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Forklift Safety Instructions: Follow our guide.

Forklifts are lifting and handling machines widely used in warehouses and on construction sites. However, their use is not without risks to operators and those present on-site. Specific regulations have been put in place regarding the use of these vehicles to ensure user safety. Why is it essential to ensure safety when using a forklift? What are the risks associated with using this handling machine? Discover the different forklift safety guidelines in our following article.


The Importance of Safety in Using Forklifts

A forklift is a lifting and handling device with a frontal fork. It can lift and transport containers and other loads in a warehouse or on a construction site. This type of machine is widely used by businesses to facilitate their supply chain management. Yet, forklift use accounts for many significant workplace accidents. No fewer than 8,000 work-related accidents involving these machines are reported in France alone. It becomes mandatory to implement strict safety measures within the company regarding the operation of such equipment. Managers and employers can raise awareness about forklift safety guidelines during a 15-minute safety briefing in the company.


Risks Associated with Using Forklifts

Forklift use can present various risks. Check our link to hunt for risks and know all the forklift safety guidelines. The most common risks encountered when using this handling machine are:

  • Driver ejection from the seat in case of a collision
  • Crushing of the driver or surrounding people in case of tipping
  • Traumas in case of collisions or dropped loads
  • Back pains linked to machine vibrations
  • Carbon monoxide poisoning
  • Occupational diseases caused by machine noise


Safety Instructions for Forklift Operation

Specific safety instructions must be implemented for operating forklifts in a designated area.

Operator Training

According to current regulations, mandatory training must be provided for personnel responsible for operating handling machines. Article R.223-13-19 of the Labor Code states that each company must compulsorily issue a driving permit for drivers in charge of operating a forklift. To drive such a device, the operator must have undergone training. The concerned forklift driver must also have a written driving permit, signed by the company's manager. A medical fitness test must be performed by a doctor, obtaining the CACES (Certificate of Aptitude in Safe Driving). Instructions on driving sites must be provided by the company.

Individual Precautions

When driving the forklift, the operator must not be under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or medication that could impair driving abilities. They must have excellent visual function:

  • Distant vision
  • Close-up vision
  • Relief vision
  • Good color perception

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is essential for the concerned drivers: glasses, helmets, work clothes, etc.

Forklift Maintenance

Forklifts must undergo various checks before being used. A specific check must occur before each use. Thorough inspection is also planned after repairs to ensure the device's proper functioning. A general periodic inspection must be organized every six months by qualified and experienced professionals. Each verification report should be kept for a specified period.

Forklift Parking

For gas-powered forklifts, avoid parking them in direct sunlight or near a heat source. This could increase the risk of overheating the device, potentially causing a fire or explosion. The exchange of removable cylinders should take place in a designated area, preferably in a well-ventilated room. For electric forklifts, also avoid parking near a heat source. Batteries should be charged in a well-ventilated area. Leave the battery lid open during charging.


Work Environment Safety Guidelines

Specific safety instructions related to the work environment must also be implemented.


A traffic plan for forklifts must be drawn up by the company. Designing this traffic plan should take the facility's layout into account and follow road rules, including priorities, roundabout directions, or signaling. Ideally, separate the flow of forklifts, vehicles, and pedestrians. The guidelines should be accessible to all to ensure safe forklift traffic.

Visual Signaling

Signage or specific instructions can be used to inform users of the dangers associated with forklift traffic.

Safety Devices

The forklift or room must have a device to absorb toxic gases from forklifts, especially if they operate in a closed, non-ventilated space. The traffic area must be adequately lit, allowing the driver to visualize everything and drive safely. Moreover, each machine should have front and rear lights for better visibility in certain areas. Each device will be equipped with an individual fire extinguisher, in addition to the extinguishers available in every corner of the work area. The location of these extinguishers should be visible thanks to specific signage.


Safety Instructions for Handling Loads

Special attention should be given when handling loads with a forklift. Operators should follow these guidelines:

  • Avoid lifting a load exceeding the device's maximum capacity
  • Avoid transporting unbalanced loads
  • Do not lift a load with only one part of the fork
  • Do not brake abruptly
  • Do not drive with high loads

Following these safety guidelines significantly reduces accident risks.


Rely on Immersive Factory's Expertise to Implement Virtual Safety Training

Immersive Factory offers virtual training to train your operators and raise their awareness when using forklifts as part of their job. Virtual training offers more convenience and results in significant time savings for the company.

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