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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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Next entry: Pallet Jack Safety – Guide to Operating a Pallet Jack Safely

Previous entry: Forklift Usage Tips: Load Lifting Checklist


These all tips are very beneficial for those people who drive the forklifts. This is nice blog.   

Truck Hire
December 25, 2012 - 5:16 pm

  Can you tell me if I can obtain a learners guide book as you can for a car and how can I obtain one
Regards Brian Rutter

Brian Rutter
March 12, 2014 - 4:58 pm

HI Brian,

Apologies for the late reply. We don’t offer driver training anymore, but if you contact a training company they’ll be able to help you and should be able to provide you with some sort of training book.

All the best.

AAL Admin
April 29, 2014 - 4:07 pm

Thanks for all of these forklift safety tips! I definitely agree that it’s important to make allowances when working on uneven ground, inclines, in high winds or similar hazards. It’s also important to know the weight limits for a forklift. You don’t want to put yourself in a dangerous situation, especially one that can be avoided with a bit of common sense.

April 28, 2015 - 3:22 am

These all tips and information is beneficial for safe operation.

June 01, 2015 - 5:20 pm

Can you tell me the distance you can be from your lift before you have to cut it off. I now it can’t be out of your site but can’t remember the distance.             

Eddie Bray
September 30, 2016 - 12:00 am

                      My job has been looking for some forklift rental services and possibly investing in one in the future. I’m glad that I was able to find some tips in your article though about how to safely use a forklift. I think that being able to know to lower the forklift loads slowly and gently stopping them is a useful tip, making sure that we don’t damage anything or cause problems! Thanks for the info!

August 01, 2017 - 5:48 am

                      What is the maximum duration a forklift operator should operate a forklift daily because here in Nigeria operator are being over used

September 08, 2017 - 4:54 pm

Thank you for your tips on safely working with a forklift. I’m going to be taking a course on how to drive a forklift soon so that I’ll be able to drive the one that my workplace will be renting for our renovation project. It’s good to know that I can move things at a slight tilt when loads have a tendency to lean one way or another, and I’ll be sure to do so in all cases, as you suggest.

Rhianna Hawk
September 20, 2018 - 3:09 am

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