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Safety Signs and Their Importance in the Workplace

July 25, 2017

Safety Signs and Their Importance in the Workplace

As well as a selling a huge variety of trucks and trolleys, we also sell safety signs for your workplace. Many people roll their eyes at the mention of health and safety, and complain that there are often too many signs telling us to do one thing or another, and it can get confusing.

But to comply with the law, workplaces have to display safety signs to protect staff, visitors, and the general public.

The law

The law which governs safety signage is the Health and Safety (Safety Signs and Signals) Regulations 1996. The regulations state that:

Employers must provide safety signs if there is a significant risk that can’t be avoided or controlled in any other way, such as through safe systems of work or engineering controls.

There is no need to provide safety signs if they don’t help reduce the risk or if the risk isn’t significant. This applies to all places and activities where people are employed.

Employers must, where necessary:

use road traffic signs in workplaces to regulate road traffic

maintain the safety signs they provide

explain unfamiliar signs to their employees and tell them what they need to do when they see safety signs

Why safety signs?

Displaying safety signs will help to make employees and visitor aware of potential hazards, so they are likely to take more care and they are less likely to be harmed, which means that investing in safety signage can make good financial sense too. If people take more care in areas where there are potential hazards, the potential for accidents and injuries, and the resulting lawsuits is reduced.

Forklift truck safety

Many workplaces use forklifts as an efficient way of moving heavy loads around. They do a great job, but they can also be a hazard, and even if you’re used to using them, there’s no room for complacency.

All employees should be trained to use forklifts safely and refresher training should be given regularly.

The importance of inspections

Forklifts are designed to be durable and hardy pieces of machinery, but they are still prone to damage. They should be inspected visually at the start of each shift, then their operation should be checked, and a supervisor should be alerted to any observed faults or wear and tear.

Inspection checklist

  • Check that the floor is clear of obstructions and that there are no obstructions overhead.
  • Check the engine oil level, fuel level, and the radiator water level if you have an LPG, gas, or diesel forklift.
  • Check that the battery is fully charged.
  • Check the cables for exposed wires.
  • Check the bolts, nuts, guards, and chains; make sure they are not loose or damaged.
  • Check that the wheels and tires are not worn or damaged.
  • Check the air pressure of pneumatic tires.
  • Make sure that the forks aren’t bent or cracked.
  • Check the brakes, the clutch and the gear shift are working optimally.
  • Check the control panel, are all lights and gauges working?
  • Does the steering work properly?
  • Does the lift mechanism work properly?
  • Does the tilt mechanism work properly?

Operating a forklift

No one except a trained forklift operator should ride or operate a forklift.

When you are operating a forklift, your hands, arms, head, feet, and legs should be inside of it. Keep the forks as close as possible to the floor and slightly tilt them back.

Take notice of all safety signage

Slow down when you have to turn a corner, and avoid sudden stops

If the load you are carrying blocks your vision, move slowly in reverse. Look in the direction of travel and watch out for wet spots, obstructions, and people

Know the blind spots of the truck whether you are carrying a load or not

Always stop the truck if there is a person crossing your route

If you are travelling on an incline

Point the forks down if you aren’t carrying a load, and up if you are carrying a load. Don’t turn the truck until you are on level ground.

Steering a forklift truck

Support the load you’re carrying with the front wheels, and turn with the back wheels. If you are moving fast, don’t steer sharply. Don’t overload the truck either, as this will impact on the steering.

Loading a forklift truck

Always know the maximum capacity of the forklift and don’t exceed it.

Keep the load close to the front wheels to keep the truck stable.

When inserting the fork, keep the truck in an upright position before inserting the fork into a pallet.

Lifting a load

Do not raise or lower the fork unless the truck is stopped and the brake is secure. Don’t lift loads that extend above the backrest of the truck if there’s a chance that the load could slide back towards the truck operator.

Check there is adequate room overhead before lifting a load. Lift the load up, then slightly tilt back. When you lift a load, the truck is less stable. The operator should stay on the truck when a load is being lifted. Nobody should stand or walk under the elevated part of the truck regardless of whether it is loaded.

Handling pallets

Make sure that the forks are level and that they can fit all the way underneath the load and that the forks are level so the weight is safely and evenly distributed.


Park the truck in an appropriate area, and anytime you leave the truck unattended, secure the brakes, lower the forks and any load to the floor, put the truck in neutral and turn off the motor.

When using a forklift, be alert and always report any damage or potential hazards to a supervisor or manager.