Tony Ferraro, Continuous Improvement Blogger for Creative Safety Publishing
Today, Brandon Nys from Creative Safety Publishing will be talking with Antonio Ferraro about about 10 Rules For Forklift Safety. Tony is one of our content writers/investigators, and he’s knowledgable about this critical area of safety in almost every facility.
While some of these rules seem to be no-brainers and easy to follow, this refresher course may still be able to serve up a few tips that you had either forgotten or had not thought about in a good while.
Also, scroll to the bottom for a Slideshare on forklift safety, and links to OSHA information. Happy listening!
Brandon Nys: Welcome to Safety Experts Talk. Visit our website at
CreativeSafetySupply.com/podcast for links and transcripts.
Brandon: Hello everyone this is Brandon Nys of Creative Safety Supply and today we’re going to be talking about 10 rules for forklift safety.
I have with me Antonio Ferraro – he’s one of our content writers/investigators. He’s an all-around good guy anyway so we’re going to be talking with him about forklift safety. Hey Antonio, say hi today.
Antonio Ferraro: Hey everybody!
Brandon: So, forklift safety, this is something applies to any facility that has a forklift. Pretty straightforward stuff but there are, I guess you’ve identified some things that maybe not everybody thinks about all the time. So, where we start here on this?
Antonio: I feel it’s an important topic to bring up. It doesn’t seem like it gets stressed enough, so I thought I would list 10 items that were pretty important. So why don’t we go ahead and just start of with number one and go from there?
Brandon: Alright, sounds like a plan. So your first points of concentration here is “Go a safe speed”. Seems pretty self explanatory, but what would you say to people who about this point?
Antonio: Yeah, usually within a warehouse there usually is like a set speed. But usually forklifts are even equipped with speedometers, so it’s important to make sure that you’re going a reasonable and acceptable speed for the area. It keeps everybody safe – even your loads, as well.
Brandon: Ok, our next point here is avoiding abrupt stops and this is a low-level safety all-around safety issue I am sure…
Antonio: Correct, correct Brandon. Abrupt stops can compromise the safety of your load. It can cause injuries to others and yourself so, what really happens when you have abrupt stops is it creates basically an unbalanced weight. So that’s why it’s important to avoid abrupt stops.
Brandon: Ok. And I’m assuming that, your load height, we’ll probably talk about that a little bit later, but the abrupt stoppage is probably more something should be concerned about when you have a level or load that will by nature shift. Like something like a liquid or something that has components that could fall.
Brandon: Ok. Our next point here is pedestrians always have the right-of-way. And this isn’t unique, this is something that every, you know, street corner, pedestrians have the right way.
Antonio: Yep. Just like a vehicle on the road, a forklift is no different. Show the respect for people on foot, within the facility. Give them the right of way.
Brandon: Now this next point has to do with those people that are on foot and maybe who maybe don’t want to be… Don’t pick up other riders!
Antonio: Yeah, yeah, exactly. Forklifts are usually designed for single riders only. So a second person can cause an unbalance in the forklift and can also impede the drivers vision while they are driving. So it’s also really important to you only have one single rider on the forklift at all times.
Brandon: And I’m assuming this goes for not only the cab portion of the forklift but on the forks or load as well?
Antonio: Absolutely. Yeah you never… yep, exactly.
Brandon: Alright. So the next one here is “Be aware of the fork position”. You say this is crucial in forklift driving. Why is this so crucial”?
Antonio: Yeah, forks really should always be as low as possible, but high enough to clear the bumps in the facility. When you’re driving with the forklifts high, it can cause many safety hazards. So forks basically, literally have the capability of shishkabobbing just about anything, including your loads, your pallets, or even people.
Brandon: Okay. So, you want make sure that that load remains as low as possible.
Antonio: Yeah, especially when you are moving, which we’ll get into with the next question here.
Brandon: Alright, well yeah, the next one here’s to keep the load level stationary when in motion. So …
Antonio: Basically, it can jeopardize the stability of the load by creating an unsafe balance again. A load should never be adjusted unless the forklift is actually in a stationary position.
Brandon: Ok, so you’re talking about like when somebody’s going to put their load onto a rack, or pulling their load off a rack, they need to make sure that the motion of the forklift is arrested.
Antonio: Yep. Correct.
Brandon: Alright. Seems pretty easy but since we’re reviewing this obviously somebody needs to know more about this.
Antonio: That’s right, exactly.
Brandon: The next one we have here is slow down and sound horn at corners.
Antonio: Yeah, many facilities have mirrors up in the upper corners of the rafters. So it usually shows you what’s coming around the corner. But just like all mirrors on cars, sometimes you don’t see everything – there’s blind spots. So, you always want to make sure you sound your horn around the corner, so you just never know what forklift is coming around the corner or what person could be potentially be walking around the corner.
Brandon: Sounds straightforward to me. The next one is also one of those kind of general rules of the road thing – Keep right.
Antonio: Yep, just like you keep right with your vehicle, you keep right with your forklift. Many times there’s other forklifts and people that are utilizing the other lane, so it is important to stay on the right side. If you don’t it creates a higher possibility for an injury/incident.
Brandon: Ok. And in most facilities they are obviously going to have forklift driving lanes and things like that…
Antonio: Yeah, there will be like floor markings and things like that to determine, you know, what side you should be on.
Brandon: Alright, yeah, there should definitely be sometimes.
Antonio: Not all the time, but there should be.
Brandon: The next one here is to watch out for blind spots. And this, this is going to vary from facility to facility.
Antonio: Yeah. It’s an unfortunate fact, but most facilities do have blind spots. So it’s important to know your blind spots and use caution. It may be a really good idea to maybe set up some visual signs in specific areas where these blind spots are, so that when you do get close to them, that way you know where they are at. You can visually see them.
Brandon: For facilities that might have, you know, are adjusting inventory or pallets that come and go, that create blind spots, what would you recommend for facilities like that?
Antonio: So, when there’s a lot of traffic, you are saying? In those areas?
Brandon: Well, for example, I have a pallet that is 6 or 8 feet tall and I set it down in an area and that pallet now is an obstruction and creates a blind spot that otherwise wouldn’t be there. What would you recommend for those…
Antonio: Yeah, here’s my suggestion – having floor markings in that area potentially. So you can visually see the situation that you’re talking about.
Brandon: Gotcha. Ok, then the last one we have here is to keep alert to the floor condition.
Antonio: Yeah, brings what is often overlooked a think by our many drivers. Spills happen – hazard spills or even box spill of parts. This can cause your forklift to slip/slide, can cause tipping of your load or even your forklift. So drivers should really be aware of the poor conditions around them.
Brandon: Alright. Just being in general aware and that seems to be the common theme among all of these, among all these steps. Is basically you just want to kind of use your brain, figure out exactly what’s going on around you and don’t, I guess, rest on your laurels.
Be more proactive in how you operate a forklift. I mean it’s just like a vehicle or heavy machinery or anything where you could really hurt yourself, you could hurt other people, you could ruin product. There’s a lot that can happen just by your simple lapse of judgment.
Antonio: Yeah, that’s absolutely true, Brandon. You just want to make sure you’re alert, know your surroundings and you’ll be safe.
Brandon: Alright, well Antonio, any last words of wisdom, anything that maybe didn’t make a list or a final thought?
Antonio: Well, I think in many ways driving a forklift is basically like driving a vehicle on the road. Treat the forklift with respect, I mean as well as people walking around you – treat them with respect. And then you’ll be safe.
Brandon: Well thank you Antonio for talking with me today about forklift safety. I know this is a good issue for everyone to hear about even if it’s just as a reminder. For some of those that are new to forklifts and need to know this information it’s a perfect kind of precursor to some of the things that they should expect to see in their facilities. So thanks again for being with us.
Antonio: Thanks Brandon for having me.
(Outro Music with Voiceover)
Brandon: Thank you for joining us on Safety Experts Talk. If you have suggestions for future podcasts, send them to firstname.lastname@example.org. For more safety experts talking about safety news, OSHA regulations, PPE, lean, 5S, or continuous improvement, go to CreativeSafetySupply.com/podcast.
OSHA offers this eTool on forklift safety, and this page on powered industrial trucks.
As a further resource for our readers/listeners we are pleased to offer a handy visual overview of the 10 Rules For Forklift Safety:
- Safety Experts Talk – Overview
- Free Safety Resources
- Continuous Improvement In Manufacturing
- Starting Continuous Improvement
- Safety Recognition Programs That Work
- The Virtual Suggestion Box
- Starting A Visual Workplace, Pt. 1
- Starting Lean Six Sigma, Pt. 2