Forklift Safety: Survive the Hive

Forklift Safety: Survive the Hive

Matt Nieszczur
6 minute read

To watch this episode, click here

For those of you listening that work in an environment with lots of forklift traffic, you’re probably numb to what I’m about to say. If you haven’t been in an environment like that, as a forklift operator or someone who works among them, you’d be amazed to see the controlled chaos, almost similar to hive-like activity. This is especially the case in distribution centers with dozens (even hundreds) of loading dock doors. Watching it live is crazy enough, but if you could watch a couple minutes of it on fast forward, you wouldn’t believe your eyes! Only one thing allows this to happen – safety. 

First Component of Forklift Safety

Forklift safety is divided into several different components, and we’ll be doing a high level look at some of the most important ones. The first component of forklift safety that you need to know is unless you’re working at a facility that doesn’t follow OSHA Regulations and is begging for trouble, you need to be trained before attempting to operate a forklift. At the very least, this instruction should include (but not be limited to) how to check the forklift for proper use (inspection and general maintenance info), operation and maneuverability of the equipment, safety and operational rules and regulations of the facility in reference to operating the equipment, and load rules and requirements.  Forklift training usually involves a license of some sort, as well as a continuing education and certification to keep it valid.

Guide to Survive the Hive

The experience you get in a training environment is awesome, but what happens when you hit the before mentioned hive-like activity of your facility? You need to know, and most importantly follow:

  • All the rules of your facility for both overall safety and operation of forklifts

  • Safety floor markings and signs (possibly even traffic-like lighting in some areas)

  • Speed limits

  • Load rules and regulations

  • Fork height and tilt

  • Pedestrian guidelines

  • Travel conditions (assuring wherever you are is free of debris, obstacles, or anything that can cause you to damage wheels or lose control in any way).  Some areas have water or oils that are unavoidable. These areas need to have additional attention to assure handling and stopping is under control.

  • Safety equipment that needs to be worn during operation.

  • Your overall surroundings.

There is much more that can be covered for this topic, but these are some of the high-level things to consider. 

Stay Aware of Your Surroundings

The majority of accidents and deaths related to forklifts could have and should have been avoided. If you take away situations where forklifts overturned, a driver was thrown from the truck, or someone was hit and crushed, much less than half of the overall fatalities would remain.

At the beginning of this episode, I mentioned being numb to the topic of forklift safety. That’s where many of the accidents happen. You get so used to one thing that when something out of your routine happens, you don’t have time to react properly. This could be a change in floor markings, an altered pedestrian crossing, a height change in an area, a new sprinkler system, or any other change that could alter your routine. Look at your experience as new everytime time you get on a forklift, and always try to make every day better than your last for knowing the rules and staying safe.

Simply stated, if you’re safe and pay attention, you’ll have the odds in your favor!

Check Out Our Other Episodes!

Thank you for listening to Warehouse Safety Tips – and have SAFE day!

Information from Warehouse Safety Tips!

If you’re a seasoned Podcast Listener – this podcast is going to be different from most you listen to.  It’s based around exactly what the name implies – Warehouse Safety Tips. And since the people in this industry are busy, we understand that time is money. Because of this, each episode will be as short and to the point as possible. You can find the show notes to each episode, links to information mentioned on the podcast, the social media platforms we’re on, and anything else related to the podcast at

More About Mighty Line Floor Tape

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