Tips for Forklift Safety

Forklifts are essential construction site machinery, but they can also be incredibly dangerous if not operated correctly. According to OSHA estimates, just under 100 construction deaths per year are caused by forklifts — but most if not all of these deaths are preventable. Forklift safety requires that operators take certain measures before, during and after the forklift is in use, and failure to follow these procedures can result in injury or even death.

Why Is Safety a Big Concern for Forklifts?

Forklifts are fairly difficult machines to operate, and workers must go through comprehensive training to use them properly. Because forklifts are designed to carry heavy loads on one end, while keeping this load elevated, they can easily topple over if handled incorrectly. Forklifts are powerful machines that require proper training and full attention from both the driver and the people in the vicinity in order for work to be performed safely.

Check out our answers to commonly asked forklift questions below for tips on safe forklift operation.

What Is a Safe Speed for a Forklift?

Depending on the class of forklift you operate, designated speed limits will vary. However, you should never exceed your machine's recommended speed limit. Not only does exceeding the limit pose a danger to people working around you, but you can lose control of your forklift more easily — especially when you're going around turns. 

Speeding in a forklift is particularly dangerous when you're carrying a heavy load on the load center. Losing control of the forklift can mean a costly accident — and serious injury to the driver and people within proximity of the vehicle. Especially when approaching turns, it is crucial that you proceed according to your particular forklift model's turning radius requirements and set speed limit.

Should You Perform Daily Forklift Checks?

The answer to this question is a resounding "Yes!" To ensure your safety and that of other construction or warehouse workers, you should check the following areas of your forklift before operation:

  • Inspect the mast and overhead guard for any damage

  • Make sure operating controls and indicators (such as lights and horns) work

  • Check the condition of the forks

  • Check for any leaks on the underside of the forklift

Performing these daily checks will let you find problems with your forklift before operation so you can alert the proper personnel if you find something amiss. 

Do You Need a Certification to Operate a Forklift?

OSHA requires that forklift operators receive proper training and certification before using the machinery. Most forklift accidents happen due to improper or inadequate training, which is why having forklift operators who have been trained and licensed to operate the specific machinery models on your site is critical for job site safety. 

In addition to initial safety training and certification, forklift operators should undergo skills tests at least once every few years to ensure that they are still able to operate the machinery safely.

Contact Diamond Rental for High-Quality Forklift Rentals

If you're looking to learn more about forklift safety or to rent a model that's compatible with your operations, reach out to Diamond Rental today!


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