Forklifts or Fork Trucks: What are they?
Forklifts or lift trucks are used by numerous industries. Moving materials, raising, lowering and removing large or small objects held in storage containers (boxes, crates, bins or other container types) on pallets from one location to another is the primary use. There are two types of PIT driving operations, the operator either rides or walks behind (a.k.a. walkie) the unit while controlling the forklift. These are not to be confused with modified earth-moving equipment or over-the-road haulage trucks that have modifications to accommodate forks.
Hazards Associated with Lift Truck Operation
Each type of lift truck comes with its own operating hazards. An important fact to remember, it is against Federal law for any person under the age of 18 years old to operate a forklift of any type. Federal law mandates, anyone operating a forklift (18 years of age or older) must be a properly trained and certified operator. The sit-down rider forklift is a counterbalanced high-lift able to lift a high load. This poses a danger of a falling load. Whereas the motorized walk behind motorized forklift, a.k.a. hand truck is limited to the load height it can safely move at one time. The danger of a falling load is lower than the sit-down rider.
Other important safety hazard factors to be considered are the type of workplace environment and surrounding conditions. Maintaining customer safety for a retail store due to congested floor layouts is often a greater challenge than other workplace environments with extra isle space to ensure a person’s safety.
Additional safety hazards can include, but not limited to:
- An elevated pallet falls on top of a work when on the tines (forks).
- A lift truck strikes a worker.
- A worker drives the lift off the loading dock.
- A lift falls between loading docks.
- A lift falls due to an unsecured trailer.
Reducing Hazards Related to Powered Industrial Trucks
To determine the best company practices to prevent accidents and protect workers against injury, the worksite and type of forklift need to be considered. First and foremost, the operator must be properly trained and certified to operate the powered industrial truck accurately and safely. The 29 CFR 1910.178(l)(1) outlines the level of training and evaluation required to successfully become certified.
Forklift Inspection Checklists
- OSHA Daily Pit Checklist
- AISC Sample Safety Forms
- University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources – Forklift Pre-Shift Inspection Checklist
- IVES Training Group Pre-use Inspection Checklist – Rough Terrain Forklift
- Linc, Logistics Insight Corporation – Forklift Inspection Form
- MSU Daily Inspection Checklist for Powered Industrial Trucks – Gas/Propane/Diesel Forklift
- Texas Association of Manufacturers Forklift Inspection Checklist
- SCCGOV – Propane Powered Industrial Truck Inspection Form
- Caterpillar – Safety and Maintenance Checklist Forklifts
- IATSE Local 500 - Lift Truck Operator’s Daily/Weekly Inspection Report – Internal Combustion Lift Trucks
EMC Insurance Companies
- Electric Powered Industrial Truck (Forklift) Inspection Report
- Forklift Operators Evaluation
- Powered Industrial Truck (Forklift) Inspection Report Internal Combustion Engine – Gas/LPG/Diesel Truck
Forklift Safety & Training Videos
- Forklift Safety – 8 Rules – Avoid Accidents & Injuries – Safe Forklift Operation Starts with You!
- Basic Forklift Safety Training
- OSHA Forklift Safety Training Video from SafetyVideos.com
- The Forklift and You: A Safety Guide
- Forklift Pedestrian Safety
State Compensation Insurance Fund
- A Guide to Forklift Safety (English) Part 1
- A Guide to Forklift Safety (English) Part 2
- A Guide to Forklift Safety (Spanish) Part 1
- A Guide to Forklift Safety (Spanish) Part 2
- Forklift Training Course – Running Check
- Forklift License Course – Pre-Operation Check
- Basic Forklift Training
- Basic Operations of the Reachtruck
- OSHA Forklift Training Video
- 2015 Forklift Training
- Sit Down Rider Forklift Training Kit
- Forklift Training Systems
- Narrow Isle Reach Forklift – Moving a Load
- Powered pallet Truck – Moving a Load
- Semi-Electric Pallet Truck
- PowerSteer Pallet Trucks | Materials | Handling Experts | Raymond Corp.
- Basic Operations of The Counterbalance Forklift
- Counterbalance Training
- Counterbalance Operator Training Practice
- Forklift Certification
Linde Material Handling
IVES Training Group
- Part 1 Counterbalanced Forklift Pre-use Inspection
- Part 2 Counterbalanced Forklift Pre-use Inspection
- Part 3 Counterbalanced Forklift Pre-use Inspection
A-1 Forklift Training Certification (Training Facility)
- Forklift Accidents 2015
- Top 10 Forklift Accidents A
- Top 10 Forklift Accidents B
- Forklift Epic Fail and Recovery
- Young Forklift Operator Breaks His Back
- Forklift Fail and Accident Compilation
- Forklift Truck Crash with Container on it
- Horrible Forklift Accident
- Top 10 Forklift Accidents from Mitsubishi Forklift Briefing
- Forklift Accident Brings Down the Warehouse
- Forklift Accidents
Top Forklift Safety Accessories
- Blue Forklift Light
- Drivers Overhead Guard
- Forklift Decal Kit
- LED lights
- Safespot Forklift Pedestrian Alert System
- SIS Easy forklift pedestrian safety system
- Back Up Alarm
- Back Up Lights
- Load Back Rest
- Retractable Seat Belts
- Strobe Light
There are multiple types of forklifts, all with their own unique features. Whether it’s an electric motor or internal combustion engine gas/LPG/diesel powered industrial truck being used, well planned and structured training to become a certified operator is imperative to the operator’s safety, those around them and the company.