August Safety Corner – Forklift & Heavy Equipment Safety

Forklift Safety Graphic

Forklift & Heavy Equipment Safety

OSHA estimates forklifts cause about 85 fatal accidents per year; 34,900 accidents result in serious injury, 61,800 are classified as non-serious. There are about 855,900 forklifts in the U.S, therefore, over 11% of all forklifts will be involved in some type of accident each year!


How fast should you drive a forklift? 

The maximum allowable speed of a forklift truck is 8 mph, but in areas where pedestrians move about, the forklift should not move faster than 3 mph.


What is the capacity for a forklift?

A forklifts load capacity is determined as the maximum weight that a forklift is able to safely carry at a specified load center. If the load is not centered at the precise position then the forklift’s capacity will, therefore, be reduced.


What is the proper way to secure a forklift?

  1. Secure lift truck when left unattended.
  2. Park in an approved location.
  3. Set the brakes.
  4. Lower the forks or load to the floor.
  5. Neutralize the controls.
  6. Turn off the motor switch.

All forklifts are required to have a load capacity plate/tag that identifies the specific load limits for that lift truck!


10 Equipment Safety Items when operating heavy equipment

  1. Equipment blind spots – what’s behind you – people, equipment??
  2. Communications – always be in communication with others working around you (spotter).
  3. Seatbelts – There is always no excuse but laziness for not wearing it – rollover hazards. 
  4. Mounting / dismounting – 3 point of contact rule – at all times!
  5. Loading / unloading equipment – best operation is on level ground (use a spotter if high traffic area).
  6. Overhead / underground hazards – overhead power lines (Call 811 underground – sewer, gas, electrical, water, etc.)
  7. LOTO – OSHA – procedures in place to ensure before any employee performs servicing or maintenance on a machine where unexpected start-up or release of stored energy could occur and cause injury, the machine or energy source must be rendered inoperative. This includes hazards such as pinch points, attachments, and raised loads.
  8. Load limits – When lifting objects with a machine, make sure loads are secure with the proper rigging attachments, and always inspect to ensure they are in good working condition.
  9. Walk around inspection – Equipment should be inspected at least daily (start of shift) – Hydraulic hoses, undercarriage, oil levels, stress points, etc.
  10. Knowing your limits – Get out of the cab and look around if you’re unsure about working on a slope or around hazards.