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Expert Tips for Safe Forklift Operation

Owning a forklift is great for business. You can move stock around your warehouse or storage space with ease and comfort and reduce the manpower and hours needed for manual lifting. This will enhance your efficiency and save you money.

Unfortunately, a forklift is also a potentially dangerous piece of machinery. Accidents happen and they can sometimes cause serious injury or even death. Let’s take a look at some top tips for safe forklift operation.

The Risks

There are several risks associated with the operation of any sort of forklift. Here are some of the things you will need to consider:

  • Forklifts can become unstable when they carry heavy loads beyond their recommended capacity
  • A fully stocked forklift can weigh several tonnes in total, making it dangerous if it is misused
  • Forklifts open operate in heavy traffic areas, where speed is essential. This makes accidents more common and safety absolutely paramount.

It’s also worth noting that it’s not just the operator who is at risk. Pedestrians and other forklift operators can also face danger.

Now let’s look at the safety tips to avoid these dangers and more.


Under current Australian law, anyone operating a forklift must hold a high-risk work licence. That licence must be obtained via a course from a Registered Training Organisation (or RTO). There are a few exceptions to this. A person who is in training can operate a forklift, provided they’re enrolled with an RTO in the relevant course. A person who also holds a licence can supervise a person who doesn’t have one.

A Word about Seatbelts

Under Australian law, a seatbelt or other system of restraint should be used when operation a forklift.  The only exception is if a thorough risk assessment tells you it is not safe to use one. A seatbelt will keep you in the cab in the case of a tip or spill, and will stop you from getting thrown out of your seat in case of an impact.

Lifting Attachments

You want to ensure that the forklift comes fitted with lifting attachments that are suitable for the load that’s getting lifted or moved. Unsuitable attachments present an untenable level of risk for the operator and anyone close by. Make sure that you have all the necessary information about each attachment before using it. Secure it as per the manufacturer’s instructions and ensure that any staff fitting attachments have the relevant training. Supervision may also be necessary.

Avoid Distractions

A forklift is like any other moving vehicle. You need to avoid any distractions when operating it. This includes smoking, mobile phones, music, headphones and the like. Even hands-free devices are distracting. Focus on the job at hand. There’s plenty of time for everything else when you’re not operating a heavy vehicle.

Other Things to Avoid

If you can, avoid rapid breaking, tight turns and turning sideways on ramps. Also avoid overloading, excessive speed and travelling down a ramp forward-facing while bearing a load. All these activities will increase the risk of accidents or incidents.

After More Information?

Would you like to know more about safe forklift operation? Please contact Aussie Forklift Sales; we’d love to hear from you. If you’re looking at buying a newer, safer forklift, feel free to browse our range online.