Forklift Safety

This course covers basic forklift operating procedures to enhance forklift safety and prevent common accidents. It includes information on various types of forklifts used in general industry, construction, and warehouse environments, along with OSHA’s general industry standards (29 CFR 1910.178) and best practices for operating powered industrial trucks.

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Course Details

Learning Objectives

By the end of this course, you will be able to:

  • Differentiate between handling a forklift and an average automobile
  • Identify the most common forklift accidents
  • Describe steps for refueling
  • Describe steps for recharging batteries
  • Describe the center of gravity and stability triangle
  • Describe load capacity and load center
  • Describe forklift pre-operation inspections
  • Identify safety guidelines and best practices for forklift operation


Course Level Intermediate
Languages English, Spanish, Arabic, Portuguese, Chinese, Dutch, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Tamil, Polish, Russian, Swedish, Thai, Czech
Compatibility Audio, Video
Based on: 29 CFR 1910.178: Powered Industrial Trucks Recognized industry best practices Content contribution by Frederick "Rick" Heath: industry expert on material handling equipment, Principal of Heath & Associates


Vector Solutions

With over two decades of experience designing advanced 3D animated courseware and developing our proprietary learning management software, we pride ourselves by having developed over 1,000 safety and operations training modules, which have helped train over 250,000 workers worldwide. Our highly experienced team provides the industry with a simple and high-quality means of training their workforce. Whether your team consists of 25 people or an enterprise with thousands, we’re here to help.

Course Applies To

Key Questions

Are there any forklift-specific OSHA regs?

Yes, specific OSHA regulations for forklifts are detailed in 29 CFR 1910.178. These regulations cover operator training and certification, equipment maintenance and inspection, safe operating procedures, and the use of personal protective equipment (PPE). Adhering to these regulations is essential for ensuring workplace safety and compliance with OSHA standards.

Will I be a qualified forklift operator after watching this forklift safety video?

No. This video is full of helpful information that will get you on your way, but you must receive additional training, and your employer must determine that you’re “competent” before you can operate a forklift at work.

What are some unique aspects of forklifts that can make them hazardous to operate?

Forklifts are heavy, can be unstable, have rear-wheel steering, utilize potentially dangerous fuel/power sources, and carry loads.

Can any forklift work safely in any environment?

No. Verify the forklift’s hazardous location designation to ensure safe operation in flammable, combustible, or poisonous atmospheres.

Why is it important to pay attention to the forklift's center of gravity?

Knowing where the center of gravity is, and keeping it where it should be, can help prevent instability and accidents.

What is the "stability triangle?"

The stability triangle is a way to think about the forklift’s center of gravity and forklift stability. If the forklift’s center of gravity is kept within the stability triangle, then the lift and its load will be stable (and not prone to tip).

What are some factors that influence the stability of a forklift and its stability triangle?
  • Load weight
  • Load balance
  • Load height
  • Inclined or uneven surfaces
  • Momentum
Is it necessary to perform an inspection before operating a forklift?

Yes, perform inspections, with the engine off and with the engine on.

What should a forklift operator do if the forklift is rolling over or if items are falling onto the forklift?

The forklift’s rollover guard is built to withstand heavy impacts, so it’s best to stay in the cab and not jump out.

Sample Video Transcript

A stable forklift has a center of gravity that is low and close to the middle of the forklift, well within the Stability Triangle. Here are the factors that affect the center of gravity: Load weight is a major factor. As load weight increases, the center of gravity moves toward the load. Load balance affects the side-to-side location of the center of gravity. A load that is not centered will move the center of gravity to the side where the load is heavier. Load height is also a big influence on stability. The higher a load is raised, the more unstable the truck becomes. With a load raised high, it may only take a small bump, a slight turn, or a quick stop, to tip over the forklift. Inclined or uneven surfaces move the center of gravity in the direction of the downward slope. Momentum has a great influence on the truck when it is in motion. Acceleration will move the center of gravity toward the rear of the truck, and deceleration, such as when braking, will move the center of gravity toward the load. Turning will move the center of gravity toward the outside of the turn; the faster a turn is taken, the more unstable a truck becomes.

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