Forklift Safety

Much of the equipment in use on construction projects can create dangerous conditions for construction workers. You know that a few of these conditions are present at all times — any piece of moving equipment should be respected. When working around a forklift keep a sharp lookout — DON’T DEPEND on the lift operator being able to see you, and DON’T DEPEND on hearing a horn or back-up alarm as surrounding noise may prevent this. When a forklift is traveling backwards, the operator usually cannot see you, SO STAND CLEAR!

Prior to starting the equipment give it a quick once over.
  • the engine oil level
  • radiator water level
  • fuel level
  • look at the tires
  • check both the parking and service brakes
  • check the hydraulic lines for leaks
  • test the horn.


When traveling from point to point never speed. A ‘jack rabbit’ start or stop may cause an accident. When carrying a load always face the destination of travel and keep a sharp look out for low overhead obstructions. Never allow co-workers to ride on the forks.

Never attempt to pick up more than the rated capacity of the machine. Wear the seat belt if one is provided. When picking up a load try to place the forks so the load is square, and make sure the material that you are carrying is -secure and won’t fall off during travel. Unless the forklift is designed for off-road use, never take if off the road.


Only trained operators should operate the lift. An untrained operator is a danger to all those working in the area.


As with any other piece of equipment, never smoke during refueling. Avoid working around low electrical lines. Should you ever have a question about a forklift, ask your supervisor. A forklift is a piece of equipment especially designed to help you with your work — don’t let it be a source of an injury — treat it with respect.





Forklifts assist us with various tasks around a construction site. Most of us take them for granted without giving a great deal of thought to safety, whether we’re operating them or working near them.


A forklift is designed to pick up heavy objects and move them from one place to another, or raise heavy or bulky loads to high levels. Lumber, brick, block, shingles, bags of concrete and tubs of mortar are just a few examples of material that can be moved by forklift on a construction site. Various other types of business use them to perform innumerable lifting tasks.


A forklift should only be operated by a trained, competent person. Never let someone operate a forklift that is not qualified to drive.


Inspect your forklift prior to use. Check the mast for any broken or cracked weld-points. Be sure the forks are spaced apart equally and free from cracks. Check the tires for proper inflation and the fuel and hydraulic fluid levels.


Some forklifts are battery powered; others use gasoline or diesel, and some use propane. If your forklift is battery powered be sure you DO NOT SMOKE in the charging area. If the lift is propane powered be sure you change the fuel cylinder outside, away from any buildings, and remember NO SMOKING is the rule. As always, NO

SMOKING when refueling with gasoline or diesel.

After completing your inspection get in the cab and buckle up the seat belt. With your foot on the brake, put the gear shift lever in the neutral

position and turn the key. Be sure to check all gauges, controls and brakes before moving, and then watch out for all workers in your area of operation. Prior to making any lift be sure you know the capacity of the forklift. This information is located on the manufacturer’s ID plate. You must also know the weight of what you are going to lift. If in doubt, or if you have any questions, check with your supervisor.




Forklift Daily Checklist