Workplace Safety Tips for Operating a Forklift

Injured at work? Contact our workers' comp lawyer in Austin.

Forklifts are a common sight in a variety of different workplaces, from manufacturing to warehousing and even the military. If your job involves operating heavy machinery such as a forklift, it is important that you receive adequate training and any necessary licensing.

Workplace forklift training in the United States is governed by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). OSHA standards require employers to develop and implement training programs based on the principles of safe truck operation, the types of vehicles used in a workplace, the hazards in the workplace these vehicles create and OSHA’s general safety standards. Training must be formal (as in lectures) as well as practical (hands-on).

The Texas Department of Insurance offers these five tips to help make sure that you are operating your forklift in a safe manner.

  1. Prepare to drive. As with any other vehicle, you will want to wear a seat belt and keep all parts of your body within the driver’s compartment.
  2. Operate smoothly. Slow and steady is the name of the game. Don’t make any sharp turns and never drive so fast that you cannot safely and immediately stop the forklift if necessary. A forklift traveling 10 mph on dry ground can take 22 feet to come to a complete stop.
  3. Carry correctly. Forklifts can carry thousands of pounds worth of cargo. Make sure that your load is within the rated limits and that you’re using the right kind of lift for the cargo. Forklift overturns are the main cause of forklift fatalities – it is very important to get this right.
  4. Watch for pedestrians. Forklifts are slow, but still very dangerous. Never back up without a spotter. Signal to pedestrians with your horns and lights and always give them the right of way.
  5. Park properly. Lower the forks, put the controls in neutral, turn off the engine, check the parking brake and remove the key. Never park on an incline, and never park in an unapproved location.

Even if you do everything in your power to operate a forklift safely, you may still suffer a workplace injury. Injuries can be caused by the negligence of another party or even something as simple as a broken component within the forklift. Attorney Aaron Allison is prepared to assist you if you have been injured in the workplace while operating a large piece of machinery, such as a forklift. Call the Law Offices of Aaron Allison at (512) 474-8346 for a free consultation.



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