7 Common Forklift Operation Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

24 Jan 2020

Common forklift mistakes

Whether you’re a beginner forklift operator or highly experienced driver, mistakes can occur during operation. According to The Occupational Safety & Health Administration forklifts account for 61,800 minor injuries, 34,900 serious injuries, and 85 forklift related deaths every year. So knowing what these common mistakes are and how to avoid them can help prevent serious accidents from occurring in your workplace. Read on to find out the top 7 forklift operation mistakes and how to prevent these!

1. Not Inspecting Your Forklift

Your forklift should be inspected everyday before use. You should follow a daily forklift pre-start safety checklist.

During your daily inspections ensure you check the following:

  • Warehouse workspace for potential obstructions
  • Tyre pressure, and signs of wear and tear
  • Forks are not bent/cracked and locking pins are in place
  • Fluids including hydraulics, oil, water and coolant
  • Batter is fully charged
  • Control panel to ensure all lights and gauges are working

conducting forklift checks

Failure to check some of these could result in serious malfunctions and dangerous consequences, so make sure you are following the protocol! By conducting these daily inspections, you can spot issues before they occur. As well as daily checks, you should also conduct Forklift Maintenance Checks, including monthly, quarterly, and semi-annual maintenance. 

2. Not Knowing Your Load Capacity

Along with conducting your daily forklift checks, when operating a forklift you always need to check the forklift’s capacity. This figure can be found on the truck’s data plate. Carrying a load that is too heavy for your forklift’s capacity makes it unstable, which could cause it tip over and cause serious injury to the operator.

If you find that the trucks data plate is difficult to read, obscured or has been altered, make sure you speak to your manager.


3. Unsecured Load

Depending on what you are carrying, the size, shape and weight, each load needs to be secured differently. You may be able to easily secure a flat pallet, but a more oddly shaped object can be much more difficult to safely secure. So make sure you take extra care when travelling with objects that may be more likely to fall.

4. Inadequate Training

To operate a forklift you need to have to correct forklift certification and training to ensure you are qualified for the job and to understand how to safely operate a forklift. However, even if you you’re your certification, as a new forklift operator their can been a lot to remember. An inexperienced operator might not know how to respond to obstacles which can cause safety issues. So make sure you always receive proper training and ask questions when in doubt. Check out our post for more tips for new forklift operators.

5. Driving too fast

Speeding is one of the most common causes of workplace accidents when working with forklifts. You may feel rushed or under pressure to get things done, but reckless driving puts you and those around you at great risk. Even if you do see and obstacle and break quickly, this harsh breaking can cause the vehicle to topple. So always prioritise safety over speed and productivity.

Choosing a Forklift advantages and disadvantages

6. Poor Communication

Warehouses are usually very busy environments and one of the most common accidents is a pedestrian being hit by a forklift. So as a forklift operator, you need to know what is happening in the warehouse and communicate with the other workers. By letting others know what you are doing and where you are working can help the be mindful of you and make sure you don’t get in each other’s way.

This also includes:

  • Assessing your workspace to identify work areas and unauthorised access areas
  • Making eye contact and using hand signals with pedestrians and other operators to signal you are aware of them
  • Using forklift signals such as lights and horns

By avoiding these common mistakes, you can help to reduce the likelihood of serious accidents and injuries happening in your workplace! If you are looking for forklift services in Perth, we sell new and used forklifts and offer service and repairs, so get in contact for all you forklift needs.


5 Oxford Court
Maida Vale
Western Australia 6057


Mobile 0419 954 303
Fax +61 8 9454 2696

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