How Can You Decrease The Likelihood Of Injuries While Using Forklifts?

Share Story

How Can You Decrease The Likelihood Of Injuries While Using Forklifts

So, how can you decrease the likelihood of injuries while using forklifts? This has become a popular search term on the internet lately. Why? The number of injuries credited to forklift use has been on the rise. 

The OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) estimated that 35,000 injuries related to forklift use are recorded each year, and these are serious injuries. In addition, 62,000 non-serious injuries related to using forklifts occur each year. 

Now, these are the number of injuries recorded in the United States of America. So, imagine the number of people that sustain injuries from forklift use. This has to change.  

This post discusses ways to lower your likelihood of sustaining injuries while using a forklift. Keep reading to discover how. 

Ways You Can Decrease Likelihood of Injuries While Using Forklift 

We urge you to do the following to avoid injuries while utilizing a forklift. 

1: Undergo proper training before using a forklift (practical and theoretical): 

Are you adequately trained on how to use a forklift? How would you rate yourself as a forklift operator? You can claim an excellent rating to please your supervisor or manager. But remember that your safety is paramount.  

Training is the first and most important thing to consider before using a forklift. There’s a need to have proper training, as this can lower your likelihood of sustaining an injury while using the machine. 

OSHA has recommended a training program for forklift operators. The training usually includes practical and theoretical classes (done in a classroom). 

Participants are to receive a certificate after the training showing they are qualified to operate the forklift. 

The OSHA also stated that the training program for forklifts should include the following:

  • Safe operation of the machine (forklift).
  • Load handling and stacking
  • Maintenance and inspection requirements
  • Refueling and recharging procedures
  • Principles of the center of gravity and stability

2: Follow safe operation procedures:

As a certified forklift operator, you would have been taught how to operate the machine safely in theory and practice. 

Following the proper safety procedures when operating a forklift is essential to decrease the likelihood of an injury. Here are the procedures operators are expected to follow: 

  • There is no point exceeding the speed limit. Stay within the limit, and you’ll reduce the likelihood of injuries. 
  • It is essential to wear your seatbelt before driving a forklift.
  • Ensure the load faces uphill when driving a forklift.  
  • Avoid sudden stops and sharp turns.  
  • Don’t drive too close to other people and equipment. Maintain a safe distance from them when operating a forklift.  

3: Take good care of your forklift: 

A car you don’t maintain regularly and adequately can break down or cause injury; the same thing can happen with a forklift. 

Regular maintenance is crucial to extend the lifespan of your forklift and prevent injuries. Your forklift won’t break down while in use and won’t pose an injury threat to whoever is operating it. 

Forklifts are expensive, so proper and regular maintenance is highly needed. You don’t want a machine you have spent a fortune on to develop a fault because of poor performance.   

The following are ways you can maintain your forklift so they work smoothly and avoid injuries. 

  • Check for damaged or worn-out parts and replace them. Don’t neglect any damage you find on the machine. If it’s a minor repair issue, report it to your supervisor.
  • Don’t just jump into a forklift and start driving. Inspect it thoroughly before you drive. These include checking the steering, brakes, and other components. 
  • Check the fluids and filters occasionally, and change them if there’s a need to do so. 
  • Ensure your brakes and horns work before you hit the road with a forklift. 

4: Be aware of your surroundings when operating a forklift (Avoid distractions):

Avoid any distractions when driving a forklift. These include wearing earphones, listening to music, or doing other distracting stuff. 

Always remember that you’re driving a heavy-duty machine and need maximum concentration.

So, always be aware of what’s around you when using a forklift. Watch out for other equipment and pedestrians, including obstacles in your path.

Follow the tips below to increase your awareness when using a forklift: 

  • Keep every distraction aside. These include your cell phone or headphones. Stop listening to music while using a forklift. You don’t need such distractions. 
  • Use lights and horns as signals when approaching a blindspot or intersection. 
  • Focus on the task you have at hand. Do not lose concentration until you have gotten off the forklift.  Be 100% focused on the job.

5: Proper load handling:

Operators need proper load-handling training, which is crucial to avoid injuries while using a forklift. You must know the various load-handling processes, including loading, stacking, and transporting the materials. 

Here are some quick tips to add to what you already know on proper load handling concerning forklifts. 

  • Ensure the load you’re about to carry is the rated capacity. Every forklift has a rated capacity, such as its load. Never exceed your forklift’s rated capacity. 
  • Don’t place a load on one side. Distribute it evenly so that the machine can be balanced and you can avoid injuries. 
  • Always remember that keeping the load low is an excellent way to achieve better stability. 
  • Again, remember that the load must remain within the forklift’s capacity.  

How To Decrease The Likelihood of Injuries While Using Standing Forklift

Are you using a standing forklift? Understand that standing forklift poses a new set of challenges. Most standing forklift operators complain of knee injuries after a full day’s work.  

The injury is often related to pain around the knee area. But how can you avoid such injuries? Follow the tips below. 

  • Ensure you’re standing in a way that supports your body weight fully. This way, you can avoid injuries posed by the equipment’s sudden stops and constant movement. 
  • Do you want to avoid “duck feet?” If yes, you should always position your feet forward. Know that how you position your feet will determine how the rest of your legs will absorb the shock to your body. 

A Handy Tip: Note that turned-out feet will create a less knee position that isn’t too stable, which would be a problem. A sudden stop of the forklift can cause your knees to bend inward when weakly positioned, leading to injuries. 

  • Consider how you enter and exit the equipment. Why? These two simple processes can cause unbearable knee pain. So, what’s the best thing to do? Maintain three points of contact. Why? The reason is because of your increase in control and stability.

A Handy Tip: Keep both feet straight, and ensure your knees are aligned with the outside of your big toes. This way, you can avoid nagging knee injuries or pains.   

Another thing you should note is when exiting the forklift, remember to descend backward. Then land on the ball of your back foot, giving the body more stability.


So, how can you decrease the likelihood of injuries while using forklifts? Firstly, you have to get proper training. The forklift is not the equipment you can or should try operating without proper training. You’ll be exposing yourself to severe injuries if you do so.

Another way to prevent injuries while using a forklift is to maintain the equipment regularly. Check the machine’s fluid, brakes, filters, horns, steering, and other parts. If you find any damaged parts, replace them immediately. 

Ensure the load you want to carry doesn’t exceed the machine’s rated capacity. In addition, don’t place the load on one side of the machine. We also provided details on how to operate a standing forklift safely. You can read thoroughly for ideas on how to prevent knee injuries. 

Share Article

Susan Tapia is an ambitious, savvy news writer with a vibrant personality and an eye for detail. She is highly experienced in crafting compelling stories and dedicated to seeking out the truth. With her inquisitive nature, she delves deep into every subject she touches, uncovering unexpected facts that help her engage her readers. Susan has an unbridled passion for writing, and she strives to inspire others through her work. She confidently shares her thought-provoking ideas with enthusiasm and candor, making sure the world can see the truth no matter how uncomfortable it may be. Simply put, Susan Tapia is a trailblazer in the journalism industry who never fails to deliver her readers riveting stories they won't soon forget.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Related Posts