The Ultimate Checklist for Forklift Safety

June 1, 2019 marks the beginning of National Safety Month.  To help contribute and promote Safe Work Environments, Eclipse Professional Services will be posting all Safety Related Blogs during the month of June. Happy National Safety Month! 


Forklifts account for about 85 deaths and nearly 100,000 injuries in US workplaces every year. Forklifts that overturn contribute significantly to this total: Overturning accidents account for 24 percent of all forklift accidents each year.

OSHA regulations require not only that forklift operators have safety training, but that they meet several safety requirements every time they operate a forklift. This checklist can help your forklift operators ensure that they can work safely.

Before Driving:

  • Use your five senses to check each part of the forklift. Look for items like leaks, debris or loose bolts. Listen for unusual sounds from the engine or breaks. Use your sense of touch to spot unusual vibrations or heat and keep your sense of smell alert for scents like melting or burning.
  • For gas and LPG powered forklift, check the engine oil, gauges, and instruments, as well as the battery. For electric forklifts, check the battery.
  • Don’t forget to check the brakes! They should work smoothly without grabbing, hold the forklift on an incline, and be free of leaks.

Never use an unsafe forklift. If you see a problem, report it to a supervisor immediately.

While Driving:

  • Pay attention to the path in front of you. Avoid slippery, bumpy, or unstable surfaces.
  • When traveling on a ramp, drive forward to go up the ramp and reverse to come down a ramp.
  • Use the forklift’s horn or shout to alert people that your forklift is passing. Never drive faster than you can safely stop. When in doubt, slower is safer.
  • Know the lifting capacity of your forklift and never exceed it. If you’re uncertain how heavy a load is, don’t pick it up until you know whether the forklift can handle it.

Never leave your forklift unattended. Not only is it dangerous, but it’s also illegal.

After Driving:

  • Check the refueling area before you refuel your forklift. Double-check to make sure you’ve turned the forklift off and removed the keys. Make sure the fueling area is well-ventilated and free of debris.
  • Check the forklift once again for potential safety problems. Report what you find to your supervisor.
  • Park carefully and apply the parking brake before you leave the forklift at the end of your shift. Promptly return your keys to the proper location.

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