Forklift hazards that can cause costly accidents

forklift hazards

There are a number of forklift hazards for managers to look out for that can cause costly repercussions. A top priority for any manager or supervisor overseeing forklift operations must be to ensure that everyone is working safely. It’s vital that managers and supervisors responsible for forklift safety can recognise good and bad practices and be able to rectify any problems before they lead to an accident.

Here we have listed some of the most common examples of forklift hazards to watch out for, and how to prevent them.

Using the wrong lift equipment

Ensure that operators have access to the correct equipment for the task and are properly trained to use it, to protect themselves and their colleagues. Operators should only use the trucks they have been formally trained for, or they should undertake conversion training to gain certification for a new type of truck.

Unsafe loads on forklifts

Operators should be aware of the best practices related to loading and unloading loads and avoid taking shortcuts that may lead to accidents. Managers should monitor loading and unloading operations to ensure that operators are following best practices and minimizing the chance of accidents.

Insufficient risk observations

Forklift operators, before moving their truck or lowering their load, should always make complete around-the-clock observations. Doing so allows them to spot any debris, obstructions, or pedestrians nearby. Managers must ensure that these all-round observations are always carried out properly, every time.

Pedestrians and forklifts

A safe distance should always be maintained between pedestrians and trucks, even in areas where they may be physically separated. colleagues or visiting drivers should not be permitted to help with loading and unloading, and should never try to steady a load. This could lead to them getting trapped or hit, should the load fall.

By implementing strong, reinforced safety systems, employees will be able to work safely at a reasonable distance from forklifts. Everyone who may need access to an area where forklifts operate, such as staff, contractors, visitors and delivery drivers, should be made aware of these systems.


Forklift operators may prefer to not wear seatbelts but the fact is they significantly reduce the consequences of an accident. The HSE is clear in its guidance: “Where restraining systems are fitted they should be used.” If the lift truck was to become unstable and tip over, a seatbelt will stop the operator from being thrown from the cab, or trying to escape: which can lead to them being trapped under the truck. Adding seatbelts to company policies makes their use mandatory on site and managers should reinforce this through regular monitoring, refresher training, on-site signage and the like.

Read information about seatbelts and forklifts here.


Some operators to compromise on safety in an attempt to save time. Rushing with lift trucks can come at a high cost when it increases the risk of tip overs or collisions. Check that operators are aware of speed limits on site and that they understand the need to stick to them at all times, regardless of any operational pressures.

Forklift training across the UK

It is vital to ensure that your staff and operators are training fully in order to keep your workplace and your employees safe.

Here at PD Training, we provide forklift training courses across the UK to keep businesses compliant and up to date with the latest training and information.

Contact us today for more information on our forklift and specialist training.


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