Forklifts are an invaluable aid to the storage and distribution industries. However, it’s important that they’re used safely. Accidents are thankfully rare but they can happen and are often due to poor training, badly maintained equipment or a badly laid out working environment.

In order to ensure that you operate your forklifts safely and comply with all the appropriate legislation there are some things you need to bear in mind.


It’s vital that forklift operators are given adequate training with an industry accreditation. This should ideally be carried out in a safe area rather than ‘on the job’. The training needs to cover:

* Basic skills to operate the forklift

* Specifics of the work environment

* Any goods that require special handling

Even when your operators have been assessed as competent by a certified trainer it’s still a good idea to hold refresher courses occasionally. These should cover any changes to the equipment used or the materials handled during the carrying out of the job.

If you’re hiring a forklift, you need to ensure that your operators are familiarised with the machine. A reputable hire company will always provide such instruction and may offer a full training package too. When you’re looking for forklift hire London by Hiremech you should always ask about the training available.

Other factors

Proper training is only one part of the equation. There are other things that you need to consider to ensure that your forklift operation is carried out safely.

One priority is to ensure that the machine is properly maintained. A regular service schedule will ensure safe operation but also help to prevent breakdowns and keep your business running smoothly.

You need to prevent unauthorised operation of the vehicle. This means ensuring that the forklift operator takes the keys with them when they leave the machine unattended. They should also leave the keys in a secure place at the end of the shift.

The general environment is important too. Aisles and gangways need to be sufficiently wide and kept clear of obstructions. It’s best to avoid sharp corners if you can and you need to ensure there’s adequate clearance overhead. The floor should also be as flat as possible and where there are ramps they need to be clearly marked.

In a large warehouse or factory where multiple forklifts are in operation it’s a good idea to introduce a one-way system to avoid the risk of collisions. The area in which forklift trucks operate should ideally be kept clear of pedestrians too. If this isn’t possible you must have warning notices in place.

You must ensure that your operators have adequate equipment such as hard hats, safety boots and high-visibility wear as appropriate. Where the forklift has flashing lights and warning beepers, these must be operating properly.

A combination of training, regular maintenance, proper equipment and attention to the working environment will ensure that you can operate forklifts safely. It also means that your business will benefit from being a pleasant place to work and you’ll minimise the amount of time and money lost through problems.

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