Essential Safety Tips for Every Forklift Operator

safety tips for every forklift operator

Forklifts are no joke. They’re massive, heavy pieces of equipment that deserve respect and must be operated safely at all times. 

Did you know: The Occupational Health and Safety Administration says forklifts cause an estimated 34,900 injuries and 85 fatal incidents every year? At least a quarter of those could’ve been prevented with better training. 

Whether you’re new to the job or a seasoned professional, a refresher on how to safely operate a forklift can help keep you and your coworkers out of harm’s way.

Here are a few tips. 

1. Get certified.

It’s well worth your time to get certified in forklift operating as soon as possible. You’ll learn from trained, professional instructors how to properly maneuver a forklift, reducing the risk to yourself and those around you of workplace-related incidents that can result in injuries. It’s also a good idea to take supplemental training classes or brush up on safety procedures between getting your certification renewed every few years.

2. Wear the right protective gear.

Safety shoes are a must, as are helmets or hard hats. Any loose clothing could quickly become entangled and lead to serious injury, so keep clothing close but comfortable. Also, keep a brightly colored, reflective vest on while operating to help others see you. 

3. Inspect the forklift every day, before climbing in.

Make sure everything looks correct and in safe working order. If any service lights come on, address them, and make any repairs before getting to work. Don’t ignore warning lights, or you might have more significant problems on your hands later. Let your supervisor know of any issues that arise so they can be addressed quickly. 

4. Be aware of your surroundings.

Some places will have designated areas, outlined on the floor with tape or paint, in which forklifts can travel. Pay attention to who’s standing where and what you’re transporting to avoid causing injury. Never leave the keys in a forklift if you’re not driving it. Make sure the load is secure before moving it and that the destination is clear and stable before putting it down.

5. Drive at a slow and steady pace.

Forklifts are big and bulky on their own; add a heavy load, and you’ve got a tipping hazard waiting to happen. Slow, controlled movements will keep everyone safer, including the driver. 

Operating heavy machinery doesn’t have to be a source of stress. Keep your head calm and cool and take your time, following good, common-sense safety advice, and everyone will go home safe and sound at the end of the day. 

Find Your Next Opportunity with Debbie’s Staffing

If you’re looking for a new opportunity to utilize your heavy equipment operating skills, contact Debbie’s Staffing. We work with leaders in the warehouse industry and can help you find a great new position. Call us today and let’s get started.