Forklift Safety Tips

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In this video of SCMH Quick Tips & Tools, Parts & Service Sales Representative Carlos Cauton gives an overview of the advantages customers can glean from signing up for an Ngauge account. “Enrollment to the program is completely free for SCMH customers and gives them the accessibility to not just order parts online, but to manage their fleet and access manuals and publications for their CAT Lift Trucks, Mitsubishi Forklifts, and Jungheinrich Warehouse Solutions.

Watch now and contact your SCMH professional to get set up.


Mitsubishi Caterpillar Forklift America (MCFA) shares the following quick tips and tools for safely operating lift trucks.

Make sure your operators are properly driving the lift trucks in your fleet. Check out these few simple forklift safety tips and guidelines to help keep your operators and your workplace productive and safe.

Proper Lift Truck Operation
Forklifts play a vital role in keeping businesses moving – from transporting products to operating in heavy-duty outdoor applications. These are a few simple forklift safety tips and forklift  safety rules to help keep your operators and your workplace productive and safe.


Safety Rules For Forklift Entry:

  • Always check hands and feet for grease or oil before entering.
  • Use the three-point method: grab the assist grip with your left hand and the hip restraint with your right hand.
  • Avoid grabbing the steering wheel.

Best Practices:

  • Always use the lift truck’s operator seat belt or restraint system.
  • Stay inside the operator compartment, and never reach into moving parts of the truck.
  • Obey all company safety rules and posted traffic signs – including speed limits.
  • Keep a clear view of the path of travel.
  • Start, stop and change directions smoothly.
  • Sound the horn and slow down when approaching intersections, blind corners, door and ramp openings, pedestrians and other vehicles, and when backing up.
  • When traveling, keep the forks in a low position that provides adequate clearance over the surfaces you will travel.
  • Maintain a safe distance from the edge of docks.
  • Operators should always wear the required protective clothing and equipment for your application, such as steel-toed shoes and a safety vest.
  • Ensure all operators are properly trained and certified to operate a lift truck.


10 Tips to Consider Signing Up for PM Service

By Ben Hofer, SCMH

Like an annual trip to your local physician for a check-up, a well thought-out planned maintenance (PM) agreement with a qualified and reputable service company can dramatically increase the longevity of your equipment as well as significantly reduce your operating costs.

Conversely, operating forklift equipment without planned maintenance or allowing an inexperienced company manage your program, can result in increased operating costs, downtime and reduced useful life of your forklifts.

Through years of performing planned maintenance for hundreds of companies on thousands of forklifts there are a few basic things we have felt all our customers needed to know about planned maintenance and we want to share those topics with you to help you understand planned maintenance more thoroughly, or simply reaffirm the plan you already have in place.


Particularly during times when budgets are strained, it is easy to “take the bait” on low-priced introductory PM rates. Statistics show that it takes a minimum of one hour to perform a proper PM on an IC or electric rider unit and 30 minutes on a walkie. Ask for the stated hourly labor rate or your prospective provider. If the math doesn’t pan out, something is going to suffer and it’s usually the amount of care paid to your forklifts.


Ask to see a PM inspection form of the company you are using. If one does not exist then it is likely that your forklifts are not being inspected and maintained properly. Have someone do an occasional random inspection to be sure grease is getting where it’s supposed to, and inspections are being done properly. Remember, you spent tens if not hundreds of thousands of dollars on these assets and you not only want to get the most out of them in terms of useful life, but your goal is to minimize maintenance costs. The only way to ensure this is to have competent and thorough service technicians service your forklift equipment. Anything less is most likely going to cost you far more in the long-run. See what a PM inspection form looks like here:


Do you know how many of your forklifts are being serviced according to the schedule laid out in the agreement? If you are entertaining a new service provider asking for their completion rates is not only appropriate, it’s essential. And if your prospective provider does not know their completion rates, they are not keeping tabs on them, which likely means your forklifts are not going to be serviced on time.


You have a lot riding on your forklift fleet every day. Productivity and employee safety are right at the top of the list. There’s no better way to find out what kind of service to expect from your prospective service provider than to ask their current customers. Get a short list of three to four companies and give them a call.


Like the old Fram Oil Filter commercial (watch the TV ad here: whose moniker was “you can pay me now, or you can pay me later”, ignoring small costs now leads to bigger costs down the road. But what does that mean and what causes this?

  • Keeping lines clean—Let’s face it, our forklifts operate in less-than-optimal atmospheric conditions. This leads to build-up in the filters that keep the air, oil and hydraulic fluid clean. Sediments can wreak havoc on the internal working parts and result in premature failure, thus increasing your costs over the life of your equipment.
  • Tires—Tires that are worn or damaged increase the resistance of that tire and leads to increased fuel costs.
  • The squeaky wheel needs the grease—When a part breaks, a forklift is out of service and typically results in more down time and decreased productivity. Keeping key points properly lubricated reduces friction which reduces wear. This results in smoother operation, improved performance and elongated part life. Combining all these reduces your operating costs.
  • Worn parts—Replacing worn parts before they fail saves in several ways. When parts fail it can often lead to damage of or failure of other parts. Replacing what’s worn now improves up-time and reduces the likelihood of the forklift needing to be taken to the shop for more extensive repairs.


From a safety standpoint, making sure that your forklifts are operating safely is important. As part of OSHA’s regulation of forklifts 29CFR 1910 (read regulation here: preventive or planned maintenance is recommended. Ignoring this recommendation can be costly in an event of a workplace accident due to parts that give way, or an operator that slips on or around the equipment due to lack of maintenance. It’s not only the fines that can result, but the legal costs that undoubtedly will be incurred if a company has not followed the recommendations of OSHA.


Working with a company that asks questions can optimize and reduce the cost of, your planned maintenance program. If your forklifts operate under extreme conditions (lifting heavy loads, in the heat, bad weather, cold storage, multi-shift etc.) they will need increased attention. However if your forklifts are lighter duty and are used less than a full shift, they will not need as frequent visits by your service tech. Knowing how often your forklifts need to be serviced is a product of experience. Be sure your service provider asks questions and listens.


As required by OSHA, a daily inspection is required of each and every forklift you operate. Click here to download your copy of operators' pre-shift inspection checklist courtesy of SCMH Rental Solutions. This daily inspection extends beyond the typical lights, alarms, seat-belt, brakes and accelerator that we frequently see. The required inspection elements include belts and hoses, engine oil level, engine coolant, air filter and brake reservoir to name a few.


You can learn a lot by visiting your prospective service provider. How orderly is the parts department? Ask about their processes. Ask to see how they track planned maintenance and meet the people that will be responsible for managing your fleet’s planned maintenance program. Is the facility clean? Are the grounds well kept? A sloppy and disorderly facility usually means you can expect the same for your planned maintenance program.


qualified resources in any given city that can execute a proper planned maintenance program. You spend tens, sometimes hundreds of thousands of dollars to acquire these equipment, why not put it in the hands of a company that understands them and has extensive experience with them. You want someone that you know will be here for the long-haul, and can stand behind the work that they perform. OSHA only requires that a forklift be service by “authorized” personnel. We feel however that while “authorized” is not defined, you certainly want to be sure that your service company is sufficient to stand the litmus test of having extensive experience to understand the complete spectrum of forklift maintenance.

SCMH performs thousands of forklift PM’s every year and we know what it takes to optimize your planned maintenance program and would appreciate the opportunity to speak to you about your current program, or help you establish a customized planned maintenance program for your forklift fleet.

SCMH services are available across Los Angeles County, Orange County, and San Fernando Valley.

Fork Inspection Guide

SCMH safety tips brings you steps to comply with the ANSI/ITSDF B56.1-2012 fork standards via a Promatch-produced video that will walk you through safety inspections.

Forklift Safety Tips: The DOs & DON’Ts of Forklift Operation

In this issue of Quick Tips & Tools, SCMH presents a useful reference forklift truck operators on best practices and things to avoid to prevent workplace accidents.  For a comprehensive training on operator safety training, please contact our training department at 562-654-3627 or read more about our forklift training.



1. If for any reason your forklift begins to tip, do not jump out. You could be crushed beneath the machine.
a. Brace your feet, grab onto the steering wheel, and pull yourself tight up against it.
b. Lean in the opposite direction from the way the vehicle is tipping.
c. Do not try to get out of the forklift until it has come to a complete stop.

2. Most forklifts and some other powered industrial trucks have rear-wheel steering. Be careful going around corners (with a forklift both the forks and the rear of the vehicle will swing wide).

3. Cross curbs and railroad tracks slowly and at an angle.

4. You also need to pay special attention to slopes and ramps.
a. When transporting a load, always keep the forks (and the load) uphill.
b. This means you should back down a slope.

5. If you are not carrying a load, the opposite is true.
a. Always keep the forks pointed downhill to maintain the forklift’s balance.

6. Before driving on a ramp:
a. Clear any obstacles in your path.
b. Use your horn especially if the load blocks your view.
c. Check the ramp for puddles, ice or snow.

7. There should be nothing at the top or bottom of a ramp that could make a vehicle slip or tip.

8. Be extra careful on steep inclines.

9. Always watch your speed. Don’t let a powered industrial truck accelerate if you are maneuvering down an incline.

10. Never travel across a slope at an angle, with or without a load.

11. Many of the ramps you will encounter are made of concrete. If you are using temporary ramp, like a metal
bridge plate, make sure that it is securely positioned and can handle the weight of both the forklift and the load.

12. Before you drive onto a railcar, truck or trailer:
a. Set the vehicle’s brakes.
b. Block its wheels.

Forklift Tire Safety, Production, & Performance

Everything you need to know about forklift tire safety, PSSR Sam Apodaca delivers in this five-minute video. Take a look at tire types, tire failure, tire solutions, and tire application as Sam discusses everything that surrounds forklift tires.

Battery Care and Restoration Process

SCMH brings you a brief video on industrial battery restoration process hosted by PSSR Rick Hernandez. In this video, learn how to extend the life of your forklift battery with proper care and attention. It covers the steps undertaken by SCMH when you call for battery rehabilitation. SCMH can test your battery and give you a professional assessment. Watch now and find out if you’re maximizing the life of your forklift batteries.

Forklift Safety 101: Knowing the parts and functions of your forklift

While lift trucks vary depending on brand, model, and class, here’s a diagram illustrating the basic parts and functions of a forklift.

Helpful Forklift Information, Reference, and Safety Tips

Everything you want to learn about forklifts are presented in short segments and documents that can be a useful guide for all those seeking information on the basics of forklift operation.

Los Angeles / Orange County

12393 Slauson Ave
Whittier, CA 90606
(562) 949-1000

San Fernando Valley

9430 Topanga Canyon Blvd. Suite 108
Chatsworth, CA 91311
(818) 349-1220