Forklift safety is the number one concern for all forklift operators as well as management at any company that utilizes forklifts.

The first step toward achieving forklift safety in any environment is to make sure all employees go through an OSHA forklift training class. Once forklift certification is achieved, all drivers need to observe the following safety rules at all times.

Forklift Safety Tip #1: Never leave keys in an unattended forklift. This is to prevent unauthorized use of the forklift. This is one of the top causes of forklift accidents. Accidents caused by unlicensed drivers will likely not be covered under any insurance policy. The company may even face stiff fines.

Forklift Safety Tip #2: If the forklift has seat belts, they are there for a reason and must be worn.

Forklift Safety Tip #3: Drivers must do safety checks on the equipment before using it, paying close attention to tire inflation on all four tires.

Forklift Safety Tip #4: Whenever going into reverse, operators must look over shoulders, or when in limited visibility areas, they must use a spotter.

Forklift Safety Tip #5: Always sound your horn at entryways and blind corners.

Forklift Safety Tip #6: Never drive with the forks too high, this causes an unbalanced vehicles and is a leading cause of accidents.

Forklift Safety Tip #7: Always avoid operating a forklift near power lines and other electrical danger spots.

Forklift Safety Tip #8: Never use a forklift to lift people!

Forklift Safety Tip #9: Never use an iPod, cell phone or other electronic device including headphones when operating a forklift. You need to always be undistracted from the task at hand, and always able to hear other people and forklifts operating in your work area.

Forklift Safety Tip #10: Never use two forklifts to lift, carry or move a load. This may sound like common sense, but mishaps are common with this mistake.

Safety Tip #11: Never use drugs or alcohol before or during the operation of a forklift.

Safety Tip #12: Keep your speed under the posted speed limit. This limit is usually different for inside areas and outside areas. Get to know the limits in your workplace.

Safety Tip #13: Never park your vehicle in a doorway or other blind spot.

Safety Tip #14: Never lift a load that is heavier than the forklift is rated for. This is another leading cause of accidents.

Safety Tip #15: Always position loads properly, against the hell of the forklift arms.

Safety Tip #16: Always lower your speed when turning and don’t take turns with a raised load.

Safety Tip #17: Keep your forklift certification current by taking refresher training courses as required by state or federal law.

While these forklift safety tips are very important to understand and abide by, they represent only part of your responsibilities and duties as a forklift operator.

When forklift safety is not given the proper attention, inventory and jobs can be lost, and people can be injured or even killed. Every year forklift accidents kill people, so take safety seriously… the life you save could be your own.

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