Heavy Machinery: Essential Forklift Safety Guidelines You Need to Know

The forklift is one of the most widely used equipment in manufacturing and industrial workplaces. They are useful in lifting and moving loads smoothly. While forklifts provide great use, there are certain risks involved in operating them. 


Many forklift accidents that cause serious injuries to workers happen every year. A majority of these accidents root from a lack of training and observance of safe forklift operation. 


Employee education is crucial in ensuring safety when handling forklifts. Here are safety guidelines workers and employers must keep in mind at all times:


  1. Get Certified

Since accidents often occur due to lack of training, it would be best that only workers who received training and are licensed according to the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) be allowed to operate a forklift. 


Companies should also evaluate their workers’ performance on a regular basis to ensure their skills are updated. Employers should be responsible in providing capacity building training for their staff.




  1. Inspect Daily.

It’s a basic protocol to inspect the condition of your forklift before your shift starts. Shift supervisors must conduct daily inspections and determine any problems.


You can also work with company that experts in a safety inspection in Toronto to ensure safety guidelines are in place and are followed before you run operations for the day.


Make sure to check the following before every use:


  • Check and test the brakes, horn, lights, and steering wheel
  • Inspect the overhead guard and mast
  • Check tire and fluid levels
  • Check oil, water, and radiator leaks
  • Ensure the forks are straight and without cracks or any irregularities


Equipment that shows defects must be repaired right away and should not be operated until further notice. If you’re pressed with time and you need immediate equipment replacement, consider hiring a third-party equipment provider like Ready Machinery Movers, Milton.


  1. Wear the Appropriate Clothing

Proper safety equipment is important when handling forklifts. Operators should always wear their hard hat, safety shoes, and high-visibility jacket. Tuck loose clothing to avoid getting caught on the forklift.


  1. Use a Floor Marking System

This is necessary to protect the safety of your workers. Mark falling- and stumbling-prone areas with yellow markers. Use red markers to identify fire hazards and fire equipment. Post signs on areas that pedestrians usually frequent to prevent them from blocking forklift paths. Using a floor marking system also helps lead forklifts to safe routes and smoothen traffic flow inside your site.


  1. Ensure Load Stability

Make sure the loads are balanced when loading them on the forklift. Travelling with the load tilted backwards and the forks lowered enforces stability (particularly when running over ramps). Secure the stacks and heavy loads by using ropes to hold them in place. 


  1. Drive at the Right Speed

Observe the implemented speed limits in your site. Avoid stopping, turning, or changing directions abruptly. Driving fast and doing sharp turns also increase the risk of the forklift tipping over. 


  1. Maintain Equipment Capacity

It’s important to know the maximum load capacity of the forklift. Never go beyond the load capacity. Overloading can make the rear wheels rise off the ground, causing the equipment to fall over. 


Also, do not allow other workers to ride on the truck. Never use a forklift to carry people. Forklifts are intended for carrying loads.


  1. Do Not Go Near Hazardous Areas of the Forklift

Never walk or stand under a load, forklift attachment, or lifting mechanism. Loads might fall off anytime on anyone who’s below it. Stay away from a moving forklift mast as this can lead to injury.


Sudarsan Chakraborty is a professional writer. He contributes to many high-quality blogs. He loves to write on various topics.