Operating Forklifts Safely

Understand the safe operation and use of forklifts.

Pre-operation Checks

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

When operating a forklift, workers must adhere to the following to protect themselves and those around them.

Workers should…

Workers should not…

  • Always fasten the 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; and
  • Routes are demarcated for the forklift to move around safely. Please refer to Vehicular Safety to learn more about workplace traffic management and planning.


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