Operating Forklifts Safely

Understand the safe operation and use of forklifts.

Pre-operation checks

You must carry out a pre-shift or operational check to ensure the forklift is in a good and safe working condition. Report any defect or problem immediately to your supervisor.

Some checklist items include:

  • Controls and steering
  • Tyres condition
  • Foot brake
  • Lighting equipment
  • Rear view mirror
  • Reverse warning buzzer

Do’s and don’ts

During forklift operation, you must adhere to the following to protect yourself and those around you.

You should…

You should not…

  • Always fasten your seat belt.
  • Drive within the speed limit.
  • Slow down at corners and blind spots.
  • Always give way to pedestrians.
  • Keep loads close to the ground when the forklift is moving.
  • Check before reversing.


  • Overload the forklift.
  • Carry or transport people.
  • Allow unauthorised or untrained personnel to operate the forklift.

Employer’s role

To protect forklift operators and those around forklifts, you should ensure that:

  • the appropriate forklift is selected for the job.
  • the forklift is in a safe condition for use.
  • the forklift is maintained regularly.
  • the forklift is used by authorised and trained operator.
  • routes are demarcated for the forklift to move around safely. Refer to Vehicular Safety to learn more about workplace traffic management and planning.


For more information

Refer to the following resources: