Mounting and Dismounting Forklifts – Safety Newsletter – June 2014

Forklift Safety: Mounting and Dismounting Forklifts.

You might wonder why anyone would write a forklift safety article on something as basic as mounting and dismounting forklifts. Does this really pose a hazard?

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Forklift with steps.

The answer is yes, and the hazard is worse when operators are mounting and dismounting many times during their shift. Ankle, foot, and knee injuries often occur when climbing in and out of forklifts, particularly when those ankle, feet, and knees are not as young as they once were. Other common injuries include strained backs and shoulders. Unprotected heads often strike overhead guards.

Given a large forklift (like the Kalmar on the right), the operator’s tendency is to walk straight down the steps like you were descending a staircase. Bad idea! Unlike a staircase there is no handrail and worn/wet steps can cause slips and trips.

Smaller forklifts also pose hazards since most operators tend to jump off and on which can cause ankle/foot injuries.

Mounting and Dismounting Best Practices:

  • Never use the controls or steering wheel as hand holds for entry/exit.

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    Forklift with step and hand grab.

  • Face the machine when mounting/dismounting.
  • Never jump off.
  • Avoid wearing loose clothing which can catch on the controls.
  • Watch where you are stepping and don’t step on objects or into holes.
  • Wear good quality work boots.
  • Use 3 points of contact when mounting/dismounting a forklift (as in the photo). Hand grabs are there for a reason.
  • Ensure steps have effective anti-slip surfaces.
  • Ensure grab handles are secure and in good condition.

Forklift Safety Recommendations:

  • Investigate whether it is possible to reduce the number of times an operator gets up and down from the forklift.
  • Train forklift operators to use three points of contact while mounting/dismounting.

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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