Table of Contents

1. Forklift Safety


Quick Quiz

  • When was the last time your warehouse staff had safety training?
  • Do your forklift operators religiously conduct their daily inspections?
  • If a problem is detected, is there a clear and easy way for employees to report the issue? 

If you're not sure about the answers to the questions above, your operation may be at risk for a serious accident, expensive repairs, and possibly an OSHA fine.

Forklift and warehouse safety affect all aspects of a business. When an employee is injured, morale and productivity decline. If equipment or product is damaged, your bottom line takes a direct hit.

Learn more about the steps you can take to improve the safety of employees, warehouse staff, forklift operators, and your loading dock. We'll cover accident and injury statistics in addition to preventative programs, products, training and other measures designed to prevent expensive problems before they happen.

2. Forklift Safety Statistics

Forklift Safety Training Saves Money and Lives

  • 25% of Forklift-related accidents are the results of inadequate training
  • 260 forklift-related injuries occur every day in the United States
  • One person dies every 2 weeks from a forklift-related accident
  • $7,000 - $70,000 average OSHA fine for inadequate safety training
  • After forklift safety training, OSHA found a 61% improvement in operator performance

Top 3 Causes of Forklift-related Injuries

  • A worker is struck, pinned, or crushed by a forklift
  • A warehouse worker falls from a forklift
  • The forklift tips over or over-turns
  • 42% of the forklift fatalities are caused by forklift tip-overs and 25% are caused by rollovers

Sources: Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and OSHA.


3. Operator Forklift Safety Training

Safety training is one of the best investments a facility manager can make. Here are just a few reasons why:

  • Unplanned forklift repairs can be expensive - both the cost of repairs and downtime
  • An OSHA study found forklift operators improved their performance 61% after safety training
  • Many insurance companies will lower your premiums
  • OSHA compliance

Many fleet managers aren’t aware OSHA requires forklift safety training more frequently than every three years if the operator has been observed to operate a lift truck in an unsafe manager, was involved in an accident or near-miss, or a few other reasons.

View a schedule of upcoming forklift training classes in Livermore, Sacramento, Salinas and Fresno, or learn more about options for on-site forklift training at your facility.

4. Forklift Ergonomics

Forklift Operator Injury PreventionSmall injuries and long-term strain can add up to a big problem for the forklift operator and the employer. But ergonomic forklift options and ergonomic accessories can help prevent common forklift operator injuries.

5. Safety Products

6. Inspection Checklists

Warehouse Safety Checklists

Pre-shift forklift inspections are required by OSHA, but this vital daily requirement* is often overlooked. Either the employer doesn’t know they are required, or they feel as though these inspections are a waste of time. It’s easy to think that, until the unthinkable happens.

*Inspections should be conducted before every shift for multi-shift operations.

Safety inspection checklists should be tailored to your operation. You can compare OSHA’s example with the forklift inspection checklists created by our material handling team. All you’ll see, we have a specific checklist for electric forklifts, narrow-aisle forklifts, IC lift trucks and so on. Feel free to download them for use in your facility!

Safety checklists are an important preventative measure to avoid injuries and fines. That said, making a safety checklist available isn’t enough. If you have one or two forklifts and multiple operators, it might not be clear who’s responsible for the initial inspection. Another common problem is what employees are supposed to do if and when they find a problem. Management should provide clear direction on how to  document a problem or defect.

Download free forklift inspection checklists in English or Español. Available checklists include:

  • Electric Truck Daily Checklist
  • Narrow Aisle Lift Truck Checklist
  • Low Lift Pallet Truck Checklist
  • Internal Combustion Lift Truck Checklist

7. Aerial Lift Safety

Aerial lifts are ideal for painting, warehouse rack maintenance and other overhead work. Whether you own, lease or rent an aerial lift, there are important safety procedures to follow.

  • The aerial lift should never be moved with the platform elevated - unless the equipment specifically designed for that.
  • Workers should always use fall protection equipment (FPE) such as a body harness or restraining belt with a lanyard.
  • It’s never acceptable to “belt off” to an adjacent pole, structure or equipment.

Scissor Lift Training and SafetyRead more about aerial and scissor lift safety  - including how to prevent one of the top three causes of aerial lift injuries and fatalities.

Or, schedule an aerial platform training and certification course at your facility. Training helps employers reduce the risk of property damage as well as employee injury or death. It also ensures compliance with OSHA and Cal OSHA regulations.

8. Warehouse Safety

The fatal injury rate for warehousing employees is higher than the national average for all industries (source: OSHA). Accidents not only cost money, they take an emotional toll on your staff. But year after year, the same safety violations make OSHA’s most-cited list. They include:Warehouse_Safety_Audit_Checklist_Tips

  1. Unsafe Use of Forklifts
  2. Hazardous Material Communication and Disposal
  3. Electrical Wiring Hazards
  4. Failure to Follow Proper Lockout/Tagout Procedures
  5. Slip and Fall Hazards

Forklift Safety - Not Just for Operators Forklifts can weigh up to 9,000 pounds and travel at up to 18 mph. Most people know they are powerful machines, but how many of your employees know how to stay safe around forklifts?

All employees who enter your warehouse should receive forklift safety training. Here are just a few reasons why:

  • Roughly 20 percent of all forklift accidents involve a pedestrian
  • One in ten forklifts will be involved in some form of accident
  • About 20% of forklift fatalities occur when a worker is struck by the forklift or falling material

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and OSHA.

9. Loading Dock Safety

Approximately 25% of warehouse injuries occur on the loading dock, and they don’t always involve forklifts. Weather, moving trucks, forklifts and other factors make loading docks a hazardous area.

OSHA has a webpage about loading dock safety, and many of their recommendations include common sense tips including conducting a warehouse safety audit in addition to a daily safety inspection. Ensure the loading dock floor is dry and free from trash and spills, paint the edges of the loading dock to improve visibility and use curbed ramps and dock boards to keep lift trucks from sliding.

Many loading dock accidents can be prevented using dock locks and vehicle restraints. Dock locks are inexpensive and take up very little space. In addition to preventing worst-case scenarios, such as a forklift falling off your dock, you may get a discount on your insurance for investing proactive safety measures. 

The most popular types of loading dock vehicle restraints are a Lock & Load, which mounts cantilever-style to the dock face, and the Truck Lock

  • A Lock & Load secures the truck trailer to the loading dock using a large, rotating hook attached to the building. When the truck is in position, a dock employee activates the hook, and the spring-loaded restraint adjusts automatically with trailer float motion to ensure alignment.

  • A Tuck Lock holds the truck and its trailer in place using a barrier-style ram bar which prevents accidental separation from the dock during loading and unloading.


Don’t let a member of your staff become a statistic.

Incident prevention is key. Below are some additional articles to help your business run more safely and efficiently.

Please contact us if you have any questions about the information in this article. 


On-Site Forkflit Training

Let us come to your facility, at your convenience, (including nights & weekends) to train and certify all your powered industrial truck and powered pallet jack operators!

With over ten years of training experience & certifying thousands of operators in the safe use of all types and makes of forklifts. Our instructors are very knowledgeable of the current regulations, and will customize your training class to ensure complete compliance with federal and state OSHA requirements.