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Simple useful tips for operating a forklift safely

A forklift can cause injury to workers and damage to equipment if it is not operated properly. The importance of continuously increase awareness on forklift safety to avoid incidents and injuries at the workplace cannot be understated.

Below are some tips for safe forklift operation.

  1. Operators must be qualified.
    • Forklifts must be operated only by people who have been trained to do so and have a current license to operate the equipment.
  2. Always wear appropriate work wear and safety equipment provided.
    • Operators should wear the appropriate safety work wear; e.g. safety shoes, hi-visibility jackets and a hard hat.
    • Ensure that work wear is reasonably fitted to avoid getting caught on machinery.
  3. Routine checks must be carried out regularly.
    • Operators should conduct a routine check of equipment prior to operating a forklift. Key things to check are any faults with steering, brakes, controls, mast, tyres and warning devices.
    • If there are any problems or damage management should be notified and the forklift should not be operated until the faults are repaired.
  4. Operate at a safe speed.
    • Ensure operators drive the speed limit in work areas.
    • To minimise the risk of tipping, ensure that operators take corners slowly.
  5. Consider your surrounding environment.
    • Operators must only drive in designated forklift areas.
    • Operators must follow all work site rules and be observant to all signs, especially clearance heights and maximum permitted floor loadings.
    • Be careful when operating a forklift near the edge of a ramp or loading dock as the forklift can fall over the edge.
  6. Forklifts are for carrying loads only.
    • Operators must not let passengers ride on the equipment unless a designated seat is fitted safely to the forklift for the second person.
    • If a person must be lifted, use only a securely attached authorised work platform and follow the appropriate operating instructions.
  7. Ensure your load is stacked, stable and secure.
    • Do not lift or move loads that are not safe or stable.
    • To increase truck stability, ensure that the load is tilted back with the forks low whilst transporting.
  8. Make sure you have clear visibility.
    • Face the load uphill and travel in reverse when moving downhill.
  9. Do not over load your forklift.
    • It is important to know the capacity of your forklift and ensure that capacity is not exceeded.
  10. Ensure even distribution of the load.
    • Do not move or lift a load unless both forks are safely under the load.

Information for this article was sourced from For further forklift safety information contact MLA Holdings on 131 652 or

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