Forklifts

Deal Breakers for Forklift Operators

All forklift operators must be certified through a process of classroom and hands-on training in order to operate a forklift. Once they’re certified, they should be expected to operate the forklift safely at all times. If they don’t, they should be retrained before being permitted to operate a forklift again. What sorts of behaviors would make retraining necessary? What are the “deal breakers” for forklift operators?

Forklift operators may need retraining for their behavior either while they’re operating the forklift or when they walk away from the forklift.

While Operating the Forklift

While they are operating the forklift, operators should always follow these rules:

  • Wear a seat belt.
  • Yield the right of way to pedestrians and emergency vehicles.
  • Never engage in stunt driving or horseplay with a forklift.
  • Never drive a forklift up to a person standing in front of a bench or fixed object.
  • Never stand or pass, or allow someone else to stand or pass, under the elevated forks.


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  • Always keep arms, hands, or legs inside the truck.
  • Lift only loads that are within the rated capacity of the truck.
  • Never handle unstable loads.
  • Maintain a safe distance from the edge of ramps or platforms.
  • Slow down and sound the horn at intersections and where the operator’s vision
    is obstructed.
  • Ride in reverse if the load obstructs the forward view.
  • Prohibit unauthorized personnel to ride on the trucks.
  • Use a load backrest extension to prevent load from falling backward.


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When Leaving the Forklift

Leaving a forklift can create a hazard, so operators must not just walk away. Any time the operator leaves the forklift and his or her view of the forklift is obstructed, or the operator is 25 feet or more away from the forklift, the operator must take these precautions:

  1. Lower the load to the ground with the forks parallel to the ground surface.
  2. Neutralize the controls.
  3. Set the brakes.
  4. Chock the tires if parked on an incline.

Maybe your workers know that if they come to a forklift in the road, they shouldn’t just take it – but what else do they need to know? Find everything your workers need to know at Safety.BLR.com.