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Forklift stability when carrying loads

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may 21
may 2021

The purpose of this Safety Alert is to remind forklift owners, operators, and workers of the hazards associated with operating forklifts, in particular on uneven ground with elevated heavy and large dimension loads, and to reinforce the use of well-established ways to minimise the risk of injury from tipping over.


WorkSafe Inspectors have responded to two forklift tip over incidents within two weeks, in Darwin. 

The first incident occurred in late March 2021, when an unlicensed operator was reversing a forklift along a rough dirt driveway carrying a trailer frame. The forklift was reversing with the tynes raised at the top of the mast when the forklift tipped over onto its side.  The operator received a serious laceration to their arm that required 32 stitches.

The second incident occurred in early April 2021, when a recently licensed, and inexperienced forklift operator attempted to unload a 40-foot shipping container from a vessel. The shipping container had to be elevated to clear the vessel’s bow as the forklift reversed down the bow ramp.

As the forklift attempted to reverse up the boat ramp, the 37-tonne forklift tipped forward damaging the vessel, shipping container and forklift. Fortunately, the operator escaped without injury.

Possible contributing factors:

  • The forklifts were travelling on uneven ground or an incline when the tip over occurred.
  • Both forklifts were travelling with the loads lifted high, which can affect the stability of the forklift.
  • The loads being carried in both incidents may have contributed to the incident:
    • In the first incident, the trailer frame was not secured and was able to swing on the tynes;
Action required:
  • Before moving a load, the operator should check that the load is secured, and the weight is within the forklifts rated capacity.
  • Loads should be lowered just above the ground with the mast tilted back before moving.
  • When operating the forklift on an incline, the load must be tilted back and raised only as far as needed to clear the ground. The load must be facing up the incline. Do not try to turn on an incline.
  • Operators must wear the seatbelt (if fitted). Seatbelts can be retrofitted to forklifts without them.
  • Operators must hold the appropriate high risk work licence before operating a forklift and inexperienced operators should be appropriately supervised.
  • Businesses must ensure that all aftermarket equipment installed is suitable for the task at hand, and all operators are competent in using the installed equipment.

If the work environment is not safe to properly operate a forklift, consider using alternative equipment to move the load.

The Mitsubishi range of equipment includes safety features such as: mast and travel interlock, lift lock and neutral safety systems to enhance your forklift safety in the workplace.

MLA Holdings Pty Ltd can provide expert advice on forklift safety contact us on 1300 000 652 or visit Information for this article was sourced from


The Compliance and Complacency of Using Forklifts

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march safety 2
march safety

Forklifts, although relatively small pieces of plant and equipment are known to be one of the most hazardous workplace vehicles. Incidents involving forklifts are frequently serious and often fatal. They are used regularly in warehouses, workshops and on construction and mining sites. It is this frequent use, the fact that they are quiet and seen as part of the environment that there’s the potential for employees to become complacent when working in and around them.

Forklift accidents
Forty per cent of these involve serious injuries with five or more days required off work. Sprains and strains from sitting or getting in and out of the forklift are the most common injury. The next one is being hit by a forklift or its load. It is not just the forklift operator who is at risk. Manoeuvring around people, shelving, intersections, and cornering can all place workers on foot in the line of fire.

Why are forklifts so dangerous?
Forklifts are useful vehicles and they have changed the way warehouses, workshops and sites operate. They are also dangerous pieces of equipment when not managed safely as they:
• weigh up to 4 tonnes, which is about three times heavier than most cars.
• reach speeds of up to 30 kph.
• only have brakes in the front, making them harder to stop.
• can carry heavy loads, making the counterbalance of weight sometimes difficult.
• usually carry large and awkward loads, causing visibility issues for the operator.

The cost of forklift accidents
Sometimes it takes a near miss whilst driving your car to wake you up, refocus and remember that you are behind the wheel of a powerful piece of machinery. The same goes when operating a forklift. In most states in Australia and many countries globally, specific and certified training is a prerequisite to operating a forklift. Safety at work is everyone’s responsibility, however the onus falls on the employer to provide and maintain a safe working environment. This includes ensuring the safe operation of equipment such as the forklift.

Minimising the risk
Employers are responsible for providing a safe work environment, safe systems of work, safe and well-maintained machinery and information, training and supervision. These combined with the principles of hazard identification and control, risk management and an effective traffic management plan can help reduce the risk of forklift-related injuries.

Workers have responsibilities too. These include working with, and communicating to, employers and co-workers to improve safety, complying with instructions and training, reporting hazards, and using PPE correctly.

Education and training are fundamental
To operate a forklift safely and legally in most states and countries you must have a valid license. Organisations need to have safe operating procedures in place and employees are under an obligation to follow them. No matter how simple or complex your facility, it is critical to have an induction and on-boarding program for new team members. It’s recommended that ongoing fresher training is undertaken to address complacency, especially when work is repetitive, or tasks are completed the same way every day.

The Safe Work Australia Code of Practice for Managing the risks of plant in the workplace states that “training programs should be practical and ‘hands on’ and take into account the particular needs of workers, for example literacy levels, work experience and specific skills required for safe use of the plant”.  MLA Holdings Pty Ltd can provide you with expert advice on forklift safety, as well as providing safety devices and fleet management systems to enhance your forklift safety. Contact us on 1300 000 652 or visit Information for this article was sourced from

5 Tips on how to operate a forklift safely

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nov sb
safety bulletin nov

Operating a forklift is an important job, and forklift operators take on a lot of responsibility when they get their forklift licence. Forklift trucks are certainly useful, but they also pose certain risks within the workplace. If they are used recklessly, or without following the correct procedures, it can lead to damage of property, and worse, injury or even death. That means, safety always must come first when getting behind the controls.

Operating a forklift is an important job, and forklift operators take on a lot of responsibility when they get their forklift licence. Forklift trucks are certainly useful, but they also pose certain risks within the workplace. If they are used recklessly, or without following the correct procedures, it can lead to damage of property, and worse, injury or even death. That means, safety always must come first when getting behind the controls.

Here, to give you a refresher, we will go through five things that all operators need to remember in order to be able to operate a forklift safely.

1. Never operate unlicensed
Having a forklift licence is essential before operating a forklift. During the process of obtaining a license, operators go through training that covers all the important safety information. The only courses that are valid for getting a forklift license are those run by a Registered Training Organisation (RTO). These courses aren't just like taking a driving lesson – they teach you much more than how to manoeuvre the machine. You will also learn the relevant regulations that must be adhered to in any workplace where forklifts are used.

2. Wear your safety gear
Forklift operators are typically required to wear a hard hat, safety shoes, and high vis clothing at a minimum. You should never operate a forklift without putting these on first. Usually, employers will provide their employees with safety gear, but even if they don't, it is your responsibility to follow up and make sure these things are available to you. Also, make sure your safety gear fits well. Loose clothing items can get stuck in machinery, and loose hard hats aren't protecting anyone.

3. Check the forklift every day
When you start your shift for the day, it is important to thoroughly check the machine before starting operation. You need to make sure the forklift is working properly and is capable of achieving its max reach. Make sure you check covers for the brakes and steering, and that all components are functioning smoothly. It may seem like a burden to do this for every shift, but consider how much worse it will be if you have a malfunction mid-operation. If you notice anything, for example stiff controls, you need to have the machine booked in for repairs and service.

4. Follow speed restrictions
One of the most common causes of injury and damage while operating a forklift is speed. Every workplace has regulations around the maximum speeds a forklift can travel, and these should always be adhered to. Going over the speed limit not only endangers you, but those around you, and your employer's property. So don't risk it. Stick to the limits and don't rush, even if you are behind schedule, forklift safety is absolutely paramount.

5. Don't get complacent
Sometimes when operators have been driving a forklift for a long time, they get complacent and start to cut corners. It is always important to be vigilant when it comes to safety procedures. Keep a keen eye out for any obstacles in your path, avoid bumps and slip hazards, and always sound your horn when approaching an entrance or a blind spot. You also need to keep a safe stopping distance from all other forklifts, at all times. These are just a few of the many safety precautions that will be outlined in your employer's policies, and in your training.

Forklifts are not a toy. If you are getting behind the controls, just as when operating any vehicle or machine, you are taking your own and other's safety into your hands. You always need to follow these tips to ensure that no unnecessary damage or injury results from negligence.
MLA Holdings Pty Ltd can provide you with expert advice on forklift safety, as well as providing safety devices
and fleet management systems to enhance your forklift safety. Contact us on 1300 000 652 or visit Information for this article was sourced from

Always separate pedestrians from forklift traffic

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mitsubishi safety zone 2020
october 2020
A simple traffic plan with separate driving and walking routes prevents collisions


On public roads we try to separate fast and slow traffic as much as possible, but this is not what we see in many warehouses. As a result, forklifts and pedestrians sometimes come into undesired contact. A well-considered traffic plan prevents fast and slow traffic from crossing each other’s paths.

Yellow and green lines

mitsubishi safety zone 2020
Separating traffic flows is important in the warehouse, just as it is on roads. With lines on the floor, we can create driving routes for forklifts and walkways for pedestrians. Make sure both forklift truck drivers and pedestrians can immediately see which path they should take. This can be achieved using a combination of symbols and different-coloured lines on the floor. Think yellow for train paths, green for footpaths. White lines are for marking storage locations on the floor and red is for locations with fire extinguishers or emergency doors that must always remain accessible.

Warehouses often have areas where many people work intensively at the same time, in an order picking operation for example. Consider marking out separate areas for value-added activities or for preparation of shipments. The people in these zones are mainly focused on their task, not on the traffic around them, so a simple line on the floor is insufficient to separate them from forklifts. You should therefore shield them with physical barriers such as gates, special traffic lights or audible warnings are also available for warehouses or production sites.

Pedestrian crossings
Of course, it is never entirely possible to avoid the need for pedestrians to cross a forklift route. To make this safer, create crosswalks in the form of pedestrian crossings. Symbols on the floor can be used to encourage forklift drivers to lower their speed.

The doorway from one hall to another can create a bottleneck. These are usually very busy locations, while views of traffic on the other side of the wall are often limited. It is advisable to make a door for pedestrians, separate to the opening for forklift traffic. Ideally, it should not be too close to the forklift opening, as pedestrians may be tempted to choose the easiest way.Use a fence to lead them to the door. Gates can also be useful to prevent people from entering the driveway directly when entering the warehouse.

Lead by example
The area immediately surrounding a forklift is one with a high risk of accidents. We can also mark out this safety zone – not with lines stuck on the floor but with visual aids. Take the Mitsubishi Safety Zone System, for instance. This consists of LED lamps that project clear red lines on the floor around the truck. These mark the minimum distance from the truck that employees must maintain in order to work safely.
Finally, make clear agreements about the use of traffic routes, walkways, crosswalks and entrances. Don't forget to make these agreements known to occasional visitors to the warehouse, like office workers, maintenance engineers or guests from outside. And last but not least, set a good example yourself. If managers don’t use the footpaths, why would other employees?

Have a question about how to separate pedestrians from forklifts or Mitsubishi’s Safety Zone System? Contact us on 1300 000 652 or Information for this article was sourced from