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Forklift Truck Safety

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 16 Dec 2020 | 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.

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Which way can you driver a counterbalance forktruck up an aisle in a warehouse forward or in reverse?
Yes - 16-Dec-20 @ 7:18 PM
heyyyyyyyyy guyyyssssssss keegz here just thought i would check in on ALLLLL of you i miss you all SOOOOOOO much love and miss you #forlift4life #forkliftgang #keegz :0 ;) over and out love from tuvalu xoxoxoxoxoxoxox
keegz !!!!!!!!!!!!!! - 22-Sep-20 @ 2:31 PM
What is the maximum hours allowed to work in 1 day on a reach truck ?
Tc - 21-Aug-20 @ 9:40 PM
Hi because of covid my desk has been moved out the office into the warehouse. But it is right next to where the main router of the forklift has to pass less than5 ft away they have put a barbie 3 ft high infront of desk but if the load was to tip there is nothing to stop it falling on me whats the minimum required of distance a work starting should be away from the path of a forklift.thanks
Clan - 4-Jul-20 @ 7:44 PM
Is it ever possible to operate forks whilst not sat in the cab. Is it law that safety device must be in place to prevent this happening. Please could someone advise me on this. Fatal accident occured due to this.
Pcoop - 26-Feb-20 @ 4:11 PM
Hi, my boyfriend works in a warehouse on the forklifts, he is being made to work 12 hour shifts 5 times a week with extra shifts on a weekend(wknd shifts are not 12 hour) Is there a limit on how long he should be driving the forklifts for in one shift or is his company allowed to do this?
Andi - 13-Jan-20 @ 10:51 AM
Can another fork lifter (same size) be used to jack up another Fork Lifter for maintenance purposes? Is this good or bad practice?
Nick - 4-Sep-19 @ 10:22 AM
In a forklift test the course falls over an half of the course is blown over by the wind (pallets).an unable to do 3/4s of the course is the fork lift test legally viod forklift test.the person I know got a fail for it.an for rest of the course he was so nervous of the happening of the course breaking up that it made him lose consecration an could not pass because of it..
Orri - 2-Aug-19 @ 4:18 PM
I have been worried sick over weekend! Last Friday I witnessed by Director telling another forklift Telehandler driver to lift him on a “ Pallet “ at least 10 in air to place him on top of 20 ft containers, to clear materials on top ... no hard hat , no safety cage ... lifted on a wooden pallet ... should I report him ? Or turn a blind eye ?? He did this 2 times in 1 hour on our site ... As I’m a Store Manager if he fell off would I be legally responsible??The MD just does care he is 79 ... and doesn’t care
Dazzer - 14-Jul-19 @ 11:08 PM
Just wanted to find out diesel forklifts in warehouse, is there any legislation for extractor fans to be in operation to take the toxic fumes out ?
Bob - 7-Apr-19 @ 8:19 PM
I would like to know if yo have 2 footwells on a counter balance forklift and the handle is on the left can you mount and dismount from the right if the access is accessible?What is the point of 2 footWells if can't use that side? And is it a health and safety issue.
Daley - 6-Apr-19 @ 2:48 PM
My husband came home from work today absolutely distraught because yesterday he was driving his forklift and had a bump causing some damage to a bar near the racking.He did not report this fro reasons he doesn't know.Today a maintenance guy spotted the damage, reported it and the manager reviewed CCTV footage which showed the incident.He had his keys taken off him and was redeployed to another department pending the outcome of an investigation.He is worried sick that this will be classed as Gross Misconduct and he will lose his job. Would not reporting such an incident be a sackable offence please?
Snoopy - 19-Mar-19 @ 6:50 PM
I am not a licenced fork lift driver but regularly use one at work. I do it unsuppervised and often when no one else is around. I was on a flt yesterday and stopped in front of a skip. I put it in neutral and applied the hand break. The flt then proceeded to roll towards the skip and I was unable to stop it. The tires on the flt are bald. Should I be using this flt or any of the other 2 that don't seem to be maintained directly?
Ferret - 6-Mar-19 @ 3:02 PM
Hi, I'm just after some advice from someone who actually knows about forklifts. We sometimes use our forklift trucks to lift loads using slings attached to the forks (I believe this is known as 'Free Rigging'). Is this activity actually illegal in the UK? If so do we need an attachment to conduct this activity? Many thanks
Fraser - 4-Mar-19 @ 10:43 AM
I know it's law to use a seatbelt on a ctb flt (even though ours a limited to 4mph and our ground is flat n level!!) but our Reach truck does not have 1, now our company is insisting it needs 1 but I believe it does not, who is correct!!
DingDanDong - 6-Feb-19 @ 7:09 PM
What is the safe systems of work on a forklift in a warehouse
Liam - 19-Dec-18 @ 9:49 PM
Hi , I just need an advise. Recently I have joined new company and noticed that forklift drivers in the yard don't wear any hi-vis jackets and there is also heavy public activity especially during shift change over.staff just walks through yard which hasnt got any marked walk path .and also staff can go out from warehouse using bull door which is used by forlklift drivers as it is used for dispatch .no restrictions are in place stopping general staff to walk in/out.what I would like to know is : is it required for forklift driversto wear hi-vis, 2: Is it required to have marked walk path for pedestrians (staff) in the busy yard which has forklift and lorry movement .thank you in advance
Kat - 5-Dec-18 @ 8:20 PM
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
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