Weighing several tons and capable of traveling up to 10 mph, the typical forklift is a heavy and relatively fast-moving object. 

Those that drive forklifts need to prioritize safety. If they don’t, they are putting people and property at risk. Below are 12 tips on how forklift operators can do their job safely. 

1) Vehicle Inspection 

Prior to her or his shift, a forklift operator should examine their vehicle for maintenance or repair. If issues are foundthe driver should bring them to the attention of their supervisor. 

2) Vehicle-Specific Driving 

On a forklift, steering happens at the rear of the vehicle, and this calls for driving techniques that are very different from those used to drive a car. Operators need to take this specific steering method into consideration every time they are behind the wheel.   

3) Remove Keys When Idle 

It is illegal to leave keys in an unattended forklift. Doing so can have lethal consequences. When a forklift isn’t being used, it should be parked in a safe, designated parking area. 

4) Follow Weight Capacity Guidelines 

Operators should never exceed the weight-lifting capacity of their vehicle and should always check to ensure the load they are moving is secure. 

5) Certification and Training is Essential 

All forklift operators should be properly certified. However, training shouldn’t end with certification. Operators should receive regular safety training that includes information on new technology, techniques, or regulations. 

6) Pay Attention to Driving Surfaces 

A forklift operator should always be aware of her or his surroundings. Operators should avoid hazards on driving services, such as bumps or holes. They should also avoid driving over scattered material, like shards of wooden pallets that have broken off. A forklift should always be face-forward when driving uphill and face-backward when driving downhill. Drivers should always be aware of changing driving conditions.   

7) Always Look Out for People and Other Vehicles 

Forklifts can cause a lot of damage when they strike objects, other vehicles, or people. When approaching pedestrians who seem unaware of a forklift’s presence, the operator should alert them using their voice or the vehicle’s horn. Moving forklifts should always be kept a safe distance from other vehicles and pedestrians.   

8) Drive Defensively 

Operators should avoid sudden stops or turns when they aren’t necessary. Sudden moves are not only dangerously unexpected, but they can also cause the loss of a load. 

9) Respect the Forks 

Touching or grabbing of the forks and lifting apparatus should be avoided at all times. Pedestrians should not be allowed underneath the forks. 

10) Respect the Load 

When working with a loadan operator should always have a good view of it. A load should always be placed back by the mast, where it is most stable, not at the front of the forks. 

11) Dress and PPE Guidelines Must Be Followed 

Operators should always follow the dress and personal protective equipment guidelines laid out by both the company and government agencies. 

12) Always Wear a Seat Belt 

No exceptions. 

We Can Connect You to Exciting Forklift Operator Opportunities 

The job of a forklift operator can be a rewarding one, and at Career Concepts, we pride ourselves on connecting job seekers to best-fit career opportunities. Please contact us today to find out how we can find a great opportunity for your career. 



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