Forklifts – Common Safety Hazards

Forklifts are one of the most common machines that workers have access to. They are used to carry heavy loads across long distances. Common workplaces that use forklifts are warehouses, shipyards, distribution centers, and transport.  

Forklifts are very useful in cutting down the time and effort needed to move objects. This results in fewer injuries from workers lifting heavy objects. However, other safety hazards come with forklifts.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are over 85 fatal injuries involving forklifts each year. OSHA has several standards to help reduce these fatal injuries. We will focus on two areas of forklift safety: parking and operations.

forklift operation


The first safety hazard while operating a forklift is parking. Even though parking may seem easy, there are several things that you must do to park safely. Parking a forklift has two categories: attended and unattended parking.

Attended Parking

It is attended parking when you are 25 feet or closer to the forklift and can see it. Make sure the forks of the forklift are fully lowered, the controls are neutralized, and the parking brake is on. Also, make sure to chalk the wheels.

Unattended Parking.

It is unattended parking when you are further than 25 feet from the forklift or cannot see it. Like the attended parking, make sure the forks are fully lowered, the controls are neutralized, and the parking brake is on. Make sure to chalk the wheels and turn off the ignition.


The majority of injuries occur when forklifts are in operation. You must make sure that you are working with safety in mind. Follow these safe practices:

  • Lift loads when stopped
  • Use a spotter
  • Be alert while driving
  • Use the horn when in reverse and lowering a load
  • Drive at a reasonable speed
  • Always wear a seat belt

Forklifts are very capable and handy for carrying heavy loads. However, they are also capable of being a safety hazard. You should always follow these safety practices for parking and the operations of a forklift.

Hard Hat Training Series offers comprehensive forklift training. Also, check out their website, they offer hundreds of trainings. Taking their training will help you be safe in your workplace.

Good luck and stay safe!