Are You Operating Your Forklift Properly? Avoid Accidents

Forklift accidents cause 62,000 incidents of worker injury every year and up to 100 fatalities. It’s easy to become complacent after you’ve driven one for a while. They’re pretty easy to operate so you can forget how dangerous they can be. This blog will help you brush up on some safety tips so you can avoid becoming a statistic. 

What are the Most Common Forklift Accidents and How to Avoid Them? 

Forklift rollovers kill people. It’s easy to overbalance when you’re maneuvering in a warehouse with a heavy load. Some of the main causes of rollover accidents include: 

  • Turning too fast 
  • Unbalanced loads 
  • Abrupt mast movement 
  • Turning on an incline 
  • Driving with an elevated load 
  • Driving on uneven surfaces 
  • Driving too fast 


Slow down. It’s easy to zip around in these machines, but follow the speed limit and slow down around corners. Never raise or lower a load when the forklift is moving. Keep the load low, so the center of gravity keeps you from tipping. Watch for potholes and obstacles. 

If you feel the load tipping, stay in the seat, brace yourself, and lean away from the impact point. Always wear your seatbelt and follow the safety rules your employer has established. 

Forklifts also impact people and can cause significant injury. When a driver fails to communicate their intentions or a worker darts behind the driver’s line of sight, accidents can happen. What causes these incidents to occur? 

Believe it or not, simply fatigue is often a contributor to a forklift injury. Working a long night shift with few breaks is risky to the employer and their workers. OSHA reports employees who work a 12-hour shift are 37% more at risk to be injured. Employers should require breaks for their workforce to help protect them from forklift or other injuries.  

Employers should also put down floor tape or install a barrier to help keep employees away from moving equipment. Wall mounted mirrors can help drivers and workers see what’s coming around the corner at them. Forklifts should have warning lights and backup alarms to keep everyone aware of these dangerous machines. 

Finally, a lack of operator training is a serious issue. OSHA requires that every forklift operation be properly trained and certified in how to use these machines. But we all know of instances where this hasn’t happened. The problem is that untrained operators will not be aware of the proper safety procedures for operating these dangerous vehicles, making it much more likely that accidents will occur.

But why would a forklift operator fail to be trained properly? 

  • Some companies may be unaware of the OSHA requirements. 
  • Other businesses may be on a tight timeline and so simply cut corners by letting untrained workers fire up the forklift to get more things done more quickly. 
  • Other workers may pressure an employee to help by running a forklift, but truly, this kind of environment is very dangerous to everyone in the area of an untrained operator. 

If you’re working in an environment where your safety is compromised, call our team. We have a variety of positions in a variety of environments that may be a better fit. You don’t have to settle for a work environment that isn’t a good fit. Call on PrideStaff—we can help.