Logistics & Materials Handling Blog

4 Key Pieces of Forklift Operator Personal Protective Equipment

by Paul Hinz
Filed under: Safety

Advancements in technology have led to the availability of forklift safety and fleet management systems such as Adaptalift Group’s ForkTrack system that seamlessly integrate safety features such as variable speed limiting, impact detection and load weighing technology, thus ensuring modern forklifts are some of the safest machines on the market today.

Whilst the above-mentioned safety systems often require significant extra expenditure to have them installed on a forklift and may not be accessible for all forklift owners and operators, one of the simplest ways to improve overall forklift operator safety is ensuring they’re correctly outfitted with proper personal protective equipment.

This week’s blog looks at four key pieces of personal protective equipment (PPE) all operators should wear when operating or working in the vicinity of forklifts.

Protective Eyewear

Operating a large piece of machinery such as a forklift comes with a high degree of operator responsibility for the environment and people working around them.

Standard safety eye wear or prescription eyewear for those who normally wear glasses or contact lenses protects operators’ eyes from any environmental hazards that may dangerously impair their vision whilst operating a forklift.

Wearing protective eyewear as part of PPE is especially relevant to operators who work outdoors where they’re exposed to the wind or dust is prevalent.

Protective eyewear will ensure no dust particles or other dangerous objects can get into an operator’s eyes, providing clear vision the entire time they’re operating a forklift.

Protective eyewear is also an important part of PPE for forklift operators who handle chemicals or dangerous goods, that may impair their vision or cause serious harm to their eyes if they come into contact with the chemical or goods.

Safety glasses

Steel Cap Boots Foot Protection

Depending on its lift capacity the unladen weight of a forklift may be very high due to it needing to counterbalance the full weight of its maximum capacity load to prevent it from tipping over.

Due to this large weight it is essential operators and those working in the shared areas with forklift wear steel cap boots.

Steel capped boots prevent or mitigate crushing injuries that may result from a person’s foot being run over by a forklift or crushed by a heavy load.

Steel cap boots

Safety Gloves Hand Protection

Being a mechanical vehicle forklifts have several oils and greases that are applied as part of regular maintenance to ensure they are operating correctly.

Sometimes oil or grease residue may be transferred on to the steering wheel or controls of a forklift, often making them slippery to hold and operate.

Wearing safety gloves not only protects the operator from the any residues but also provides better grip when handling residue affected controls.

Safety gloves also protects an operator’s hands when handling loads. This is particularly important for operators who handle loads of chemicals or dangerous goods that can damage skin

Safety gloves

High Visibility Reflective Clothing

The final and most important piece of personal protection equipment forklift operators should wear is high visibility reflective clothing. Wearing high visibility clothing provides several safety benefits to operators and those working in the vicinity including:

  • Operators can be easily seen and identified when they are regularly getting in and out of a forklift
  • For operators who work at night in reduced visibility they can be clearly seen in the dark
  • Workers in the vicinity can be clearly seen in amongst pallets and loads on the warehouse floor by forklift operators reducing collisions and accidents

It is imperative that high visibility clothing is the correct size, clothing that is to loose can become a safety hazard as it can snag on controllers or get caught in cabin doors.

Clothing that is to tight is not comfortable and impractical for employee to wear thus increasing the chances they will not wear the correct PPE due to discomfort.

Wearing incorrect or no PPE at all can lead to serious injuries or even fatalities in the workplace, wearing the correct personal protective equipment will ensure forklift operators and other employees are always safe whilst working.

To speak to one our safety experts about any safety concerns you have or for further information on how Adaptalift’s ForkTrack advanced safety and telemetry system can benefit your fleet and operators contact us on 13 22 54 or email info@aalhyster.com.au