Forklifts are not like cars; they’re about twice as heavy, due to the counterbalance weight needed to carry large loads. Because forklifts are so heavy, when a worker gets injured, it is often very serious and sometimes fatal.


Forklifts can turn in a very small radius. They’re rear-wheel driven, so the back end swings out wider than an average car’s pathway.

Always give a forklift plenty of room to maneuver.

Don’t stand near a forklift when it begins to move. Their extra weight means a forklift can’t stop as fast as an auto.

Don’t try to squeeze by an operating forklift; their unexpected movements can crush you between the vehicle and a stationary object.

Forklifts have limited visibility. The forks and lifting mechanism block the line of sight for the driver. If there’s a load on the lift, visibility is even more limited. Don’t rely on the forklift driver to see you.

Never stand near or under loaded forklift tines/forks. Forklifts can drop their load or knock over a stack of materials, causing a possible caught under or crushing injury.

Always wait until a forklift is idle and the parking brake is ON, before entering an active forklift working zone.

Evaluate work areas around you to ensure that forklift activities can’t impact you. For example, a forklift in one aisle can push a product off a shelf from that side of the aisle into the adjacent aisle you may be in and crush you.

Listen carefully and look both ways before you step out from an aisle, around a corner, or across a pathway.

Avoid crossing in front of a moving forklift and don’t try to “beat” one to a crossing.

Install mirrors in blind entry areas to help pedestrians and forklift drivers keep track of each other.

Paint wide, safe pathways on work area floors to separate pedestrians from forklift travel zones.

Adequate lighting can also ensure that drivers and pedestrians see each other.


Stay alert and work at a safe pace; distracted or hurrying workers and quick paced forklift driving can lead to an accident or injury.

Get periodic training on forklift safety to remember safe work practices and the consequences if you don’t follow them.

If there are forklifts present where you work, think about your surroundings and how you can keep yourself safe from a forklift injury.

Think safety!

Download a PDF of this Toolbox Talks in English

Download a PDF of this Toolbox Talks in Spanish