Toolbox Talks: Forklifts

By C.A. Lawton | March 2, 2022
lawton forklift blog

Toolbox Talks are an effective method of communication for employees at The C.A. Lawton Co. Each week, a handout is designed and posted by our compliance coordinator, Katherine Jungwirth. This handout is created to freshen everyone’s memory and remind them of various safety precautions.

This week we’ll share some tips from the talk on forklifts.

As a person walking around on the operations floor, have you ever thought about what it is like to be a forklift driver and all the things they must be doing at one time? 

They need to be safely transporting their load, watching where they are going, being aware of what is going on around them, making sure their load is stable, warning others of their presence, traveling at safe speeds, etc., all while having limited visibility in a constantly changing environment. 

Then throw people into the mix! People not focusing on where they are or where they are going, what they are doing, or what is going on around them. 

Forklift drivers – Follow all safety guidelines. Do not become lax or overconfident. Do not assume that people see you and will stay out of your way. Always think about what may be around the next corner, wall, or door. Drive slowly, especially when not carrying a load. 

  • Forklifts are less stable when empty
  • Forklifts are far heavier than a car and have the potential to cause lots of damage to people and property
  • Centers of gravity can change with different conditions and loads
  • Always, ALWAYS wear the seatbelt
  • NEVER, EVER use a cellphone while operating a forklift

People (pedestrians) – Follow all safety guidelines. Do not become lax, distracted, or overconfident when walking through production areas. Do not assume that forklift drivers will see you and will stay a safe distance away. Always think about what may be around the next corner, wall, or door.

Did you notice that forklift drivers’ and people’s safety rules are very similar? Both are responsible for keeping themselves AND each other safe. Never assume the other person sees you!

In addition to the rules above, all people moving around in the machine shop, pattern shop, foundry, or yard should:

  • Use walkways whenever possible
  • Give forklifts plenty of space and the right of way
  • Give distance between you and a forklift picking or placing loads into racking 
  • Never walk in front of or behind moving forklifts
  • Never ride on any part of a forklift
  • If you are near a forklift, make sure the forklift driver sees you – – make eye contact!

  Remember:  Be alert!  Pay attention to your surroundings!  Stay SAFE!

Adapted from “Basic Forklift Discussion:  Pedestrian Safety”, presented by WolterGroup, LLC;