Home > Avoiding Accidents > Forklift Truck Safety

Forklift Truck Safety

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 22 Sep 2018 | comments*Discuss
Forklift Truck Safety Health And Safety

There are reputed to be over 8,000 reported accidents involving the use of forklift trucks in the UK each year and some of these result in fatalities. The majority of these accidents are caused by the lack of sufficient training of the operator, operator error, a lack of knowledge about the equipment and the working environment, bad truck maintenance, poor lighting conditions, inadequate gangways and unsuitable premises in which forklift trucks are used. In fact, slightly more pedestrians are injured as the result of a forklift accident than the operators themselves.

Legal Requirements

Several pieces of legislation apply when it comes to the use of a forklift truck and employers and operators need to be aware of the relevant legislation from the following:

  • The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974
  • The Provision and Use of Workplace Equipment Regulations
  • The Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations
  • The Workplace (Health, Safety & Welfare Regulations
  • The Noise at Work Regulations
  • The Personal Protective Equipment Regulations
  • The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations

Forklift Truck Training

Firstly, it is against the law for anybody below school leaving age to operate a forklift truck. And, if the trucks are driven at all on public highways, then the same legislation which applies to all road users with regards to the legal minimum age also applies. Operators must receive adequate training which must be administered by an accredited trainer. The training should be broken down into several stages and should initially be carried out in a safe area and not in a ‘real work operation’ situation. It should include:

  • The basic knowledge and skills required to operate a forklift truck safely
  • Specific job training related to the knowledge of the work environment and any requirements in handling attachments
  • Further training ‘on the job’ under close supervision

Once an operator has been assessed as being fully competent, it is always useful to offer further periodic training occasionally in the form of refresher courses, particularly whenever an operator’s role has been modified in a specific way. Training records for each operator must also be kept and updated regularly.

Other Issues to Consider

Keys to a forklift truck should always be removed by the operator at the end of their shift and kept in a safe and secure place to prevent unauthorised use of the vehicle.

All areas in which the forklift truck is to be driven should be kept as flat as possible and remain clear from obstructions.

All roads, aisles and gangways should be sufficiently wide enough with adequate clearance room overhead. It’s important to make all forklift routes free of sharp bends which could be precarious if the operator is carrying a large and heavy load and, where possible, a one way system should be introduced to avoid the risk of collisions and you should also try to keep the area in which forklift trucks are operating free of pedestrians or else make sure that there are adequate signs and warning notices in place.

Operators should have seat belts/restraints and adequate protective clothing e.g. fluorescent jackets, safety footwear, hard hats etc. Flashing lights and audible warning devices should also be fitted to the trucks if possible.

Regular maintenance, training updates and the reporting of any accidents or near misses will also be necessary to ensure the safety of both the operators and of any pedestrians who may also come into contact with forklift trucks during the course of their job.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
[Add a Comment]
My brother wos at work yesterday and the forklift driver nocked him down ran over his legs panicked and drove back of them he’s in critical care what’s the procedure going to be my brother wos not in the rong according to everyone who seen the accident and probably won’t walk again
Taff - 22-Sep-18 @ 3:06 PM
Fauzi - Your Question:
Hi , is it compulsory for forklift driver to wear safety helmet or it option?

Our Response:
You would have to read your company health and safety manual which will tell you what company rules and regulations are.
WorkplaceSafetyAdvice - 26-Jul-18 @ 11:11 AM
Hi , is it compulsory for forklift driver to wear safety helmet or it option?
Fauzi - 25-Jul-18 @ 10:53 AM
Hi there. I’ve been trying to find some advice on what I believe is a health and safety issue in my current workplace.We work indoors on reach trucks and ride on for order picking.But during bad weather our warehouse leaks casing a lot of water to cover the floor. It is a very smooth floor and all equipment used inside the warehouse have smooth wheels thus if trying to break even at slow speeds the powered equipment will slip. Many people have brought this issue up with management but it is always brushed off or it’s ‘being Looked into’. It has been like this for the last two years of my employment. Am I in the right to refuse to use powered equipment in what I feel are unsafe conditions? I honestly feel that someone is going to get badly hurt or worse
Photoant - 24-May-18 @ 8:38 PM
Nige - Your Question:
Thank RoN for your feed back have sent a email to the company , they refuse to move the trailers , is there anyone I can contact to get this sorted , I’m at the end of my tether regards Nige

Our Response:
If the company refuses to acknowledge your complaint, you can contact your local council. Please see link here which will tell you all you need to know. I hope this helps.
WorkplaceSafetyAdvice - 24-May-18 @ 2:06 PM
Thank RoN for your feed back have sent a email to the company , they refuse to move the trailers , is there anyone I can contact to get this sorted , I’m at the end of my tether regards Nige
Nige - 22-May-18 @ 7:16 PM
@Nige- I'd write to the company firstly warning them of the potential danger and ask them to remove the loads. It's in their best interests not to ignore you.
RoN - 18-May-18 @ 12:05 PM
Am I right in thinking you don't have to wear the constricting 2 point seatbelt in telehandlers on site whilst reversing. Could somebody clarify this grey area as I am being bullied by suited people who think their poo don't stink.
No.1. Forks - 18-May-18 @ 6:57 AM
My property is at the back of a yard and trailers are put up against my wooden fence and pallets with 1 ton bags on are being loaded on to the lorry trailers , we have no bolt hole to escape if a load comes through the fence, is this legal as it’s a accident waiting to happen , any feed back would be appreciated
Nige - 17-May-18 @ 8:11 PM
Hello will my counter balance for a fork lift truck cover me for the E10 (stand up fork truck) Thank you
Lisa - 10-May-18 @ 5:02 PM
I am currently working at John Lewis , we drive clamp trucks / Reach Trucks and (ropt) Ride on Pallet Trucks , We have in house documentatation to drive these vehicles. I’m currently looking at new job vacancy’s which are asking that applicants have fork lift license. Is there such a thing ? And can I provide my documentation as proof of experience ?
Andy77 - 9-May-18 @ 1:05 PM
Hi, my boyfriend had an accident at work and caught the building whilst on the fork lift and made a little damage. Work are now trying to charge him £1500 for this. Does he have to pay? Should there be insurance for this? Thanks
Louiseeee - 2-May-18 @ 5:34 PM
Is it true that you can only use forklift truck attachments if you have been trained to use it and also does each attached, for example, a jib need to be made for use on a specific truck anc only used on that one model of truck?
Mjc88 - 27-Apr-18 @ 3:47 PM
Zimi - Your Question:
If I chek my phone while I’m on a FLT like checking the time. is a breach of healt and safety? I really want to know. Is in the Act 74 a list that includes what is a breach of heal and safety for FLT drivers?

Our Response:
You should have a health and safety manual in your warehouse. This will list all the dos and don'ts.
WorkplaceSafetyAdvice - 6-Apr-18 @ 1:49 PM
i am a supervisor should i have taken a fork lift truck driver off a truck after a dangerous occurance
beefy - 4-Apr-18 @ 12:48 PM
I've just been forced to use a forklift without the tillt(Telehandler) and i refused to drive it until its fixed. Think I'm gonna get sacked now
Nietou - 4-Apr-18 @ 11:51 AM
If I chek my phone while I’m on a FLT like checking the time.. is abreach of healt and safety?I really want to know..Is in the Act 74 a list that includes what is a breach of heal and safety for FLT drivers?
Zimi - 31-Mar-18 @ 3:32 PM
Hi could someone please help if I passed my test on a 2 tonne rated truck can I operate a 3 tonne truck ? After a refresher course ? Or are you covered up to a rating and is there a law that states this many thanks in advance
Sam - 28-Mar-18 @ 6:02 PM
Hello, thank you for your reply and assistance, and I did already anticipate that your response was likely to be the company’s view, and it is the probable outcome after my Manager investigates this issue. I did discuss this issue with my manager and they were also not fully aware of why this rule was being implemented, so their response was to write a strongly worded e-mail the Safety Manager. As I stated in my first message, we are a globally significant business with factory’s and other business concerns all around the world, so any new rules, Safety or otherwise should be told to all employees whether it is relevant to someone’s work role or not. The thinking behind this is “if everyone is informed, then no one has any excuse not to know”, even those that are unsure, should still have the competence to ask before doing and any concerns can be dealt with in a risk assessment. My Manager is checking to see whether this new rule can be challenged to ascertain if it will be factory and job specific or it is a blanket rule, no exceptions. We have two factories, one is dealing with raw materials;- coffee, tea, soup and sugar, all in granular, fine leaf or powder form, but our factory only deals with electronic/mechanical items, so this was my biggest concern. Thank you again for your help.
Phil - 24-Mar-18 @ 8:01 AM
@Phil - if your employer thinks eye protection/safety glasses are a pre-requisite to the job, then you have to go with it as it may be for a good reason. It may be that someone has put in a compensation claim, or your company wants to protect itself from this as it can cost an employer a lot of money. It might even be to protect employees from dust and debris. Working in any type of industrial environment can pose potential risks to employees’ vision and your employer might just be playing safe.
PeterD - 19-Mar-18 @ 10:23 AM
I work for a globally significant company who are about to implement a rule about all staff must wear Eye Protection/Safety Glasses while operating a Fork Lift Truck (FLT)! Is this a new law coming into force? Is it legal to insist the workforce wear Eye Protection/Safety Glasses, when it clearly is not necessary? Can I challenge this ruling or refuse to follow this new ruling? We do not load or unload any harmful or hazardous liquids, solids or any other form of harmful or hazardous items, other than palletised and contained/covered Ionised Water. We do not accept any harmful or hazardous liquids, solids or any other form of harmful or hazardous items, without the Safety department first risk assessing that we can accept it and how we will accept it. I have racked my brains in trying to understand why this is necessary, I am always open to new rules, but I can’t see any plausible safety concern of driving a FLT and having to wear Eye Protection/Safety Glasses! I am going to discuss this with my Manager, as we have had no forward notification concerning this new rule and then I will escalate it to the Safety department Manager for more information. I have looked on the HSE web page, but Indo not see any updated information concerning this issue. Thank you.
Phil - 18-Mar-18 @ 5:18 AM
Mark - Your Question:
We have staff at work driving around with music palying through a sound bar whilst operating a flexi truck. what is the law on this?

Our Response:
You would have to consult your company employees/staff health and safety handbook which should contain a list of dos and don'ts.
WorkplaceSafetyAdvice - 16-Mar-18 @ 12:50 PM
Can you use two fork lift trucks side by side to unload or load a very long load
Marko - 15-Mar-18 @ 8:15 PM
We have staff at work driving around with music palying through a sound bar whilst operating a flexi truck. what is the law on this?
Mark - 15-Mar-18 @ 9:05 AM
Is it legal to lift loads over peoples heads while driving a forklift? And what is the min distance a forklift has to keep from people while in motion??
Barry9991 - 11-Mar-18 @ 5:54 PM
@cath - the employee is responsible for their own actions where there are seatbelts provided. The employer has to ensure the seatbelts are provided for the employee to use responsibly. If you don't put your seatbelt on and you're caught, then you have to take the rap.
EBB - 26-Feb-18 @ 3:22 PM
Who is responsible for supervision and use of seat belts?
Cath - 26-Feb-18 @ 10:54 AM
Phil - Your Question:
Working inside and out new forklifts arrived no windscreens and no mirrors wots the legal requirements and we go out onto a road

Our Response:
You can see more via the link here, which should help answer your questions further.
WorkplaceSafetyAdvice - 25-Jan-18 @ 10:41 AM
Workinginside and out new forklifts arrivedno windscreens and no mirrorswots the legalrequirementsand we go out onto a road
Phil - 24-Jan-18 @ 12:16 PM
Hi what are the specific regulations covering forklift key control as my company leaves them in forklift 24/7
Chris - 5-Jan-18 @ 1:13 PM
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice...
(never shown)
(never shown)
(never shown)
(never shown)
Enter word:
Latest Comments