Loading and Unloading – Forklift Safety Tips

June 14, 2016
Posted by: Justin Engel

Forklifts have become an indispensable component within supply chain management and logistics. Whether it is within a retail, manufacturing or warehouse environment, forklifts perform an essential service by lifting and transport loads throughout the worksite. Since these actions are performed dozens of times every day, it is common for workers to grow accustomed to the dangers associated with the operation of a forklift. To ensure the safety of the forklift operator and those around them, try to follow these safety tips for loading and unloading a forklift:


Know Your Equipment

Before you begin operating your forklift, be sure to familiarize yourself with the vehicle. It is important to know the rated capacity of the forklift (found on the data plate), the capacity of the forks, and the recommended load center. Operating a forklift outside of these recommended restrictions seriously compromises the stability and safety of the equipment and is not advisable.

Positioning the Load

Using the information on the forklift’s data or spec plate, position the load according to the forklift’s recommended load center. Before inserting the forks, level and adjust the height of the forks relative to the pallet or load and move the mast into an upright position. If loading from a trailer or railway car, ensure that the proper supports (wheel chocks, fixed jacks, etc.) are in position to prevent the any additional movement and make sure the floors will be able to support the combined weight of the forklift and load.


Raising and Transporting the Load

Before raising the load, check your surroundings for overhead obstructions or power lines. With the brake applied, lift the load directly upwards to the required height for transport before tilting the mast. Once raised, constantly scan your surroundings for potential hazards or obstructions (keeping the blind spots in mind) as a raised load compromises the stability of a forklift. As you reach your eventual destination, come to a controlled and complete stop before returning the mast to an upright position and lowering the forks.


When working on or near a forklift, stay alert and prepare for the unexpected. For additional help, tips, advice or training, contact your local Stärke dealer today!


Justin Engel

Justin Engel is the marketing specialist at Stärke Material Handling Group. In addition to content development, he also handles graphic and website design, SEO, PR and strategic planning.

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