TVH Talks Forklift Safety – In and Around Your Machine

10 June 2024
forklift safety


Forklifts are a crucial piece of machinery that often stand at the heart of equipment operations, but even at low speeds, a forklift can become dangerous. That’s why it’s essential to take forklift safety seriously. 


Safety Inside The Forklift

Each day forklifts are seamlessly moving heavy loads and keeping operations running. With rear steering, a mast obstructing the driver's view, and numerous controls, operating these mighty machines takes skill and precision and can be intimidating, especially when working in the tight spaces of a warehouse. This is why every driver is required to be certified. 

As an operator it is your job to keep safety one of your top priorities to avoid any collisions, falls, tip-overs, or struck-by accidents. Here are some tips to ensure the safety of yourself and others when you are behind the wheel.

1. Maintain visibility. Keep a clear view of the work area and make sure you have enough clearance when raising, loading, and operating a forklift. Use a spotter when needed.

2. Follow load capacity. Make sure your load is stable and do not raise or load while traveling.

3. Follow traffic safety procedures. Obey floor markings, speed limits, and road signs. Keep a safe distance from platform and ramp edges. 

4. Avoid sharp turns. Stay at least three lengths between other vehicles. Never pass others going the same direction and use your horn at all intersections. 

5. Make sure your lift truck is being maintained. Click here for a breakdown of the full forklift maintenance process.


Safety Around The Forklift

Knowing how to stay safe around a forklift is just as important as teaching operators safety. Pedestrians in the workplace must understand the hazards that come with working around forklifts to avoid collisions or being hit by objects that could fall off of the machines. Most forklift accidents are preventable when pedestrians follow their own set of workplace safety practices.

1. Use correct walkways. Walk only in pedestrian lanes. If there are no pedestrian lanes, keep to one side and give ample room for forklifts to pass. 

2. Communicate with operators. Always maintain eye contact with drivers. Stop and look both ways before entering traffic. Proceed through walkways only when the operator signals you to. 

3. Do not approach a moving forklift. If you must approach a lift truck, only do so on the side after it has stopped and the operator signals that it is okay for you to approach. 

4. Avoid distractions. Always stay alert. Do not be on your phone, or have headphones in while in traffic areas.

5. Report any unsafe behavior. Prevent future accidents be reporting any unsafe behavior from operators or other pedestrians that you see.


A Forklift Safety Checklist

Inspections are required and will not only help identify any issues with your machine that can cut into production time, but they will also keep your forklift operators, and those around them, safe. 

Having a set safety checklist for your equipment operators helps give feedback and anticipate any safety concerns. Check out our Forklift Safety Checklist below.

  • Ensure all operators have up-to-date certification & know the safety rules
  • Make sure drivers are equipped with the proper safety gear
  • Do a visual check of each machine for any concerns (fluid leaks, hoses, harnesses, etc.) 
  • Assess the forks & lifting mechanism for any damage or issues
  • Inspect the condition of wheels and tires 
  • Test safety devices and accessories (entry bar, seat belt, lights, back-up alarm, etc.)
  • Verify that all decals are visible and in good condition
  • Check the surrounding environment for possible hazards 

A quick test drive of the machine can also be a good indicator of any issues. 

For the safety of your operators and equipment, it’s recommended to conduct your inspections with each new shift. Following these simple safety tips will increase the longevity of your machine and help keep your employees safe. 

As one of the most respected names in the material handling industry, TVH is here to keep your equipment going and your personnel safe. We are proud to offer a wide variety of quality forklift safety products from back-up lights and alarms to forklift safety cages.  To learn more or become a customer, go to


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