Free Forklift Toolbox Talks Topics Ideas

Forklifts are a really vital part of material handling in lots of industries. They are also a source of serious mishaps. All workers who operate forklifts should be trained and certified in safe operation a minimum of once a year. The training includes both class and vehicle operation. Written and driving tests are administered by the instructor. Here are some standard safety guidelines to bear in mind when operating a forklift.


  1. The operator is in charge of his/her own vehicle. As such they are responsible for their own safety, vehicle, load, company property and equipment and other employees or pedestrians.
  2. Only qualified drivers may operate forklifts. This will be determined by their supervisor and be based upon experience and training.
  3. Wear a hard hat, safety glasses, hearing protection and safety shoes as required.
  4. Horseplay is prohibited.
  5. Report all accidents immediately.
  6. No riders are allowed.

forklift toolbox talks


In general, observe the usual traffic rules and regulations whenever possible. These include:

  1. Keep to the right on roadways and wide aisles.
  2. Drive at a reasonable speed depending on location and condition of the surface.
  3. Slow down at intersections, corners, ramps and other danger points.
  4. Leave plenty of space between forklifts when moving.
  5. Use your horn in blind spots, but don’t overdo it.
  6. Watch in turning that you don’t cut too short.
  7. Be alert for wet and slippery surfaces while driving.
  8. Give pedestrians the right of way. Assume they are not aware of forklift traffic.
  9. Stop at all stop signs.
  10. When parking, do not block traffic

No employee should ever operate a forklift without proper training. This training must include: basic
safety rules, material handling procedures, safe operating techniques, and driver’s performance testing.
Re-training is required: when there is a failure in the safety procedures, an employee is involved in an
accident or a near-miss incident, if there has been a change of vehicles, if there is reason to doubt an
employee’s proficiency in operating the forklift, and every three years.
The forklift operator must be familiar with all components of the forklift, and understand that modifying
any component is an OSHA violation. The use of a lift-basket or a barrel-lifter is allowed only if approved
by the manufacturer.

Forklift Discussion Points:

  1. Why Do I Need Training and Re-Training?
  2. Components of a Forklift and Manufacturer Approved Attachments
  3. Types of Forklifts, Designated According to Types of Power Sources Used
  4. How Forklifts Work in General
  5. How to Safely Operate a Forklift

The four types of forklifts, designated according to the types of power sources used are: battery,
propane, diesel, and gasoline. It is important to use the forklift suited for the environment in which it
will be used.
Forklifts increase productivity, because of how they are used to move loads of materials from one point
to another.
It is important that the forklift operator be familiar with issues related to safe operation of the forklift,
and be able to proficiently demonstrate proper use according to OSHA Standard 29 CFR 1910.178,
covering the safe use of powered industrial trucks.


Inspect the hydraulic hose pipes for leaks and wear. If a pipe were to fail while lifting, the load might fall and trigger serious injury or death.

Never ever overload the forks. All lift trucks have a score plate located somewhere near the seat or fueling point on the machine. Recognize it and understand the ranked capabilities. If the rear tires come off the ground due to overwhelming, then steering and braking with be endangered.

Lower the forks to the ground when not in use to prevent tripping risks.

Run the lift truck in reverse if the load prevents a clear view looking forward.

If operating on a slope, ensure the load stays firmly against the mast.

Run the lift truck with the forks as close to the ground as possible. The crucial element here is to keep the center of gravity as close to the ground as possible to benefit from counter- weights in the lift truck and avoid inadvertent tipping.

Check ground conditions at all times to avoid holes and unequal surface.
Prior to refueling or changing propane tanks, ensure valves are closed and secured to prevent inadvertent fuel splashes to the eye and skin.

Use the seat belt and do not leave the taxi of the lift truck if it begins to tip. Lift trucks can tip in an unpredictable way due to their shape and disproportional weight. The most serious lift truck accidents take place when operators attempt to leave the maker while it’s toppling.

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