10 Tips for Forklift Safety

Powered industrial trucks, such as forklifts, are essential to dozens of industries. But using them safely is critically important.

According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, roughly 1 of every 10 forklifts in the U.S. will be involved in an accident every year, resulting in 20,000 serious injuries and 100 deaths.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reports that forklift tip-overs are the leading cause of forklift fatalities accounting for approximately 25 percent of all forklift-related deaths; while almost 80 percent of forklift accidents involve a pedestrian.

Here are some tips to stay safe while operating a forklift.

  1. Only trained, authorized, and licensed individuals should operate a forklift. The National Forklift Foundation has an easy-to-use website for individuals and organizations to get proper certifications in their state.
  2. Inspect forklifts regularly prior to starting work.
  3. Only operate the forklift in designated areas.
  4. Follow designated speed limits, and do not start, stop, or change direction suddenly.
  5. Forklifts are only for carrying loads. Do not carry people on the forklift.
  6. Keep a safe distance from pedestrians. Make sure you always have enough room to stop safely.
  7. Secure both forks under the load before moving a forklift.
  8. Carry loads low to the floor.
  9. Watch for any changes in the operating environment including clearing heights, surfaces, and loading docks.
  10. Always wear a seatbelt when operating a forklift.

By taking a few simple precautions, you can keep your workplace safe.

Learn more about South Shore Health’s Injury Prevention Program.