Common Forklift Mistakes and How to Avoid Them 

Forklifts should make your work easier, not more complicated.

Forklifts reduce manual labour and the time required to move heavy items, improving efficiency and productivity.

However, forklifts are heavy machines, and even a minor error can have serious consequences.

These mistakes can be dangerous and cause injury or death from overloading or using improper attachments to reckless driving.

Prevention is the best strategy against workplace accidents. Below are some of the most common mistakes that can be easily fixed with proper preparation and education. 

I. Lack of Training and Certification 

When it comes to operating forklifts, training is one of the most important aspects. When an operator tries to handle a forklift without any training, it can lead to fatalities.

There are over 87 deaths yearly caused by forklifts. This shows that even a slight mishandling of a forklift can result in fatalities and significant expenditures.

But you can correct that and guarantee that no forklift accidents occur at work, as shown in the table below.

Solution Brief Description
Provide proper specialized and extensive training You can achieve this by having professionals like Clockwork provide extensive, specialized training to your forklift operators.
A forklift operator should understand how to handle a forklift safely and efficiently while following Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations.
The other employees must understand how to behave and act in areas when a forklift is in use, as they may help to decrease accidents caused by operator or pedestrian error.
Assess training needs regularly Even after your employees undergo training, you must review it regularly to check if it includes all the relevant information.
For example, if you currently operate a specific forklift class but then purchase a new model with more capabilities, you must ensure that the operators receive refresher training.
Encourage safe behaviour Create a workplace culture that prioritizes safety, communication, and employee teamwork.

You can achieve this by having regular safety meetings, reminders like printing fliers, and incentives for employees or departments demonstrating safety behaviours.

II. Overloading and Improper Use of Attachments

Overloading and improper use of attachments can lead to tipping over, accidents, and damages.

When an operator handles a forklift that has exceeded its maximum weight capacity, it may become unstable, resulting in tipping, accidents, injuries, and even fatalities.

Also, using the wrong attachments could cause the same issues as overloading, as it can compromise the stability and balance of the forklift.

III. Reckless Forklift Driving and Ignoring Safety Features 

Forklifts are heavy machines that require the utmost care and attention to ensure operators handle them safely.

According to the British Safety Council, 57% of forklift fatalities and injuries involve pedestrians. So, when an employee handles a forklift recklessly, this endangers their safety, other employees and pedestrians. 

Reckless driving includes driving too fast, making sharp turns, overloading, or carrying an unbalanced load. At the same time, safety features include seat belts, horns, and warning lights.

However, you can avoid these mistakes if you insist the operator does the following:

  • Follow proper forklift operating procedures like keeping both hands on the steering wheel, driving safely, and slowing down as an operator approaches corners, other people, or machinery.
  • Always use safety belts, horns, and warning lights while staying alert and focused.
  • Keep a clear vision of the path before or behind them. They should also engage a spotter to guide them when lifting heavy loads.
  • Maintain the forklift and inspect it regularly to ensure it is safe for the operator.

IV. Invest in Hands-On Training for Your Forklift Operators

These three mistakes, overloading, inappropriate attachment use, irresponsible driving and neglecting safety features, are primarily caused by a lack of training.

Clockwork Training offers forklift training courses that keep you and your employees trained and safe while working.

Hands-on training guarantees that your operator can load and unload items effectively, operate the vehicle in tight spaces, and perform basic maintenance duties.

Get in touch with us today if you want to provide your employees with the skills they need to operate forklifts safely and lower the risk of accidents and property damage.