Driving tests

Forklift safety: things your drivers should never do

Now’s a good time to check how your operators are doing and that they haven’t acquired any bad habits over the last few months. The following list contains things that forklift operators tend to slide back into doing and need to be reminded they’re not correct.

Forklift operators should never:

  • Raise or lower loads while the forklift is moving and especially not while turning because it makes the forklift very unstable. Loads should be lowered and raised when the forklift is stopped in front of the rack, stack or truck.
  • Allow anyone to stand underneath or right next to raised forks. If the load shifts and falls off, it can be catastrophic.
  • Carry a load with only one fork as it stresses the carriage
  • Add an additional counterweight to the rear of the truck or let anyone sit on the rear of the truck to act as a counterweight
  • Exceed the rated capacity of the forklift – it can cause the truck to tip forwards, then the load slides off, then it crashes down backwards
  • Leave a load on a stack, rack or truck that looks unstable
  • Stack loads on sloping ground
  • Carry raised loads outside in strong winds
  • Slide pallets along the ground as it causes them to become weaker
  • Carry loads with a forward tilt
  • Leave the truck unattended with the keys in
  • Miss doing a pre-start inspection

Forklift operators should always:

  • Travel with the load at axle height
  • Look over both shoulders before reversing
  • Get on and off the forklift using 3 points of contact
  • Leave the forklift parked with the forks’ tips on the ground
  • Carry loads with the forks tilted back
  • Be gentle with the freight
  • Be gentle with the equipment, e.g. coming to a stop before putting it into reverse

Getting on and off the forklift using 3 points of contact is the safest method

There are many more best practices that are outlined in the forklift course.

Darren is a member of the Institute of Advanced Motorists and the NZ Motoring Writers' Guild

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