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Forklift Safety 101

Posted by Robin Siekerman on Jun 30, 2021

Forklift safety is of great importance every day, but during the month of June we are giving extra attention to the topic of forklift safety. Safety is our number one priority, and it is one of our core values at The Shippers Group.   


Forklifts and other materials handling equipment are important tools for warehouse productivity. Although they are commonplace equipment in distribution centers, forklifts are only safe when they are well maintained and carefully used by trained and certified associates.  

Safe Operating Procedures

Training and awareness of safe operating procedures are vitally important and are constantly reinforced during shift meetings and on the warehouse floor. Below is a comprehensive checklist of critical key points that safe, skilled and experienced forklift operators use to help ensure safety for themselves and their fellow workers.

Pre-op Inspection of Equipment

✔️Check fluid levels
✔️Fuel level
✔️Battery level
✔️Belts, cables, and chains
✔️Mast & forks
✔️Gauges & controls
✔️Engine governor
✔️Safety equipment
✔️Lights & blue lights

Seat Belts

✔️Must be worn at all times
✔️Secure before turning on engine
✔️Correct any defect that affects safe operation


✔️Performed by trained and experiences personnel only
✔️Regular intervals

Without Load

✔️Carry forks at the lowest safe position and slightly tilted back

Load Movement

✔️Keep load as low as possible
✔️Never drag forks on the ground or floor surface


✔️Fork inspection and care is important
✔️Lift capacity decreases and forks are worn down
✔️20% reduction in the fork results in a 50% reduction in lift capacity
✔️Decommission forklifts when the forks are reduced by 10%

Load Stability

✔️Do not attempt to lift loads that exceed lift capacity
✔️Ensure loads are stable before moving
✔️Keep mast tilted back slightly


✔️Guided by the back wheels
✔️Be careful not to swing rear of lift into something or someone

Basic Operation

✔️Operate at speeds so you can stop quickly and maintain control
✔️Be aware of bumps, inclines, drop-offs, and overhead clearance
✔️Drive on the right side of the aisle
✔️Pedestrians have the right of way
✔️Know the lift's center of gravity and the load's center of gravity
✔️Spread forks as wide as the load allows
✔️Travel in reverse when the load blocks your view
✔️Use a spotter on inclines or any other time needed

Before Driving Into a Trailer

✔️Make sure trailer wheels are chocked
✔️Inspect dock plates and trailer floor


✔️Allow passengers
✔️Allow anyone to stand on forks or under forks


✔️Forks down
✔️Wheels straight
✔️Gear in neutral
✔️Set brakes

Forklifts are very heavy and powerful pieces of equipment used among many industries. At The Shippers Group, forklifts and other materials handling equipment are important for the fast and efficient movement of goods within our distribution centers. Only certified forklift operators are allowed to operate forklifts. Associates are trained to hold their co-workers accountable for safety measures such as wearing their seatbelts.

Retraining and reinforcing safe operating procedures is ongoing and vitally important. Our goal is to provide a safe working environment for all associates, so that each day they can work confidently and return home safely to their loved ones. 


The Shippers Group is a leading national third-party logistics company headquartered in Dallas, Texas with distribution facilities in Texas, Georgia, California, Illinois, Florida, and Virginia totaling 16 locations and over 6.5 million square feet of space. To learn more about our areas of expertise, visit our Services page.                                                         

Topics: News Room, Safety, Core Values

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