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  • Safety Tips From A.T.L.A.S
  • Forklift Keys Must Be Removed
    A forklift can be a very dangerous tool if the operator has not been trained to use it. Operation of a forklift should only be carried out by someone who is...
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Forklift Safety Tips -

Operating a forklift and licensing should never be about avoiding fines by the authorities. This professional work skill is no different to our transport drivers on the road. It is a profession which needs a professional approach to the safe handling of clients products to minimise stock loss and damage but more importantly to ensure the safety and welfare of operators and personnel who often share the work environment with the equipment.

Did you know that forklifts often weigh more than 3 tonnes and travel around 15km/h. They are general only fitted with simple braking systems on just 2 front wheels. Stopping this massive moving mass in an emergency may not be easy. Or worst still impacting a person!

Modern electric forklifts use regenerative braking. This system returns power converted by the inertia of the slowing forklift and converts this into charge for the battery. Minimising brake pad wear and running costs on your forklift

Forklift Safety Check Prior to Start

It is the companies responsibility to ensure the equipment staff are using is in safe and serviceable condition. Part of this Duty of care includes the operator inspecting the forklift prior to use. A checklist is one of the most common methods companies use to monitor and measure equipment serviceability.

Is your company checking your equipment before use?
How are you recording your equipment checks?

Fines have been issued to companies that are not able to provide proof to the regulatory authority that these important safety checks are being conducted?

Keep a checklist on the forklift in a designated area where you can have easy access to a checklist showing evidence that is signed & dated. File these in a safe and accessible place.

Don't have a checklist? Call us now for a sample checklist 0431 823 800
Selecting the right Forklift for the job

There are many different types of forklifts each designed to suit different purposes or conditions; therefor it is essential that the operator is able to assess the forklift, load and workplace conditions to ensure that the correct equipment is being used. To establish the capacity and limitations of the forklift and equipment to be used refer to the data plate and other manufacturer's information. We can help with this if you or your staff is unsure.

The load plate can be one of the most confusing but important checks on your forklift. Do ALL of your staff operating your equipment know the limits and capacities of the forklift they are operating? On a recent survey more than 80% of randomly questioned "licensed" operators had great difficulty with the simplest of questions relating to information and limitation listed on the data plate of equipment they operate daily. We can organise a spot check of your operators if you are unsure of their knowledge. You may need a refresher training program to bring employees up to speed. We also do a verification of competency (VOC) which is handy for new hires.

Forklift Keys Must Be Removed

A forklift can be a very dangerous tool if the operator has not been trained to use it. Operation of a forklift should only be carried out by someone who is:

  • a holder of a valid forklift license
  • a trainee under supervision of an authorised trainer conducting high risk work (HRW) under supervision of a suitably qualified person (with use of an RTO issued logbook)
  • a trainee being assessed by an authorised assessor

Depending on your site requirements and to prevent unauthorised use of the forklift the key should be removed and returned to a secure location.

A typical site where keys are left in forklifts are emergency service building and airports where strict security restricts access to outsiders and untrained personnel.

Getting on and off your forklift.

It sounds simple to just jump on a forklift and drive but there is a correct way to avoid injury.

Ankle and foot injuries to forklift operator are one of the main contributors to workers compensation claims to logistics employees in Australia.

Bad habits and watching others take short cuts lead to accidentally knocking forklift controls and the potential to cause accidents. This is why there is a correct side to enter from with a handle for helping the driver climb into the forklift. Where this handle is located depends on the make and model of the forklift and will determine the correct side for entering the forklift but generally from the left side. Remember your three points of contact.
Wear your Seatbelt

Yes forklifts do come with fitted seatbelts and they are not there for decoration. It is mandatory that if a seatbelt is fitted then they must be worn. They are required by law to be worn at all times when operating a forklift. They are fitted for your safety in the event of a collision or roll over of the forklift over.

Again if there is an accident and WorkCover attend and the seatbelt is fitted and not worn you risk huge fines. Yes it's a pain to wear one if you are on and off but it literally takes seconds to put one on or off and its law.

Over 25% of forklift accidents are the result of a forklift tipping over.

Drivers should always wear seat belts to prevent being thrown out and crushed if the vehicle falls over. In case of a tip over, the vehicle's frame will offer protection.

Identify Hazards

A hazard is anything that presents a risk of harm or damage to people or property. As a forklift operator it is important to inspect the workplace and identify any hazards before starting work.

This could range from Doorways, Overhead Service Lines, Other Equipment, Surrounding buildings,
Obstructions, Power lines, Dangerous Materials, Railway Lines, Pedestrians, Bridges, Uneven Surfaces, Weather Conditions, Poor Lighting, Blind Spots and loud noises such as other equipment etc.

During training we address the areas of hazards to help your operator acknowledge the dangers.

Driving With the Forks Too High

Fork arms or tynes must be below front axle height while travelling. This helps the forklift maintain stability and reduces the chance of injury to pedestrians. It also creates visibility issues. Only raise your fork arms after stopping your forklift and when required to pick or place your load. Raising and/or lowering the forks whilst driving also affects the stability of your forklift. Especially when turning or changing directions. Ensure your forklift is stationary before raising or lowering. Shifting loads raised above the front axle could run the risk of the forklift tipping or rolling over.

Sounding the Horn for Doorways and Blind Corners

An integral safety feature of your forklift is the horn. It is to be used as a warning device to alert others of your presence. It is not a toy and if used inappropriately others will become complacent and used to the sound therefore reducing its effectiveness.

If the horn is not working the forklift is to be TAGGED OUT OF SERVICE and repaired.

Pallets Must Be Locked Into Racking

Many operators are placing pallets on racking without checking if the pallet is actually locked onto the pallet racking. Both front and rear bottom boards of the pallet should be locked into place either side of the horizontal rack beams. They should not sit on top of the beams as a slight knock to the pallet racking or pallet may cause the incorrectly placed pallet to dislodge and fall creating a potential catastrophe causing serious injury to staff and damaging stock.

Only Use APPROVED Forklift attachments

A forklift is a multipurpose tool and it range of uses can be extended dramatically by the use of an approved attachment. Almost every lifting and shifting movement can be completed safely with the correct attachment.


The attachment must be:
1. Rated and listed on the data plate.

The attachment serial number must be listed on the forklift data plate along with the ratings for the attachment. The attachment must also have a data plate fitted to show compliance (no “home-made attachments”) and the serial number of the forklift must also be listed on the attachment data plate

2. Secured

The attachment is secured with suitable locking devices. The attachment must be properly secured to the forklift (usually using locking pins or chains) according to manufacturers design.

3. Suitable

The attachment is suitable for the task/load. Do not use an attachment for anything other than what it has been designed for.

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We pride ourselves in delivering more than just licensing.

People trained by us develop the finer operating techniques which separates yourself and/or your staff from being a licensed operator to being
Licensed Professionals...... QUITE THE DIFFERENCE!!!