forklift operator

Accidents happen and even the most experienced forklift operators may forget to perform a routine inspection or miss a regular operation. Nobody is perfect and this is the role of the facility and the management in general to make sure that even a simple human error doesn’t cause dramatic consequences to the equipment or the personnel.

Below are the main 4 most common mistakes that a forklift operator could avoid:

    • Not completing a thorough inspection of the vehicle before operating it, especially if you own a used forklift. You can read one of our previous blog posts “How to Inspect your Forklift” ( which contains an extensive list of recommendations you can follow. From verifying the technical integrity of the vehicle to getting aware of the working environment, these steps are very important so the operator is ensured of a good start
    • Not making sure that the forklift is ready to go. It sounds pretty fundamental but some operators would jump on the forklift without checking the gas level nor the battery voltage. It is one of the easiest operations but it can be forgotten. Think about running out of gas in the middle of a busy facility? The operator needs to check the dashboard before going forward with his work. The dashboard must be cleared of all pieces of paper, signs and any other documents (that we often see taped on it, hiding all the important gauges).

 Manual Stackers

  • Driving too fast. Many accidents are caused by an operator driving a forklift at an excessive speed. There is something crucial that operators, managers and workers in general need to keep in mind: safety is the most important thing in a facility. Of course, productivity can always be improved and it should be done by changing the process, not by driving faster.
  • Every worker and forklift operator needs to be one the same page. Between lights, signals, marking on the ground, and hand signals, the options are numerous. For example (and this item almost made it in the list!), backing up without looking behind is one of the main causes of accidents. Because of the multiple blind spots that exists when driving a used forklift, it is possible to not see an employee working behind the vehicle.

Inspection, verification, precaution and communication are the keys to avoid these common mistakes. Keep them in mind at all time!

(Operations Manager)

Chris Charles is a 27 year veteran of operations and logistics. Experience included commercial property management and project management for an international shipping company in Maryland.

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