Container Forklift

December 25, 2010


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Safety Instructions About Forklifts

By Claire Quaty

Forklifts are industrial vehicles made to take the place of manual lifting and manual work. There are two “forks” or arms located at the front of the vehicle that are used to lift, lower, stack and unstack heavy loads. The loads are usually stacked on top of wooden pallets that the arms or forks fit into to bring a large quantity of things up or down at once. The drivers cause almost 50% of accidents involving forklifts. Normally, the driver has hit a pedestrian. Therefore, forklifts and people should not be in the vicinity of each other.

Some other forklift related accidents include:

Forklift tipping over and overturning

Collision with other vehicles or stationary objects

Part of the operator’s body leaning out of the cabin and hitting an object

The load falling off the pallets

There are things that can be done by the employee to reduce the number of forklift accidents. First, the driver should always perform a pre-safety check of the vehicle before operating. Once the driver sees that all is in tact, while driving the vehicle the driver should use safe handling procedures of the load. This includes paying close attention to the load limit of each particular forklift. Since forklifts are a gas-powered vehicle, gasoline limits and storage should be carefully observed. In addition to safe fuel use, the battery also needs to be handled and cared for properly to ensure safety.

Here are a few safety procedures that should be followed by all employees. Some of them may seem like common sense, but they are so important that they are in need of repeating.

Passengers on forklifts to be strictly forbidden, unless there is a separate seat provided with a restraint

Other people kept clear when forklift is operating

Operator should take care when moving between artificial and natural light

Load made secure and lowered to safe centre of gravity before carrying

Sudden stops and starts are to be avoided

No part of the operator’s body to protrude beyond the overhead protection

Ramps not to be used unless the forklift operator is trained in their use

Operator to remain seated and secured at all times

Forklift to operate within a designated area, separate from pedestrians

Operator to remain in the cabin when a forklift overturns

Most importantly:



In addition to checking the vehicle daily for safety hazards, the workplace should also be checked for the following:


Blind corners

Pedestrian areas

Low doorways

Uneven floors


Overhead pipes and fittings

Confined spaces

Adequate lighting


Above all else, a training coarse must be completed before attempting to drive or operate a forklift. Besides formal instruction, the training must include practical training (such as demonstrations) and an evaluation of the operator in the workplace to assure that he can operate the forklift safely. Initial training content must consist of both truck-related topics and workplace-related topics.

Some truck-related topics include:

operating instructions, warnings and precautions specific to the trucks the employee will be authorized to operate

differences between the truck and the automobile

truck controls and instrumentation

engine or motor operation

steering and maneuvering


fork and attachment adaptation, operation and use limitations;

vehicle capacity

vehicle stability

any vehicle inspection and maintenance that the operator must perform;

refueling and/or charging and recharging of batteries

operating limitations

any other information from the forklift operator’s manual.

Some workplace related topics include:

surface conditions where the vehicle will be operated

composition of loads and load stability

load manipulation, stacking and unstacking

pedestrian traffic

narrow aisles and other restricted places where the vehicle will be operated

any hazardous (classified) locations, such as flammable storage areas, where the vehicle will be operated

ramps and other sloped surfaces;

closed environments and other areas where insufficient ventilation or poor vehicle maintenance could cause a buildup of carbon monoxide or diesel exhaust; and

other unique or potentially hazardous environmental conditions in the workplace.

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