Read our new Safety Talk - Forklift Safety Tips.

The following Toolbox Talk is intended to give a general overview of the most common safety hazards and controls related to lift trucks  (other  names include fork trucks, forklifts, hoisters, and others). It is not intended to address all safety hazards and controls. Always read and understand the operating manual before operating the first time.


  • Inspect the hydraulic hoses  for leaks and wear.  If a hose were to fail while lifting,  the load could  fall and cause serious injury  or death.

  • Never  overload the forks.  All lift trucks have a rating  plate located somewhere near the seat or fueling  point on the machine. Identify it and understand the rated  capacities. If the rear tires come  off the ground due to overloading, then steering and braking with be jeopardized.

  • Lower  the forks  to the ground when  not in use to prevent tripping hazards.

  • Operate the lift truck  in reverse if the load prevents a clear line of sight looking forward.

  • If operating on a slope,  make  sure the load stays  tightly  against the mast.

  • Operate the lift truck  with the forks  as close  to the ground as possible. The important aspect  here is to keep the center  of gravity  as close  to the ground as possible to take advantage of counter- weights in the lift truck and avoid inadvertent tipping.

  • Inspect ground conditions at all times  to avoid  holes  and uneven terrain.

Before refueling or changing propane tanks,  make  sure valves  are closed  and secured to avoid  inadvertent fuel splashes to the eye and skin.

Wear  the seat belt and do not leave  the cab of the lift truck  if it starts  to tip. Lift trucks  can tip in an unpredictable manner due to their shape  and disproportional weight. The most serious lift truck accidents occur  when  operators try to leave  the machine while  it’s tipping  over.


Why is it important to travel  with the load asclose  to the ground as possible?

 If the lift truck  starts  to tip, what should you do? Why?