Forklift Safety Essentials

Forklift safety is closely tied to stability and balance. A machine that tips can cause serious damage and injury. In some cases, this situation could risk the lives of those inside or near the forklift. The following list will help you prevent tipping and maintain good forklift stability!

Forklift Safety Tip 1: Know Your Forklift Model Specifications before Use

Maximum load capacity and vertical lift are a major part of tipping hazards. Make sure all operators know the capacity capabilities of the machine they are using. If the load is too heavy or large, try to break it down into manageable portions or find a more powerful forklift.

Forklift Safety Tip 2: Be Aware of Off Centre Forklift Loads

Loads should be centred on the forklift for optimum balance. A 2% difference in grade can cause an off centre load to lean and tip the entire machine. In the wrong conditions, a mere 20 mm could be the difference between safe operation and an accident.

Forklift Safety Tip 3: Only Use Dual Wheel Forklifts for Lifts Greater Than 4 Metres

If you need to lift loads over 4 metres, make sure you only use dual wheel forklifts. The extra tyres provide better stability that can manage the demands of higher elevations.

Forklift Safety Tip 4: Be Cautious when Operating a Forklift with a Jib Attached

A jib can increase the functionality of a forklift, but it also increases the tipping risk. When using a jib extension, remember to be extra cautious as you manoeuvre or lift loads.

Forklift Safety Tip 5: Safety Margins Drop When the Load is Fully Elevated

The safety margin of the forklift is 30% to 50% when the load is fully elevated. Operators should be mindful of this situation and use extreme caution while loads are suspended at maximum height.

Forklift Safety Tip 6: Do Not Carry Loads Forward Down a Slope or Ramp

Driving a forklift forward down a slope can cause it to lean forward and tip. Always guide the forklift and its load down slopes in reverse to maintain control and balance.

Forklift Safety Tip 7: Always Keep the Fork Lowered When Driving

Even if your forklift is unloaded, always drive it with the fork tines in a low position. Raised tines can impact the machine’s centre of balance and lead to a risky tipping situation.

Forklift Safety Tip 8: Know What’s Above You As You Operate a Forklift

Don’t forget to consider objects overhead as well as what’s on the ground level around you. Low hanging lights, beams, ceilings and other fixtures can catch on the mast and cause the forklift to tip or roll.

Forklift Safety Tip 9: Maintain Smooth Movement and Stopping

Always drive at safe speeds so you can stop and turn smoothly. Taking a bend quickly or stopping too fast can create uncontrollable momentum that rocks the forklift.

Forklift Safety Tip 10: Offer Formal Training for All Forklift Operators

Formal training will provide operators with the knowledge and hands-on instruction they need to master forklift safety. Informed forklift operators will create a safe, positive environment in any workplace.