Safety guide for people working near forklifts

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Forklifts are used to lift, stack and transfer loads in many warehouses, factories, shipping yards, freight terminals and other workplaces across Australia.

While forklifts offer a practical materials handling solution for many businesses, each year they continue to be associated with workplace injuries and deaths.

We’re serious about forking safety, and you should be too. If you work near forklifts, this guide will help keep you safe.

Keep your distance

Fully loaded, a standard forklift and its load can have a combined weight of five or more tonnes.

If you work near forklifts, you are equally at risk from being killed or seriously injured through being hit or crushed by the forklift itself, or being hit or crushed by the load the forklift is moving. You are most at risk of being hit by a forklift or its load if you are:

·         walking alongside it

·         picking stock off a nearby shelf

·         walking in between it and a delivery vehicle

·         stepping in to its path, or

·         assisting with loading/unloading

What you can do:

·         Always keep a safe distance.

·         Stay on pedestrian pathways and/or safety zones.

·         Be aware that a forklift operators field of vision is obscured by the mast and load – don’t assume they have seen you.

·         Never approach a moving forklift to speak with the operator. Wait for the forklift to stop and the operator to acknowledge your presence before approaching.

·         Establish eye contact with the forklift operator before crossing an aisle.

·         Don’t assist in loading or unloading unless you have been trained and authorised to do so.

·         Give way to moving vehicles, including forklifts.

·         Don’t use your mobile or headphones.

·         Wear high visibility clothing and other appropriate personal protection equipment (PPE).

Always follow the site safety rules, traffic management plan and safety instructions from your employer.

Information for this article was sourced from For further forklift safety information contact MLA Holdings on 131 652 or

Download PDF here 


Regulatory Authority Help for Forklift Safety

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We’re serious about forklift safety, and you should be too. If you’re a forklift operator, this guide will help keep you, other workers and visitors to your site safe.

There are three main reasons workers are killed or seriously injured in forklift incidents in NSW:

1)            Being hit or crushed by a forklift
2)            Being hit or crushed by a load that the forklift is moving
3)            Being crushed in a forklift tip-over

Watch out for people. “Keep ‘em separated”. Consider installing guardrails or overhead walkways to separate forklifts from pedestrians.

Belt up: Wear your seat belt

Fully loaded, a standard forklift and its load can have a combined weight of five or more tonnes. In the event of a sit down counter balance forklift tip-over or collision, operators are more likely to be killed or seriously injured because they were not wearing a seat belt.

Your instinct may be to jump free from a forklift in the event of a tip-over, however when doing this, you risk being crushed and killed by the overhead guard.

·         Ensure that a seat belt (or other restraint) is installed on the forklift, and is in good working condition

·         Always wear your seat belt

·         Remain seated and do not lean out of the forklift

·         In the event of a tip-over, don’t jump, brace your feet, hold tight and lean away from the point of impact.


1.       Always follow the site safety rules, traffic management plan and safety instructions from your employer.

2.       Ensure your forklift licence is current.

3.       Check your forklift daily before use and report any faults or damage.

4.       Reduce speed on smooth or slippery surfaces.

5.       Stick to the speed limits.

6.       Avoid hard braking, speeding, turning on sloping surfaces, driving with the load raised, sharp turning, or travelling on an incline with the load facing downhill.

7.       Consider regular forklift safety and refresher training.

8.       Wear high visibility clothing and other appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Information for this article was sourced from For further forklift safety information contact MLA Holdings on 131 652 or

Download PDF here          

Stay on the ball for Safety this Summer

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For many forklift operators, working outdoors on a warm, sunny day can be a very attractive aspect of the job. But don’t let the sunshine and fresh air be a distraction – the yard can be a dangerous place all year round.

To help keep your drivers’ eyes on the ball, our friends at the Fork Lift Truck Association, the UK’s leading authority on forklift truck operations, have shared their own starting 11: the essential safety tips that every operator should know before tackling outdoor work.

1. Use the right kit
As a general rule, electric warehouse equipment isn’t designed to be used outdoors. Before you go outside, check that your truck is OK for yard use.

2.Tidy defence.
A messy yard is a dangerous yard. Simple items like loose planks of wood can tip a forklift truck over – crushing or maiming the driver.

3. Pitch inspection.
Make sure the yard surface itself is well maintained. Potholes are another common cause of tipping accidents.

4. Solid at the back.
Before you take a forklift truck into the back of a lorry, check it’s secure and stable – will it take the combined weight of your truck and load?

5. A mountain to climb?
Gradients of any kind can be dangerous to forklift trucks – avoid them. If you can’t, go straight up or down, not sideways.

6. Watch your pace!
Crossing open spaces makes it tempting to overdo the throttle – don’t do it, and don’t let your colleagues do it either if you value your safety.

7. Taking corners.

Steer gently! Even at low speeds, a sharp turn can tip your forklift over.

8. Zonal marking.
Try to keep forklift trucks, lorries and pedestrians separated with traffic circuits and warning signs.

9.Flashy play?
Flashing lights and warning bleepers can be a good idea – but bear in mind they can also be a distraction.

10.Great vision.
It’s important you can see clearly where you’re going – so if you can’t see forward, travel in reverse or get a team-mate to act as observer.

11.Lethal in the box.
If you’re using a diesel or gas powered forklift truck in a confined space like a container, don’t let dangerous fumes build up.

12. Sub: Don’t score an own goal!
Make sure all your forklift trucks and equipment are properly maintained.         

MLA Holdings can provide further safety for your forklift operators this summer, with Mitsubishi’s optional installations of heavy duty dash fans. Many Mitsubishi forklifts can also be supplied with fully enclosed air-conditioned cabins.

Information from this article was sourced from For further forklift safety information contact MLA Holdings on 131 652 or  

Download PDF here          


Forklift Tyres

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Forklift Tyres is the only part of a forklift truck that is always in contact with the ground. They provide grip for movement, friction for braking and an element of suspension for safety and comfort. The correct tyres in good condition are an essential aid to safe and efficient operations.

·         Pneumatic Tyre - The air pressure and volume within the tyre carcass supports the forklift and its load. High inflation pressures used and wheel integrity is extremely important to prevent potential tyre explosions which could be harmful or fatal.

·         Resilient Tyre - Resemble their pneumatic counterpart but are completely manufactured from rubber, no air. Also known as “Puncture Proof” there are differing designs, quality and materials available.

·         Press-On Cushion Tyre - Rubber directly vulcanised to a steel band that is subsequently “pressed-on” to a special wheel.

Methods of identifying tyre wear out

·         Pneumatic tyres wear out points can be identified in two ways:

§  Top of the 60J line

§  The tread depth indicator

o    Pneumatic tyres must have a minimum of 1mm of tread over the centre 75% of tread around its complete circumference.

·         Resilient tyres may be used until they are worn to the wear indicator, also known as the 60J line

·         Press-On Cushion Tyres may be used until 2/3rds of the original thickness remains or the wear limit is “top of the lettering”.

Smooth (Slick) Industrial Tyres

In several applications (Ports & Docks, Waste Transfer, Glass Recycling, Steel Yards etc.) the presence of a tread pattern results in significant tread cutting or damage. At these sites the use of smooth (slick) tyres has led to substantially improved wear rates (lower costs) without any detriment to safety.

Smooth tyres (on paved surfaces) actually have higher levels of grip, even when water is present (up to 15km/hr). The higher grip is a result of the greater contact surface area (tyre to road).

 It is incorrect to assume that tyres with no tread are dangerous or provide less traction, on paved (concrete or asphalt) surfaces.Where loose material is present a treaded pattern tyre will result in better grip than a smooth tyre, due to the tread actually engaging the ground surface.

The time to replace forklift tyres varies between types and operating conditions. One of the biggest risks is that tyres are taken for granted, not being inspected as often or thoroughly as needed for safe operation. The checking of all tyres is an important element of a forklift daily or pre-shift check. Tyre condition is also monitored as part of routine preventive maintenance. Action should be taken to replace damaged or worn tyres without delay.            

Information from this article was sourced from Bearcat Tyres Pty. Ltd. Call MLA now for an obligation free safety tyre inspection.

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Keep Active at Work

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While you may have heard that sitting all day at work may be bad for your health, you may not realise that small and frequent changes from sitting and less time sitting in total can mitigate the potential harm.

Keeping active at work is best for your health

Prolonged unbroken sitting time is associated with a range of health problems including musculoskeletal disorders, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity, some cancers and premature mortality.

How harm arises from sedentary work

The harm associated with prolonged occupational sitting is likely due to insufficient dynamic muscle activity, insufficient energy expenditure, insufficient movement, lack of postural variety, and diminished gravitational resistance.

What is considered excessive work related exposure?

Occupational sitting is common among workers, with one half of workers reporting sitting often or all of the time at work. Exposure to occupational sitting occurs across different industries and occupations.

There is no clear definition of excessive occupational sitting exposure. However, sitting for longer than 30 minutes without a mini-break, and sitting all day at work (being “too busy” to take a break) are likely to be detrimental to health. To date, assessment of occupational exposure has largely been focussed on office work environments, with limited evidence for exposure or interventions in non-office environments.

Ways to reduce prolonged sitting at work

A range of initiatives has been proposed to reduce prolonged sitting at work, including simple interventions that interrupt prolonged occupational sitting by substituting sitting with non-sedentary tasks, such as:

·         Switching to work on a computer at a standing workstation

·         Standing to read a document

·         Having a standing or walking meeting

·         Standing while talking on the phone

·         Walking to deliver a message to a colleague rather than emailing

In essence, employers and workers should aim for small and frequent changes from sitting as much as possible and less time sitting in total.

Information from this article was sourced from Safe work Australia - Sedentary Work - Evidence on an Emergent Work Health and Safety Issue.

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Achieving Good Visibility From Your Forklift

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During forklift operations, operators rely on their vision to gather 90% of the information needed to carry out a task. It’s hardly surprising, then, that visibility issues play a role in more than 80% of forklift truck-related accidents.

Nowhere is this threat greater than when your trucks are lifting loads to heights from 3 to 13 metres. Here, visibility isn’t just desirable, it is absolutely crucial. Your workers are exposed to real danger from falling items if the operator isn’t in total control of every movement.


Statistics suggest that as many as two thirds of forklift accidents kill or injure someone who was not driving the truck at the time – meaning that anyone visiting or working at a business which uses a forklift truck could be at risk of injury... or worse.

Falling loads are a leading cause of fatalities involving forklift trucks – accounting for more than 40% of deaths – according to a 20-year accident study.

Every accident is a personal and commercial tragedy, which is why the subject of visibility is extremely high on the industry’s agenda.

Visionary Thinking

Traditionally, operators have been protected from falling objects by metal bars in the roof of the overhead guard. Although these structures form an effective barrier to larger objects, they do very little to stop smaller items. What’s more, they can present a significant obstacle to operator visibility.

The popular Mitsubishi family of reach trucks benefits from the revolutionary Visionmast, which allows operators to handle goods with precision and effortless ease. ‘Hot extrusion’ technology has allowed a unique construction in which the hydraulic cylinders are enclosed within the profile of the mast’s first stage. This adds extra stiffness to the mast, as well as providing a clearer view.

Features of a high visibility forklift

  •  Hi-vis overhead guard roof for unobstructed upward views
  • High visibility masts for clear forward vision
  • Rear handle with horn button

Choosing a truck with good visibility can enhance your site’s safety and productivity.

When you choose a truck that maximises your operator’s visibility, you maximise his or her ability to manoeuvre safely and precisely, with confidence. In turn, every aspect of your operations will benefit from greater safety, foremost your employees, but also reduced product damage and enhanced productivity.

Information from this article was sourced from

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