Underestimating Forklift Safety: 5 Ways to Prevent Injuries in the Workplace

Forklifts are distinct, powered vehicles that help us move large products and materials from one area to another on a daily basis. They are among the most frequently used pieces of equipment in the workplace, with more than 856,00 in operation throughout the United States.

While forklifts are beneficial in the workplace for various reasons, the dangers associated with them are often underestimated. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), approximately 100 deaths and roughly 34,000 injuries occur annually due to forklift-related incidents.

In an effort to reduce these numbers, it is important to implement the following 5 safety measures to ensure a safer working environment for employees.


  1. Provide training

The best way to protect employees from injury is to make sure they fully understand the fundamental regulations and safe practices of operating and maintaining their machinery. The proper forklift training will reduce and prevent accidents from happening in the workplace.

Click here to learn more about forklift training.


  1. Perform daily inspections

Operators should routinely inspect their forklifts before each shift to determine if their machine needs servicing. Inspecting essential utilities such as the horn, lights, coolant levels, hydraulics, brakes, steering and operating systems, are just some of the many components that should be checked prior to forklift use.

Click here to learn more about routine inspections and to view a daily forklift checklist.


  1. Be aware of carbon monoxide

Forklifts powered by gasoline, propane and diesel fuel emit carbon monoxide in their exhaust. If you’re operating one of these forklifts inside or in confined spaces, you may be putting yourself at risk for carbon monoxide poisoning.

Click here to learn more about carbon monoxide and your forklift.


  1. Don’t load beyond capacity

Simply, know the capacity of your forklift and any attachments being used, and never exceed this capacity. It is also important to ensure your load is evenly distributed. Forklifts can tip over easily if they are improperly loaded. In fact, 14 percent of all forklift accidents occur in this manner.

Click here to learn more about proper forklift loading and handling.


  1. Zero tolerance policy

No matter how experienced an operator may be, horseplay or reckless driving is not permitted. You can prevent most workplace accidents by being alert and following company safety guidelines. Consider enforcing disciplinary action to better protect your employees and to emphasize the seriousness of the offense.


Remember, operating a forklift is serious business, and accidents can happen at any time. Don’t underestimate the power of operating a forklift. If you haven’t already, try implementing these safety measures to reduce the amount of accidents in your workplace.