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The Safety Brief In our podcasts we give short but valuable overviews
and insights into how contractors and safety managers
can be even more effective in protecting their workers.
In our podcasts we give short but valuable overviews and insights into how contractors and safety managers can be even more effective in protecting their workers.

Forklift Safety Tips

Forklift_Safety_Tips-Creative_Safety_Supply-250x250Forklift safety starts when the driver understands a forklift is not a car. Many of the basic safety rules apply, such as driving on the right and watching for pedestrians to avoid struck-by accidents. Avoiding distractions such as cell phones and texting is important too.

Forklifts differ from highway vehicles in many ways. Their rear wheels do the steering. To balance loads, their center of gravity is different. And they can’t stop fast because they would spill their load.

In this podcast, we review how to respect the load, stacking and storing, and keeping the center of gravity low.

We also review inspections and the details of parking right for good forklift safety.


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Dan Clark: Texting while driving: bad. Texting while driving a forklift: very bad.

Hello, I’m Dan Clark of The Safety Brief. This is where we talk about health and safety hazards in today’s demanding industrial and construction worksites.

Driving a forklift is like driving a car in some basic ways. Talking on a cell phone and texting are not good forklift safety practices. Even in the workplace, you will obey the rules of the road. Drive that forklift truck in the right lane. People on foot have the right-of-way.

A forklift differs from a car in many ways. A forklift has four wheels, but the wheels that steer are in the back, so leave room for turns behind the truck. Unlike cars, forklifts can’t stop quickly especially with a load. Abrupt stops send loads tumbling. Bad forklift safety is bad worker safety.

KNOW YOUR LOAD – A forklift is designed to lift thousands of pounds but only when loaded the right way:

  • Make sure the load is stable.
    – Use block stacking with square items and strap them down.
    – Use brick stacking with rectangular items, and turn each layer of the stack 90°.
    – Use plywood between layers of irregular items like bags of concrete.
  • Keep the forks as low as possible when driving with a load.
  • Never move the load up and down when driving, only when the forklift is stopped.
  • Your load does not include other riders. One seat means one driver, no hitchhikers!

FORKLIFT SAFETY INSPECTION – Do a visual on the truck before you use it.

  • The tires, the forks, the fluids, the battery, the chain, the axle, all of these things need to be monitored.
  • It prevents equipment breakdowns before they happen.

And once you have this routine check down, it can be done pretty quickly.


  • Don’t wander off and leave a forklift running. Turn it off when you’re more than 25 feet away or can’t see it.
  • Lower the forks before parking it and make sure they aren’t in the aisles or walkways.
  • Use the parking brake.

Not all forklifts are alike so follow any instructions for operation that are specific to the trucks at your location.

And that’s it for this episode on Forklift Safety Tips. Come back for more tips and techniques on how to stay safety compliant in today’s ever-changing landscape of safety requirements. I’m Dan Clark of The Safety Brief, sponsored by Creative Safety Supply. See the website at


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