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Everything You Need to Know About Forklift Safety

Forklift Safety
Written by Nancy

Forklifts are used to lift extremely heavy loads and transport them around facilities. While the practicality and robustness of forklifts make them vital to operations, it also makes them dangerous to operate.

This is why it is crucial for employees to undergo proper forklift training before beginning to operate these trucks. In British Columbia, as in most places, workers operating forklift machinery have to be trained periodically by law in order to minimize any risks involved in its operation.

Employees are also encouraged to obtain occupational and emergency first aid training in case an accident occurs.

Forklifts are powerful, but can incur damage when they’re used over an extended period of time. Before beginning forklift operations, it’s important to inspect the forklift carefully. Here’s how you can go about the inspection:

Visual Inspection

  • Make sure that there are no obstructions overhead.
  • Clear the path of any objects that would interfere with the forklift’s working.
  • Keep a working fire extinguisher near you at all times.
  • Ensure that the forklift battery is charged, and that it is securely in place.
  • Check the bolts, chains, and hydraulic hose reels. If any of these are damaged or missing, alert your supervisor immediately.
  • Make sure that these are no exposed or loose wires.

Pre-use Inspection

  • Test the horn out to make sure that it can be heard over other sounds in the area.
  • Ensure that the pedals, brakes, clutch, and gearshift work smoothly.
  • The steering, lift mechanism, and tilt mechanism should be smooth.
  • While the forklift is being operated, make sure that there are no strange or unusual sounds.

Forklift Operation

  • Only individuals with the proper licenses and training should be allowed to operate forklift machinery.
  • While operating the forklift, ensure that your limbs and head are always inside the truck.
  • While driving, make sure that the forks are tilted back and are as low as possible.
  • If you are operating it on an incline, the forks should be pointed downhill if there is no load and uphill if there is a load.
  • While loading, keep the load limit of the forklift in mind. Never load more than this limit. Each forklift has a data plate where the load limit is mentioned.
  • Don’t add extra weight to counterbalance an overload. In case of an unbalanced load, make sure the weightier end is nearer to the front wheels, and tilt back the mast.
  • Only park in pre-approved parking spaces.

While this is not an all-encompassing guide, it is a handy safety checklist. Handling forklift machinery is tricky and could have disastrous consequences without proper training.

Metro Safety First Aid Training school offers comprehensive and exhaustive forklift training courses, as well as a variety of occupational and emergency first aid training courses.

Call them at 604-521-4227 or email them at to find out more about their programs.

About the author


I’m Nancy and no, I didn’t always look like I do in that picture on the right. My foray into health and fitness began as a brace-faced, 16 year-old who was too afraid to wear a two-piece at the beach because I felt my body paled in comparison to my much more toned friends.

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