5 Tips to Remain Accident-Free on a Forklift

5 Tips to Remain Accident-Free on a Forklift

Forklifts provide tons of utility around the workplace, helping businesses across all verticals maximize their productivity on jobsites and in warehouses across the country. But like any other piece of machinery, accidents can occur if forklift operators are careless.

Believe it or not, there are more than 850,000 forklifts in operation today in the United States. While that number is impressive, the following ones should shock you. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, each year forklift accidents claim the lives of nearly 100 workers. What’s more, 35,000 workers receive serious injuries from these accidents, while 62,000 of them receive minor ones.

In order to make sure workers are safe as can be, therefore ensuring employees are happy to come to work and get to go home at the end of the day to see their families, consider the following five tips on how to operate a forklift safely.

  1. Thoroughly Train Your Operators

You can’t just throw any old worker behind the controls of a forklift and think everything will be okay. Make sure anyone who operates a forklift on your premises is thoroughly trained on the specific make and model of the vehicle. They’ll also need to be properly licensed. You don’t want to deal with the aftermath of an unlicensed operator causing an accident.

  1. Be Conscious of Your Surroundings

Just like you learned to check your rearview mirrors and adjust your seat before putting the keys in the ignition of your car, so too should you exercise similar caution when operating a forklift. Be sure to double or triple check what’s around you to make sure you won’t hit anything.

  1. Don’t Speed

Sure, driving non-automobiles can be fun. Most folks don’t get to do it every day, let alone ever. Though you might be tempted to see how fast you can take your forklift around a corner or how fast you can make it down an aisle, operate the vehicle conservatively and don’t treat it like a toy. After all, a forklift is a tool, and your business needs it to make sure it can keep paying you. Also, make sure not to stop abruptly, either.

  1. Steady and Secure Your Loads

Yes, the forklift is a powerful and amazing machine. But that doesn’t mean it’s a magical machine that isn’t bound by the laws of gravity. Prior to moving loads, you have to make sure they’re steady and secure. Otherwise, you could learn another lesson in gravity, one that might have disastrous consequences.

  1. Regularly Maintain Your Fleet

While some businesses might decide to rent their forklifts, many businesses can’t live without them and over time build up their own fleets. If you find yourself in the latter category, make sure you regularly service and maintain your fleet. That way, you can ensure all components are operating at optimal levels, reducing the likelihood accidents will occur.

By constantly keeping workplace safety top of mind, you and your team will be able to maximize workplace productivity while reducing the likelihood any accidents occur. The end result? Happier employees and a healthier bottom line.


  1. I work at a warehouse and was just asked by my manager if I would get certified to operate heavy machinery. I am really excited about doing that since driving a forklift looks fun. However, I understand that this type of machine could be potentially dangerous for myself and others and so I want to make sure that I do it correctly. Although I trust that I am going to be thoroughly trained, it’s good to know some of these other tips and I think that I am going to commit myself to not speeding ever. What percentages of accidents involving a forklift occur due to speeding, do you think?

  2. These are great tips for using a forklift. I’m planning on renting one to do some of our kitchen remodel’s heavy work, but I’ve never driven one before. I’ll be sure that if I end up driving it, I take it slow and safe. Even if I want to race in it.

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