Forklift Disease Prevention Tips

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Unlike may duties throughout a facility, forklift operators almost certainly share their vehicles with other employees on shift or with those associates on other shifts. For this reason, it is especially important for operators to take the time, not only to do a thorough inspection of the vehicle, but a thorough cleaning and disinfecting of the vehicle prior to its use.

There are many common touch points on every type of powered industrial vehicle. By cleaning and disinfecting with emphasis on those areas, you dramatically reduce the transmission of infectious diseases carried by virus' and bacteria among yourself and coworkers.

Here is what you will need:

  • Nitrile gloves
  • Face mask/cloth face covering
  • Clean safety glasses
  • Hand sanitizer, sanitizer/disinfectant and/or alcohol wipes (follow CDC and EPA guidance on cleaning supplies)

With Proper PPE and Disinfecting Supplies:

  • Wipe down and sanitize the forklift truck, work area, and work tools before starting work
  • Know and pay special attention to the high touch points on the truck
    • Grab bars and rear overhead guard handle
    • Steering wheel, joy stick, horn button, and control handle
    • Switches for lights, other functions and control knobs
    • Forward, Reverse, Lift, Lower, Sideshift, Pusher and other controls
    • Seat, seat belt, seat rails and armrest
    • Ignition key, if equipped 
  • Covers, handles and latches (including fork latches and forks)
  • Top & rails of the overhead guard
  • Battery connectors where operators must touch cables/connectors to change or connect
  • Floor mats and other truck access points
  • LP tank, LP tank connections/latches, fuel caps, and dip sticks
  • Don't Forget:
    • Communication radios
    • Keyboards, PIN pads, and Operator Interface Display
    • Touch screens or other auxiliary devices
    • Plexiglass shields

Taking the time before you use a forklift or similar powered industrial truck to clean it as well as doing the pre-use inspection of all the key components will ensure you go home in the same condition as you arrived for work today as well as keep you and your coworkers safe.

(some points courtesy of Hyster)


This toolbox topic was reviewed by ______________________________________ on ___________________________ with the following employees: