Contractors – Forklift Safety Newsletter – September 2015

Contractors Using Your Forklifts? Four Things to Consider

It’s not uncommon for contractors to use the host company’s forklifts. But is this a good practice? Before you decide answer these four questions.

1. Will the contractor be using the equipment in areas where your employees will be working?

We all know that the activities of one crew can pose hazards for others. If they are working together, does the Contractors 1contractor follow the same forklift rules of the road that your employees follow? If not, there could be a greater chance of a mishap. It is the host employer’s responsibility to verify that the contractor’s employees are trained to your location’s policies before they are permitted to operate your forklifts.

2. Are the contractors’ employees trained to operate your specific type of forklifts?

Employees are required to be trained and certified on the type of forklifts they will operate in the workplace. So, an employee who is trained to operate a sit-down counterbalanced lift truck may be an accident waiting to happen if they are asked to operate a telehandler.

Even two models of forklifts which appear to be very similar may have important differences which, if ignored, can result in accidents. A best practice is to provide a brief orientation session for the operators on the exact type of forklift they will be using.

3. Who is responsible to train the contractors’ employees?

Simply put, the contractor. But since there can be important differences in each employer’s policies and procedures, the host employer should provide the contractor with site-specific information on hazards, speed limits, operating surfaces, stacking guidelines, refueling procedures, and any other information which is not common to all types of forklifts.

4. What does your insurance policy cover?

Check with your insurance carrier to see what they will and will not cover. Your carrier may be able to extend your policy to cover contractors, but don’t assume that they are currently covered.

If your program addresses each of these items, congratulations. If your location doesn’t have a written program, we’d be glad to send you one. Just send an email to


If you would like to share your experiences/photos of forklift incidents that can educate others on the principles of safe forklift operation please send them to:

We will not publish company or individuals names.

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Bruce Hulberg February 9, 2016

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