5 Important Forklift Safety Tips You Need To Follow

Forklift safety should be a routine process for anyone working in the industrial sector. After all, a forklift is capable of lifting in excess of 70,000 pounds in some cases. Proper hazard prevention and precautions are absolutely critical.

But some businesses choose to forego intensive safety training. Many often assume new forklift operators are seasoned professionals. Others simply don’t have the time. The result? Approximately 35,000 serious injuries occur each year as a result of forklift accidents, according to OSHA—with 85 of them being fatal. 35,000 accidents which could have been prevented. 85 lives which could have been saved.

It’s been estimated U.S. employers paid over $58 billion for worker compensation costs in 2018 alone. And if you’re a Reno-based business, you know you can’t even afford a fraction of that amount. Not when you can prevent it. But luckily you can. Forklift safety isn’t always a question of skill or experience. It’s a question of following protocol. Here are some tips on how to get started implementing forklift safety rules with your workers.

Proper Usage Means Proper Training

Forklift operation shouldn’t be a question of increasing production. It should be a question of safety above anything else. And yes, certification can seem costly when faced with worker shortages. It’s also one of the wisest investments you can make in the long run.

While all forklift training must meet OSHA 1910.178 compliance standards in addition to workplace safety and material handling training, OSHA does not provide the training themselves at this time. There are, however, numerous independent operators in the state of Nevada that can provide your workers with comprehensive safety training. We recommend avoiding any who promise certification in less than a day, however. The more thoroughly your operators are trained, the greater your chances of avoiding risk are.

Regular Checkups Avoid Regular Catastrophe

Ideally, forklift safety and maintenance should be a routine part of your daily inventory. But we’ve all been in that situation. The one where the need to fulfill orders quickly is greater than the need to check back-up alarms and tire gauges.

Think of the average forklift. It weighs approximately 9000 pounds. It’s capable of travelling up to 18 mph. Consider the size of your warehouse. Now think of the domino effect that can come from faulty brakes, load tipping and unfastened seat belts. You might think it seems obvious to be able to avoid it, but we’ve seen it far too often.

Make certain your employees check every possible point of their forklift before operating it. Especially while not in motion. Lights, brakes, backup alarms, fluid levels, tire pressure… anything and everything you can think of can go wrong by omitting even the most minor part of a forklift.

OSHA regulations require all forklifts used regularly to be examined before and after each shift. Develop a daily checklist for your forklift operators. It might seem like ten minutes extra work each day, but it’s better than thousands of dollars in fines and compensation.

Know How Much Load Your Forklift Is Capable Of

This doesn’t simply mean the capacity your forklift can carry safely. That also means the dimensions and the stability of your load. Plummeting loads are one of the chief causes of accidents with forklifts, and the larger a load is, the greater the need to ensure security.

Never place loads at the front of your fork, but always back at the mast where they can be carried more stably. Remember, forklifts steer from the rear; make certain there’s no objects or people directly behind them. Ensure forks are positioned as low as possible for better visibility and better gravity; never travel with elevated forks. Make certain all loads are secure—even if it means fastening them with ropes or straps. If visibility is obstructed by a load, operate the forklift in reverse.

Different Rules For Different Machinery

Industrial and rough terrain forklifts operate quite differently by their very nature. Subsequently, there are entirely different hazards facing the safe operation of both.

In an open structure such as rocky terrain, forklift operators are not entirely enclosed. There’s also a much greater chance of load tipping, since rough terrain forklifts are capable of carrying a substantial amount of weight, as well as a much tighter turning radius. As a result, OSHA has developed a set of guidelines for both indoor and outdoor forklift operation. Among their suggestions:

  • Wear appropriate footwear
  • Ascend and descend any inclines slowly and with caution
  • Always keep an open eye when reversing
  • Never assume pedestrians will be aware of your presence
  • Never grab the overhead guard while in reverse
  • Reduce speed when turning
  • Never drive downgrade with a load
  • When general lighting is less than 2 lumens per square foot, OSHA requires auxiliary directional lighting on all trucks. Forklifts should be equipped with headlights when working at night or outdoors

In Case Of A Tipover:

  • Stay in the forklift at all times. Do not dismount or jump out.
  • Hold on to the steering wheel tightly
  • Brace your feet as closely as you can
  • Lean away from the impact. Lean forward only after impact has occurred
  • If using a standup forklift with rear end access, step backwards should a tipover occur.


At Reno Forklift, we know forklift safety isn’t just a necessity. It’s your top priority. For more tips, visit us today at renoforklift.com


Nevada Contractor License | #00085110 #0085114
California License | #813810
171 Coney Island Dr.
Sparks, NV, 89431

(775) 329-1384