Best Ergonomic Tips for Forklift Operators

Forklifts reduce many risks of working in the material handling industry, but they can also introduce new ergonomic problems. The result may include increased operator strain and reduced efficiency. Simply by making your forklift drivers more comfortable, you can improve the working environment, reduce the risk of physical injury, and boost productivity.


Ergonomic Risk Factors for Forklift Drivers

Workers in the material handling industry are exposed to several ergonomic challenges, such as prolonged sitting, repetitive movements, excessive reaching, and vehicle vibrations. As a result, these workers develop more musculoskeletal problems than the average employee. The outcomes may include long-term pain and discomfort and ultimately more sick days and worker’s compensation claims.

15 Ergonomic Tips for Forklift Operators

It is the employer’s responsibility to identify and reduce employee health risks. Providing ergonomic forklifts designed for the intended task and increasing training on forklift ergonomics should improve workplace safety and comfort. Here are the top 15 tips to try.

Improve Vision

1.     Reduce the need for the driver to twist by providing mirrors, cameras, sensors, and a rotating seat.
2.     Improve visibility for the operator and those around the forklift by using headlights, directional lights, flashing warning lights, and blue safety lights.

Address Posture

3.     Choose seated forklifts rather than standing riders whenever possible. Make sure the seat and backrest are adjustable so the driver can set their preferences.
4.     Choose forklifts with tilting cabs to reduce neck and shoulder strain when lifting high loads.
5.     Look for forklifts with armrests and headrests to reduce strain.
6.     Train forklift operators to sit with an ergonomic posture that allows them to reach all controls while supporting their legs and lower back.
7.     Remind drivers to remove objects from their back pockets that could cause their spine to twist when seated.

Promote Smooth Vehicle Movement


8.     Enforce forklift speed restrictions in your facility and install speed limiters, if necessary.
9.     Use forklifts with air-ride suspension systems to dampen vibrations and reduce muscle fatigue.
10.  Repair damaged floors and ramps to limit driver jostling.

Reduce Strain & Injury

11.  Supply low step-in forklifts to make getting on and off the vehicle less tiring.
12.  Supply electric tow vehicles to reduce the effort of pulling loads.
13.  Train operators to maintain three points of contact when entering and exiting a forklift to increase stability and reduce slips and falls.
14.  Rotate tasks among certified forklift operators to reduce repeated movements that could cause repetitive strain injuries.
15.  Allow short breaks every hour. Encourage drivers to stretch their neck, shoulders, back, and forearms before and after each shift.


Ring Power Lift Trucks serves the Sunshine State with over 60 years of experience. We sell new and used forklifts and offer short- and long-term forklift rentals throughout Florida. Not only can we help you choose the best ergonomic forklifts for the job, but we can also serve as your parts and service partner for years to come. To find out more about our forklift rentals, sales, and services, please contact us at 877-544-5438.



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