Safety Guidelines for Forklift Operation

Whether you employ forklift operators or are a forklift operator, it’s important that you follow certain safety guidelines to keep pedestrians and workers safe. The last thing you need is a lawsuit and a fine because of negligence. All forklift drivers on the premises should follow the safety guidelines below and those provided by OSHA, so that injuries and damages are avoided:

  • Make sure that forklift operations are done away from where pedestrians are walking about.
  • To keep pedestrians out, there should be barriers put up to restrict the forklift area from being accessible.
  • The walkways of pedestrians should also be clearly marked, so that they know where they can walk safely.
  • Put up signs around the site that there is a forklift in operation.
  • There should be mirrors for forklift operator to see blind spots where pedestrians and workers may go unnoticed.
  • A daily schedule should showcase any changes made to the workplace that will affect forklift operators.
  • All forklifts and tires should be suitable for operation on the surfaces of the workplace they will be used on.
  • A fitted seatbelt should be available inside of the forklift to keep the operator safe.
  • Check the forklift seat to ensure that it is in good shape.
  • Regular maintenance work should be done to all forklifts to ensure that they are safe to operate.
  • Each year, forklifts should be inspected and certified.
  • Forklift should be the right size for the jobs that it is expected to perform.
  • There should be a readable load chart within the forklift that the operator can understand.
  • The load chart should showcase the safe capacities for various attachments and has ratings for each.
  • Warning devices should be tested and properly fitted to the forklift (includes horns, turning signals, brake and reverse lights, reverse beeper, etc.)
  • A fully functional operating speed control device should be fitted for the forklift.
  • The overhead cage should also be fitted for the forklift.
  • All forklift operators should have proper certifications to work the forklift.
  • Any forklift operators who are unlicensed should be supervised by an authorized person.
  • Speed limits and warning signs should always be adhered to by the forklift operators.
  • Proper training and instruction should be given to forklift operators to ensure that they understand the operation of the forklift models that they will be using. Workplace hazards and safety procedures should also be instructed.
  • All equipment damage and incidents regarding the forklift should be reported right away.
  • There should be a checklist that is used before the operation of forklift at the start of each shift.


This is a great checklist to use to ensure that the forklift operations in your warehouse are done in a safe manner. If you are looking to become a forklift driver and are uncertified, you can visit Forklift Academy to enroll in a course to receive OSHA compliant certification.



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