You don’t need expensive computer gadgetry to be safe operating a forklift. Using a forklift safely isn’t difficult, but judging by the number of accidents each year, too many of us cut corners!

Even the gadgets aren’t making that much of an impact. Nearly three quarters of all accidents involving pedestrians occur when the truck is moving forwards. And despite what you might expect, less than a third of fatalities are caused by overturning. That means that it’s basic operating procedures that are being broken and bad practice, horseplay and human error are largely to blame.

It’s worth then, reminding yourself of the rules…

1. Only properly trained and authorized personnel should operate forklift trucks. Wear a hard hat and safety shoes and try to avoid wearing loose fitting clothing.

2. Inspect and check the condition of your forklift truck using the operator’s check list before starting work. Report any obvious defects or required repairs immediately.

3. Don’t operate your truck in unauthorized areas. Know your forklift truck and think safety. Do not compromise safety. Follow all safety rules and read all warning signs.

4. Do not operate a lift truck unless you are in the operator’s seat. Keep arms, legs and head inside the confines of the operator’s area. Keep hands and feet out of the mast assembly.

5. Do not start, stop, turn or change direction suddenly or at high speed.Sudden movement can cause the lift truck to tip over. Slow the speed of your truck and use the horn near corners, exits, entrances, and near people.

6. Never operate a lift truck with wet hands or shoes. Never hold any controls with grease on your hands. Your hands or feet may slide off of the controls and cause an accident!

7. Do not raise anyone on the forks of your lift truck unless using an approved safety cage. Do not let other people ride on the truck. Lift trucks are designed to carry loads, not people.

8. Do not operate your truck without the load backrest extension and overhead guard. Keep the load against the backrest with the mast tilted backward.

9. Do not lift or move loads that are not safe. Do not pick up an off center load. Such a load increases the possibility of a tipover to the side. Make sure loads are correctly stacked and positioned across both forks. Always use the proper size pallet. Position the forks as wide as possible under the load. Position loads evenly on the forks for proper balance. Do not lift a load with one fork.

10. Do not overload. Always handle loads within the rated capacity shown on the capacity plate. Do not add extra counterweight to the truck. An overload can cause the truck to roll over and cause injury to personnel and damage to the lift truck.

11. Do not drive on soft ground. Observe all signs, especially those on maximum permitted floor loadings, elevator capacities and clearance heights. Handle loads carefully and check them closely for stability and balance.

12. Do not drive on slippery surfaces.Sand, gravel, ice or mud can cause a tipover. If unavoidable, slow down.

13. Do not permit anyone to stand or walk under the load or lifting mechanism. The load can fall and cause injury or death to anyone standing below.

14. Look out for overhead obstructions when raising or stacking loads. Do not travel with a raised load. Do not travel with the mast raised. The lift truck can roll over and cause injury or death to you or other personnel.