Forklift Operator Manuals – Forklift Safety Newsletter – February 2014

Why read the forklift operator manuals?

forklift operator manuals 1Forklift operator manuals are one of the most important training tools available to forklift operators. Why? Because it contains vital information on the safe operation of the forklift and for the prevention of damage to the forklift.

Although OSHA regulations don’t specifically require that an operator manual be located on the forklift they are often found in a compartment on the back side of the seat. It is a best practice to have them readily available for use by the operator. When a yellow light suddenly appears on the dash the operator may need to refer to the manual to identify what the symbol means. Continuing to operate the forklift with the light on might damage the engine.

With continuing advancements in electronics and mechanics the operator manual provides information on such things as the operator controls/gauges, operating procedures, inspection procedures, etc. If the forklift operator doesn’t understand how such things as the Monotrol pedal or automatic transmission functions, for example, the operator is more likely to damage to the forklift.

In addition, OSHA requires training operators on “Any other operating instructions, warnings, or precautions listed in the operator’s manual for the types of vehicle that the employee is being trained to operate”. Without the use of the operator manual this would be difficult to comply with.

Companies invest a considerable amount of money on forklifts with the expectation that forklift operators will take care of them. To help them meet that expectation and to reduce the potential for accidents it is imperative that forklift operators are trained on the contents of the operator manual.


  • Ensure operator manuals are readily available.
  • Use the operator manual during your forklift training.

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 10, 2016
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