What Not to Do on a Forklift: 8 Tips

Posted on April 30, 2021

We know you’ve been wondering what not to do on a forklift. While you may get bogged down in all the safe operations procedures, it’s much easier to draw the line at what you absolutely should not do. So here they are: 11 tips for what not to do on a forklift.

  1. Skip a pre-shift inspection.

Pre-shift inspections can seem tedious. The pressure to perform them before every shift can diminish their importance in some employees’ minds. However, the pre-shift inspection is something you simply can’t skip. A forklift that was safe yesterday is not necessarily safe today. It doesn’t take much for the equipment to fail and cause a catastrophic accident.

  1. Forget to buckle your seatbelt.

While OSHA may not spell out a regulation about wearing seatbelts, we cannot overstate how crucial these are. Not to mention, it only takes a few seconds to buckle up. If your forklift ever tips over, a seatbelt can save your life. Just wear one. Don’t question it.

  1. Lift a load that exceeds the load capacity.

Forklifts are not all built the same. Some are designed to handle heavy loads while others are built for small loads. Take the time to learn what your machine’s capacity is and never lift a load that is too heavy.

  1. Handle unsecured loads.

Loads consisting of many loose items need to be secured in some way; otherwise, falling objects become a real hazard in your workplace. Picture this: a small brick falls from a lifted pallet and hits one of your co-workers in the head. Best case scenario: that co-worker is wearing a hard hat, so they’re fine. Worst case scenario: the co-worker’s head is unprotected, and they suffer a serious head injury.

  1. Maneuver the lift abruptly.

Forklifts may feel like go-karts, but they certainly aren’t meant to be driven like one. Stopping, turning, and accelerating quickly will destabilize your machine, your load, or both at the same time. Every movement you make with the forklift should be slow and deliberate.

  1. Install unapproved attachments.

There are all sorts of attachments that hook up to the forks of your machine. Some of these can prove useful during the workday. One word of caution though: don’t use any that aren’t approved for use with your machine. This includes any homemade or jury-rigged attachments. You can contact the forklift manufacturer for approval.

  1. Operate without operator safety training.

Even though you know how to drive a car, there are specific considerations you have to account for with operating a forklift. Safety training will acquaint you with machine stability, load stability, and safe driving practices.

  1. Horse around.

We have seen countless videos of employees fooling around with their forklift, from doing donuts, to riding on the forks. Forklifts are not toys. They are work machines. Messing around on a forklift isn’t just careless, but it’s dangerous.

For forklift safety training, check out our powered industrial truck training suite.

Good luck, and stay safe!