Tips on How to Drive a Forklift Safely


For many large-scale and small-scale construction projects here in the Philippines forklift is one of the most used pieces of heavy machinery that is absolutely necessary for building various sets of infrastructures. A forklift weighs more than three tons, and can reach maximum speeds of approximately 10 mph.

These mechanical feats are integral for optimizing the productivity of any worksite. But the fact remains that although they are absolutely essential in this day and age, they also pose many extreme dangers. There are thousands of recorded forklift accidents every year that result from unsafe and improper operating or lack of training and safety protocol awareness.

Let’s take a look at some of the most fundamental things to keep in mind in order to safely operate a forklift:

General Precautionary Measures

First and foremost, it is a given that you should never operate a forklift vehicle that requires repair or maintenance. Make it a point to inform the shift supervisor of any issues, problems, inquiries, and concerns. Another thing to keep in mind is that forklifts operate uniquely; you have to make sure that you are well-versed with that specific model’s operating manual.

Never leave an operating forklift unattended – never leave the keys in an unattended forklift. It is also a given but important to note that you should know and never exceed the lifting capacity of the forklift you are about to operate.

Smooth and Safe Handling

Before anything else, in order to successfully operate a forklift, you first have to receive and undergo thorough forklift safety training and accomplish the necessary certifications before you are to actually use this piece of heavy machinery.

Be alert and attentive by avoiding hazards on the ground, such as slippery or unstable surfaces, bumps and holes, etc. Always alerts others with a horn and remember to keep a safe distance from other trucks, machines, and especially people.

Eliminate Potential Dangers to Your Surroundings

When you are driving a forklift, keep an alert focus on the people around you. Avoid making fast maneuvers as much as possible because sudden turns can toss off a load and even put the entire machine off balance – exercise utmost caution when having to pass through ramps and inclines.

Whether empty or loaded, no person should ever be permitted to stand and walk beneath the forks. And always check with utmost certainty and accuracy before backing up or turning the forklift.

Loading Hazards

It is well-recorded that most of the accidents that occur with forklifts are when loads crush a person below. As mentioned earlier, never load trucks beyond the approved maximum capacity. Make it a point to ensure that loads are firmly stable and strapped in place prior to moving the vehicle.

When stocking loads, be on the lookout for slipping and unstable loads, and always have a good ocular vantage point and easy access of the location where you are to position the load.

Key Takeaway

When it comes to working with a forklift here in the Philippines, there are many hazardous instances that lead to serious injuries and even deaths! The points elaborated on above serve as a basic guiding point for safe forklift operation.