Forklift Safety - Do's and Don’ts

Forklift Safety - Do's and Don’ts

Operating a forklift may seem like a relatively straightforward task, especially if you aren't new to the profession. Unfortunately, becoming too comfortable operating a forklift can lead to complacency when it comes to vehicle safety. To avoid accidents caused by having a lax approach, ALWAYS be attentive to the potential dangers of operating a forklift.

Supporting a safety-first mindset is important, so operator training needs to be ongoing.  Also, while operating a forklift, be sure to follow these safe traveling and maneuvering guidelines.


  • Be sure to familiarize yourself with the vehicle's operator manual before you begin.
  • Utilize the three point method for mounting and dismounting. You should have two feet and a hand or two hands and a foot in contact with the vehicle at all times.
  • Make sure your arms and legs are inside the vehicle at all times, and always use the operator’s restraint system.
  • Be sure to conduct a pre-operation inspection. [1] Also, perform an operational check [2] after starting the engine.
  • Use the vehicle’s horn at intersections, and when faced with other vehicles, pedestrians, and difficult to maneuver corners.
  • Slow down on surfaces that may be difficult to navigate, especially those are wet and slippery.
  • Look all around before moving and look in the direction of travel.
  • Always stay in approved areas and make sure that you have a clear path of travel.
  • Ensure that all operating surfaces are capable of supporting your vehicle, your load, and yourself before operating the forklift.
  • Always keep a minimum of three vehicle distances in between any operational forklifts when driving in the same direction.


  • Never grab the steering wheel when mounting or dismounting because it could cause you to lose balance if it moves.
  • Do not make on the go directional changes with a load, and cross rough surfaces such as railroad tracks at an angle.
  • Don't travel too fast for conditions.
  • Never run over loose objects on the roadway surface.
  • Do not assume pedestrians or bystanders can hear a backup alarm. Consider the noise level in your workplace.
  • Do not grab the overhead guard when traveling in reverse. Doing so could expose the operator's finger to serious injury.
  • Do not move with the load elevated
  • Never turn on a grade or with the forks elevated.
  • Do not carry passengers.

These traveling and maneuvering [3] guidelines are just some of the forklift safety procedures outlined by OSHA. At Action Lift, workplace safety is a top priority. Our Operator Training Systems can help assist in complying with OSHA regulations and minimize accidents in the workplace. All programs comply with OSHA 1910.178(1) and ANSI/SAIA requirements.  










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