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Forklift Safety: Important Forklift Driver Tips - Always & Never

Filed under: Forklift Operators - Safety & Guides

When dealing with forklifts there are some things you should always and never do. Although some aspects might be obvious, it always pays to review them as with such powerful machines even small mistakes can be costly ones.


  • Lower the load to travel height before moving (approximately 150mm). Never above axle height
  • Carry loads with a slight tilt, never with load at vertical or forward tilt
  • Take particular care when braking, accelerating or turning, as the force applied will alter the balance of your truck
  • Make allowances when working on uneven ground, inclines, in high winds or similar hazards
  • Lower all loads (especially heavy loads) slowly and stop them gently
  • Be conscious of load swing when carrying long loads (e.g. bar stock, piping, timber or other long items)
  • Check the waybills consignment notes or manifest of unmarked boxes or containers to find the weight, to ensure your forklift truck is capable of lifting the load
  • Drive slowly in wet or slippery conditions and proceed with caution
  • Bring the forklift truck completely to a stop before changing direction from forward to reverse or vice versa
  • Maintain a safe distance between your truck and other vehicles



  • Leave a load on a stack if it appears unstable
  • Exceed the rated capacity of the truck. This will overload your truck and cause the rear to become light, lose your steering, tip the truck forward and possibly damage the hydraulics and mechanical parts of the truck
  • Add additional counterweights to the rear of your truck. The existing counterweights have been designed for the maximum Safe Working Load (SWL) of the truck
  • Raise or lower loads on the move especially whilst turning. You should only raise and lower loads while you are stationary and directly in front of the stack, rack or truck
  • Allow any person to stand underneath your tynes loaded or unloaded
  • Carrying a load with only one tyne may stress it and the lateral stability of the truck will be severely affected
  • Raise a load near or over people as it is against safe operating procedures.

If you have any other tips for the safe handling of a forklift, please leave us a comment below as we would love to know what they are.

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