes.
  18. Establish exclusion zones to keep workers and equipment away from potential hazards.
  19. Ensure that aerial lifts are equipped with guardrails and entry gates.
  20. Keep entry gates closed while the lift is in use.


Building a Safer Workplace

Forklift, Crane, and Aerial Lift Safety Guidelines

By adhering to these guidelines, employers can create a safer working environment for forklift, Crane, and Aerial lift operations, reducing the risk of accidents and injuries. Regular training, communication, and a strong safety culture are essential components of an effective forklift safety program.