Use of Seat Belts on Forklift Trucks

The use of seat belts on forklift trucks is vitally important for the safety of the operator. Since 2002, forklift trucks must be fitted with seat belts. This legislation forms part of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER).

Use of Seat Belts on Forklift Trucks

However, there are still drivers not wearing seat belts and some companies are not enforcing the rule as shown by the following recent Wallace Forklift Training London Latest News articles:

The purpose of wearing a seat belt on a forklift truck is different from the road vehicles. For road vehicles, the purpose of the seat belts is to prevent the driver from hitting the steering wheel or being thrown out of the windscreen in case of a collision. For forklift truck, the aim is to keep the operator in the cab in case of it tipping over.

The natural instinct for the operator is to jump if the forklift truck is tipping over. However, this is the worst thing you could do as the heavy forklift will follow you and you are likely to be crushed by it. The safest thing to do is to stay within the confines of the cab if the forklift truck is tipping over.

According to Health and Safety Executive guidance, for older forklift trucks which do not have seat belts, a restraining system should be fitted if the risk assessment indicates that there is a risk of the vehicle overturning and where the operator may be trapped between the truck and the ground. The risk assessment must be done for each task the forklift truck carries out without the restraining system fitted. Where restraining systems are fitted they should be used.

Where a restraining system cannot be fitted, and the risks are sufficiently high, it will be necessary to use another forklift truck which has such a system. Any forklift truck fitted with a roll-over protective structure (ROPS) to protect operators from the risk of injury resulting from 180° or more roll-over should be fitted with a restraining system.

There are certain instances where seat belts are not required. These include:

  • If the forklift truck has a high degree of stability and is unlikely to tip over
  • If the truck has a stand-on operator
  • If the operator sits sideways and gain access from rear only
  • If it has a mast and can only roll through 90o and the features on the forklift truck prevents operator being trapped under it
  • If the forklift truck has an enclosed cab where the doors cannot be removed

Ruth Wallace of Wallace Forklift Training London says “according to Approved Code of Practice L117 for rider operated lift trucks, the operator training must include the importance of using seat restraints and seat belts. Make sure you attend an accredited training provider. Companies should make using seat belts when installed mandatory. Disciplinary action should be taken if an operator is not wearing an installed seat belt ”

Wallace School of Transport including Forklift Training in London is a fully accredited RTITB company with over 60 years’ experience. You can be trained either at your own work site or at Wallace Centre in Park Royal. If you have any questions, call Wallace Forklift Training on 020 8453 3440, choose option 3 or click here to email us.

Scroll to Top