Safety for both drivers, pedestrians, and fellow workers must be the priority when forklifts are in operation. Forklift safety should be top of mind for both employers and employees. Both of these parties should always act responsibly and implement appropriate strategies related to the operation of a forklift, in order to maintain a safe work environment for all.

Forklift Safety Responsibilities For The Employer

As an employer, your main forklift safety responsibilities are to ensure that:

  • the operation of a forklift won't endanger others
    - all machinery is well-maintained and up to standard
    - the drivers that are hired have a valid and appropriate forklift licence for the job
    - all employees are briefed on the safety procedures and given proper supervision
    - the lifting attachments that are used match the requirements of the load
    - the weight of the load is known and is able to be safely carried by the forklift

Regulations can differ across Australia, so it is important that you research the specific requirements of your state/territory.

All deaths, serious injuries and/or major incidents that could have had the potential to endanger workers health and safety, should be immediately reported to the SafeWork agency operating in your state or territory. Click here to find the contact details of your state or territory's SafeWork agency.

Forklift Safety Responsibilities For The Employee

Forklift drivers must also act in a way that promotes and maintains a safe work environment. When operating a forklift, employees must ensure that:

  • they have undergone the proper courses and training to drive a forklift and hold a valid forklift licence
    - they act in accordance with instructions and adhere to safety procedures
    - report any incidents to supervisors/management
    - operating the forklift won't endanger the driver or fellow employees

There are three key areas of forklift safety that a forklift driver must be aware of:

Pedestrian Safety

Pedestrians are a common hazard when operating a forklift and they are often at high risk of injury. To ensure that the safety of pedestrians are maintained, drivers should always check that the area is clear of pedestrians when operating a forklift, the load is not obstructing their field of vision and appropriately regulate their speed.

Forklift Pedestrian Safety Video

Load Control

In order to maintain a safe work environment, it is important that the load is properly mounted and appropriate for the capabilities of the forklift being used. To minimise any potential risks to the safety of the driver and others, the correct lifting attachment should be used for the specific load, the load should be stable, it should not obscure the vision of the driver, and should be properly placed on the forklift.

Forklift Load Control Video

Seat Belts

Seat belts are a key piece of safety equipment and must be used when operating a forklift. If the forklift were to tip, the seat belt has been designed to strap you in and make sure that you can't jump out or be shaken off the forklift. Tipping with the forklift is much safer than jumping, as jumping could result in the driver being crushed by the machinery.