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HR | Employment Law | Health & Safety
James Rowland

James Rowland

Commercial Director

Forklift Truck Workplace Safety

Forklift truck workplace safety

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As a business leader, it falls upon you to manage the training and routine equipment inspections your workforce needs to remain safe and compliant when navigating forklift safety.

Forklift truck safety can be split into three key areas

  1. Comprehensive Training: Before using a forklift’s controls, operators must be adequately trained, and equipped with both the practical skills and knowledge to operate it safely.
  2. Safe Loading Procedures: The way a forklift is loaded is the difference between smooth operations and catastrophic events. Balance and security are key.
  3. Environmental Awareness: From narrow passages to busy areas, operators should be well-versed with the environment they’re manoeuvring in

Read on for simple tips to ensure forklift truck workplace safety that will help you to ensure that you’re not only compliant with UK regulations but also championing a safe, productive working environment for all employees.

Why Forklift Truck Safety is a Priority

Why Forklift Truck Safety is a Priority

According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), lift trucks are involved in about a quarter of all workplace transport accidents.

These accidents don’t just carry the risk of injury or fatality for those involved, they can bring an avalanche of legal repercussions and potentially crippling fines to your business too.

Prioritising forklift truck safety is an investment that pays dividends in the form of a happier, safer workforce, efficient operations, and a positive business reputation.

Understanding UK Regulations

The Approved Code of Practice (ACOP) sets the standards for lift truck safety.

It prioritises the safety of operators and bystanders and focuses on the in-depth training for ‘rider-operated’ lift trucks required for both seated and stand-on positions.

The Pillars of Forklift Safety

Provide Proper Training
The ACOP underscores the necessity of comprehensive training for forklift operators. Investing in this education ensures your staff is both legally compliant and adept at managing potential risks.

Provide Safe Work Wear
Protective gear doesn’t merely serve a functional role; from hard hats to safety shoes, each piece of attire corresponds to specific UK health and safety requirements, designed to minimise hazards.

Regular Safety Inspections
Regular checks and balances, as recommended by UK guidelines, ensure the longevity of equipment and the safety of the operators.

Starting a Forklift
As mundane as it might seem, the start-up process for a forklift is crucial. Proper adjustments can mean the difference between a safe operation and a potential mishap.

Be Aware of Your Surroundings
Adhering to designated routes, understanding facility layouts, and being aware of site rules are key to safe operations.

Avoiding Hazards
Being aware of ground conditions, maintaining safe distances, and other proactive measures help to reduce accidents.

Safe Loading Procedures
Staying within the loading guidelines and understanding the mechanics of safe loading is imperative.

Maintain Good Visibility
Whether it’s adjusting loads for better sight lines or having a lookout during challenging weather, clarity in operation is as vital as the operational guidelines themselves

Driving on Ramps
Understanding the direction of movement based on load and slope when operating a forklift on inclines presents unique challenges that must be trained for.

At the End of the Shift

Proper shutdown, storage, and handover procedures at the end of operations ensure that safety is maintained around the clock when handling these machines.

Each of these pillars, when integrated into daily operations, forms robust protection against potential accidents involving forklifts.

Consequences of Neglecting Forklift Safety

Forklift safety isn’t merely a recommended practice; it’s essential for every business using this type of machinery.

Legal Implications
The UK’s Health and Safety Executive (HSE) ensures businesses uphold workplace safety. Failing to adhere to regulations, like the “Approved Code of Practice (ACOP)”, can result in substantial legal penalties, including fines and, in extreme cases, imprisonment.

Financial Impact
Accidents are costly. From damaged goods and machinery repairs to increased insurance premiums and potential employee lawsuits, negligence can severely strain a company’s finances.

Reputation at Stake
A single safety oversight can significantly damage a company’s public image. Such incidents can deter potential clients, partners, and employees from associating with a tarnished brand.

The Ethical Angle
At its core, ensuring safety is a moral responsibility. Every employee deserves a safe working environment, and compromising on this not only risks accidents but erodes the trust at the heart of the workforce.

How Often Should Safety Inspections For Forklifts Occur?

Consistent safety checks are crucial to maintaining a safe workplace environment. In the UK, before every shift, forklift operators should perform daily checks to ensure the machinery’s basic functionality and safety. Additionally, a more thorough examination by a competent person is recommended at least once a year.

This frequency not only guarantees compliance with UK safety standards but ensures a proactive approach to detecting and rectifying potential hazards.

Who Is Qualified To Provide Forklift Training In The Uk?

Forklift training in the UK must be delivered by a certified instructor affiliated with accredited bodies, such as the Road Transport Industry Training Board (RTITB) or the Independent Training Standards Scheme and Register (ITSSAR).

These instructors have undergone rigorous training programmes and assessments themselves, ensuring they are well-equipped to provide comprehensive forklift training.

Employers must ensure their trainers possess such affiliations to ensure both the quality of instruction and legal compliance.

Are There Specific Uk Regulations For Different Types Of Forklifts?

Yes, in the UK, regulations and guidance vary based on the type of forklift in use.

While the “Safety in working with lift trucks” ACOP provides overarching guidance, specific types of forklifts, like telehandlers or side loaders, might have additional or distinct safety recommendations.

It’s imperative for businesses to familiarise themselves with the detailed guidance relevant to the specific forklift types they operate, ensuring full compliance and maximising safety.


When it comes to forklift truck workplace safety, it’s essential to understand and adhere to UK regulations, ensure proper training, and conduct regular safety checks.

Neglecting these aspects can lead to serious consequences both legally and for employee well-being.

For the safety of employees and the efficiency of operations, all UK businesses must place forklift safety at the forefront of their priorities.

Next Steps

Our team of experts can help you to meet your business obligations when it comes to health and safety.

From general consultation, advice on training programs, workplace risk assessments and the creation of robust safety policies, incident management, and providing ongoing regulatory updates, Neathouse Partners empower you to cultivate a culture of safety in your business.

Call us on 01244 893776 for tailored advice.

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