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The Four Pillars of Forklift Safety: A How-To Guide

The Four Pillars of Forklift Safety: A How-To Guide

The Four Pillars of Forklift Safety: A How-To Guide

Although the Forklift Truck itself is a potentially dangerous piece of equipment. At Make Safety we believe Forklift Truck safety is about people. This simple how-to guide shares four pillars on Forklift Truck safety with people at its center.


Clement Stone said "You are a product of your environment. So choose the environment that will best develop you toward your objective. Analyze your life in terms of its environment."

In safety, you have the opportunity to create the environment for your peopleAsk yourself, does your environment support your safety objectives or are you setting yourself up for safety failure?

For example, something as simple as making safety visible demonstrates your commitment to your safety goals, and takes away many 'excuses' for non-safe acts. 

Where Forklift Trucks are concerned think beyond the Forklift and it's operator. For example, we all know a big challenge is Forklift and pedestrian segregation. It's also known that some don't have the budget for big barriers in all areas. That doesn't means however that there is nothing you can do.

A couple of ideas that are inexpensive are barricade tape / floor tape and floor standing signage to help create a safer environment.


Of course a pillar of Forklift Truck safety is to train and certify the operators. Often companies celebrate this success and give a real sense of ownership to the operator with items like wallet cards or stickers. Make Safety also offers printed ANSI vests that really takes your safety culture a step forward.

A real challenge with training is to help the newly certified operator embed what they have learned in their daily behaviors. There are different ideas on how much information a person takes in and remembers from training. Whatever your belief on that, giving them reminders during their working day is very effective. For example reminding them to buckle up with a label inside the forklift is a great visual cue. A very powerful tool to help embed training reminders is a racking banner. Check out this example reminding operators to sound their horn.

OSHA Inspection

One of the most overlooked part of OSHA required workplace safety is the very specific requirement to do an inspection on the Forklift Truck before every shift. Here's what OSHA says:

"1910.178(q)(7) Industrial trucks shall be examined before being placed in service, and shall not be placed in service if the examination shows any condition adversely affecting the safety of the vehicle. Such examination shall be made at least daily. Where industrial trucks are used on a round-the-clock basis, they shall be examined after each shift. Defects when found shall be immediately reported and corrected.”


More information from OSHA is here:

There are different approaches and ideas around the pre-shift inspection of Forklift Trucks which are also driven by maintence requirements as well as safety. Stopping people using an unsafe Forklift is well trodden path with the humble tag being effective to this end. To meet the OSHA requirement however, getting operators to do those checks is more difficult. Usually companies use pieces of paper or a questionnaire as part of a telematics system. If you're serious about building a culture of safety, properly embedding training into people's daily behaviors, and creating the right safety environment, you will likely have found these methods are ineffective.

We like SG World's solution to this problem. It makes safety visible and makes it easy for supervisors to see if those safety checks have happened.


If you agree that safety is about people them building a culture of safety starts with mindset, or at least mindfulness. We see it like this:

Safety Mindfulness ->  Safe Behaviors -> Safe Habits -> Safety Culture

Of course the above is simplified and linear, and the checks and balances need to be there to hold people accountable too, however Forklift safety is about people, and that is really about driving safe working behaviors, in a way that engages people in wanting to be safe by Making Safety Visible.


If you'd like us to help you Make Safety Visible, we create specific solutions for your particular business, to reflect your message and brand. Contact us at for more. You can also check out a small selection of the standard products we offer here.


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