Operating a forklift is a potentially dangerous job, but someone has to do it. As a forklift operator, such as in a warehouse or manufacturing plant, it’s critical to understand the steps you can take to prevent trouble.

Here are five forklift safety tips to follow at all times:

  • Inspect the forklift before use: Don’t assume that a forklift is in good working condition. Inspect it for defects and damages, and notify your supervisor should you find anything wrong.
  • Wear the appropriate clothing: This typically includes safety shoes, hardhat and a high visibility vest. Also, avoid wearing loose clothing that could get caught on machinery.
  • Know your environment: Don’t assume your work environment will remain the same from day to day. For example, there may be new signs in place for clearance heights and driving paths. Knowing your environment also means knowing where your co-workers are at all times.
  • Beware of hazards: This includes but is not limited to objects on the ground, wet spots, uneven surfaces and other vehicles. These hazards have a way of popping up when you least expect it.
  • Check your load: When carrying any type of load with a forklift, it must be stable and secure. Many forklift accidents are a result of improper loading and/or attempting to carry too much weight.

By following these five safety tips, you’ll feel more confident in your ability to operate a forklift without incident.

Regardless of how safe you are, there’s still a chance you could suffer an injury in a workplace forklift accident. For example, you could accidentally hit an object on the floor, thus causing your forklift to jerk or tip over.

If you’re injured in a forklift accident, stop the vehicle and call for medical help. You should also report the incident to your employer, as this does two things:

  • Proves to them that you were injured on the job
  • Helps protect your co-workers from the same type of accident

Once you understand your injuries and prognosis, turn your attention to the steps you can take to receive compensation for your injuries. This typically starts with filing a workers’ compensation claim.