Forklift Operation & Safety Tips For The Workplace

Having operated many different forklifts in various facilities and workplace environments, I can tell you a thing or two about forklift safety. All kinds of factors come into play. It may seem easy to operate a forklift at many times, but I’ve been in many tight situations. At one place I worked at, I had to lift crates with thousands of pounds worth of material on a spool. I would have to turn sharp corners as well, and at some points, the load was max capacity.

This place that I worked for did take safety very seriously, but there were times that the load I had on the forklift made it tip forward a little. There wasn’t much storage space, and I was literally told that I had to do it anyway even with what I felt were unsafe conditions. In another workplace facility, I was a temp and didn’t drive the forklift. However, one of the guys told me I had to get on a cherry picker and go 30 feet in the air to clean. When he took me up there, he started shaking the cherry picker.


Guys, I’m being for real here. Do not, and I mean do not let someone talk you into something unsafe. It may seem like it’s easy to avoid, but there are always other factors. That first time I mentioned, it was the highest paying job I ever had, and my mom worked there on the other side of the plant as a supervisor. The second time, I had lost my first house, and I was working a temp job and needed the money until I figured out what I was going to do with my degree.

As you can see, there are all kinds of things that might compromise your safety when driving a forklift. Most accidents could be prevented if people followed their gut. Additionally, when you buy used equipment it’s very important to follow all safety rules and never start horsing around so to speak. You must be alert and attentive the entire time, and you never want to drive too fast. People get comfortable on those things.

At another place I worked at, I was always on the forklift for the garden center area of the store. This was an easier time driving a forklift, but I had to watch out for traffic. Plus, I had to change the fuel for the forklift there because I was on it so much. You definitely have to know what you’re doing if you change the propane tank on a forklift, although it’s very simple instructions.

It was mentioned that there are different types of forklifts, so don’t just get on one assuming you know everything about it already. Be very cautious, and again, as for getting comfortable, you never want to be too comfortable driving a forklift. I was young and skilled, but I would go too fast at times. Make sure you know all the safety rules for your specific workplace and follow them.