Lift Truck Safety

Here’s some important information about lift truck safety.

POWERED INDUSTRIAL TRUCK/ LIFT TRUCK – A vehicle used for materials handling that is powered by an electric motor or internal combustion engine. Material handling machines include, but are not limited to, fork lifts, tow motors, lift rolls, motorized pallet jacks, order pickers, platform rider trucks, high lift straddle trucks and other pedestrian/ rider-controlled lifts.

LIFT TRUCKS/FORKLIFTS Safety is a major concern when dealing with lift trucks and forklifts. Unfortunately there are thousands of accidents involving forklifts every year. The largest percentage of forklift accidents are tip over’s. To prevent tip over’s keep the load weight balanced and centered. If the load shifts to far forward, or to the left or right, the forklift will tip. This is why it is imperative to keep the load centered, and also to keep the load low. Never operate a forklift with a load in the air. It is also important to keep the forks low when there is no load. Even when there is no load, and the forks are raised, you run the risk of tipping. If you are operating a forklift that is going to tip, it is very important to follow safety rules. Never jump out of a tipping forklift. This will only cause more danger, because the forklift operator runs the risk of being crushed by a forklift.

INSPECTIONS BEFORE USE When you’re inspecting your lift truck to ensure it meets all the requirements of the daily safety checklist, do you find yourself asking, “What am I looking for?” Using a guide to help you with your safety inspection is a critical step you do not want to skip. Since there are many models and modifications of lift trucks, You must use a checklist specifically written for the vehicle.


(1) SAFETY INSPECTION is to be performed once per day or shift; all defects are to be logged daily. Operators must make judgment calls from the beginning to the end of each job. Some things which must be considered include: the weight of the load and the lifting capacity, the stability of the load, the height at which a load must be lifted, and obstacles both in the path and overhead where the Lift Truck operator is operating, blind-spots and individuals who might be sharing the work space with the Lift Truck operator and vertical incline.

(2) OPERATOR RESPONSIBILITY Each operator has many responsibilities whenever he or she is engaged in picking up and moving a load. It is easy to become complacent from routine operations. This is why training is an important part of any safety program. Training should include initial hands on experience, encompassing each element of forklift operation. Retraining is also necessary to diffuse bad habits and to reiterate important situations which might have been forgotten by the casual forklift operator. Training always reduces risks.

(3) SAFE OPERATION Cages are designed to protect the operator from falling debris or to offer minimal protection during a rollover. Vehicles should be equipped with a seat belt, which must be used at all times that the operator is in the vehicle. The vehicle should also carry a portable fire extinguisher. The most important part of moving a load is to ensure that the load is stable and secure before beginning the task. (4) Always check twice before you proceed; look for hazards in front, behind, and overhead of you.

REMEMBER: It is a violation of Federal law for anyone UNDER 18 years of age to operate a forklift or for anyone OVER 18 years of age who is not properly trained and certified to do so.

Disclaimer: The information and suggestions contained in these safety talks are believed to be reliable. However, the authors of the topics and the owners of this web site accept no legal responsibility for the correctness, sufficiency, or completeness of such information or suggestions contained within these topics. These guidelines do not supercede local, state, or federal regulations and must not be construed as a substitute for, or legal interpretation of, any OSHA regulations.