Best Practices for Forklift Use

Forklifts seem pretty simple when you look at them. It’s all about loading and unloading heavy things, how complicated can it be? Unfortunately, that’s not where the story ends. Since you’re dealing with tons of very costly machinery moving around, you’re going to need to take precautions to make sure everything runs as smooth as possible. Here are some great examples of what to focus on.

1. Keep it safe around the loading dock

Forklifts are dangerous pieces of equipment while moving things around, but very few people know that this isn’t where most accidents happen. The vast majority of accidents happen during the loading and unloading of cargo. When unloading things onto a truck, several bad things can happen. The load could be too heavy and the truck might tip over, injuring the truck or forklift driver. Sometimes the truck isn’t stable enough and it starts rolling forward while having things loaded into it. This is called an early departure and it can lead to items being damaged or it could get drivers injured.

Safety precautions have to be taken seriously. You should always be aware of how much weight a truck can take before unloading anything into it. Make sure the truck has all the necessary landing gear that will keep it grounded while the forklift does its job. Wheel locks and hooks will save you from unnecessary risks.

2. Practice spatial awareness

Forklift drivers aren’t using just any vehicle, they’re using some of the heaviest mobile objects in the warehouse. A forklift can weigh literal tons without any load on it, making it dangerous enough on its own. When it’s moving around the warehouse, you want both your drivers and other workers to be aware of where it is at all times.

Drivers shouldn’t have their view obstructed by anything. If they have to make some hard turns on sharp angles they should always slow down beforehand. Eyesight shouldn’t be the only thing you can rely on, either. A lot of forklifts have noise machines that will signal their proximity to anyone that gets close enough to hear them. Unfortunately, warehouses can sometimes be both loud and dark. Employees should always check their surroundings no matter what they hear.

3. Regular maintenance

Having the right equipment is essential for getting the job done. Forklifts are no different in this regard. The difference is that when a forklift fails, it can take someone down with it, which is why you want it to fail as rarely as possible. Even the highest quality equipment will sometimes fail and it’s important to be prepared for this

Getting your forklift checked out is crucial. Remember to schedule both your rented and purchased forklifts for regular maintenance. Licensed professionals from companies like MLA Holdings will notice potentially harmful faults in the machines before they can cause failure. It might cost you a bit to fix these, but they’re nowhere near the losses you might get from a forklift accident. Sometimes it’s better to be safe than sorry.

4. Training employees

The technology might be improving every day, but forklifts still need trained drivers in order to function. Keep in mind, drivers are human and they make mistakes like the rest of us. Human error is one of the most common causes of forklift accidents. It can’t be avoided, but you can minimize the chance of it happening by training your drivers.

Not only will training make forklift driving safer around the warehouse, but it also has other benefits as well. Since it’s considered a safety measure, driver training will lower the amount of money you pay for insurance premiums. Fewer accidents mean less money spent on repairs, which makes training a solid investment for any kind of warehouse. Let’s not forget seasoned drivers. Even the most experienced employees might need a refresher from time to time.


It’s not exactly the safest job in the world, but working with forklifts is necessary to get things done in any warehouse. You have a plethora of things to watch out for. Safety is the main priority here. If you follow these precautions, your warehouse will see minimal accidents and injuries during work hours.

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Written by Liam Smith

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