Northern Safety & Industrial

Safe Forklift Operation Checklist

Forklifts are a warehouse staple. They move heavy objects, load and unload trucks, and raise and lower pallets. Their versatility is unmatched.

Because they’re so commonplace, a worker might think that they pose no threat to their safety. However, they can cause collisions, falls, tip-overs, and struck-by accidents. 

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) gives the following guidelines for safe forklift use.

  • Operate the forklift according to the manufacturer’s instructions
  • If equipped, always wear a seatbelt
  • Never exceed the rated load and ensure it’s stable and balanced
  • Don’t raise or lower the load when traveling
  • Keep a safe distance from platform and ramp edges
  • Be aware of other vehicles in the work area
  • Have clear visibility of the work area and be sure you have enough clearance when raising, loading, and operating the forklift
  • Use proper footing and the handhold, if available, when entering the lift
  • Use horns at cross aisles and obstructed areas
  • Watch for pedestrians
  • Observe the speed limit
  • Don’t give rides or use the forks to lift people
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