Forklift operators have a big responsibility to do their job safely, as a forklift can be a dangerous piece of machinery: Almost 100,000 workers are injured in forklift-related incidents each year.

With that sobering statistic in mind, below is a short list of essential safety tips for forklift operators.

Before operation

First and foremost, forklifts should only be used by trained, certified operators.

An operator should be wearing appropriate clothing before getting into a forklift. This typically includes protective work wear, a hard hat and eye protection. All clothing should be clean and fit reasonably well.

Before stating up a forklift, operators must do a routine exam of the equipment. Workers should look for issues with brakes, steering, lift controls, lights, sounds and tires. If any damages or issues are found, management ought to be informed and the forklift should not be used until problems are corrected.

Driving the forklift

The operator should use steps and hand grabs when seating themselves in the forklift. Prior to starting the forklift, it’s crucial to make certain all controls are within reach, the seat is in its proper position and mirrors are adjusted. The operator should not switch on the forklift until they are seated with all body parts inside cabin and their safety belt is fastened.

Forklift operators need to be aware of any site-specific guidelines and only drive into designated areas. Operators should be aware of all signs related to forklift use, particularly those on maximum floor loadings and clearance heights. Drivers should also be conscious of the height of every load, as well as the mast and overhead guard of the forklift when passing through doors. Operators should use extreme caution when using a forklift near the side of a loading dock or ramp. Forklifts should not be used on bridge plates, unless they can support the weight of both the forklift and load.

When carrying loads

An operator should always know the weight and size capacities for their forklift, and never exceed them.

Before moving any load, it should be checked for steadiness and damage. It is critical to make sure that the load is set back at an angle with the forks seated low while transporting, as this increases steadiness. Operators should check for overhead obstruction before raising or stacking loads. Loads should be properly stacked and situated across both forks, using ropes or bindings if necessary.

Forklifts should never be used to transport people. If a person has to be lifted, it should be in a securely connected platform and cage that was made for use with a forklift. Operators should ensure people keep away from the mast and never let anyone walk under elevated forks.

At Action Group Staffing, we regularly have great opportunities available for job seekers, including forklift operator positions. If you are currently looking to take the next step on your career path, please contact us today to find out how we can help.

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