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Using forklifts to lift employees – Safety guidance

Using forklifts to lift employees

Forklifts should only be used to lift employees with the purpose-designed equipment in place, such as fork mounted access platforms and safety cages. These forklift attachments have been specifically designed and tested for lifting people and enabling them to work safely at height.

Lifting people safely and compliantly:

Crane mounted access platform

Telehandler fork mounted wide access platform

Forklift load lifter attachment

Fork mounted folding access platform

Fork mounted high lift access platform

Fork mounted access platform


Carry out a risk assessment and training

Even with the right equipment, using forklifts to lift employees must be undertaken following the proper guidance and safety protocols. Lifting employees for work at height requires planning and a risk assessment must be carried out prior to the activity taking place.

The risk assessment must consider the requirements of LOLER (regulation 5) and the Approved Code of Practice for lifting people. Adequate training and supervision are required for those not familiar with the operation of the equipment and the potential hazards.

Label with the maximum number of people

LOLER requires that any lifting equipment used to lift people, such as the attachments above, must be clearly marked with the maximum number of people it can lift at one time. Lifting too many people at once poses a serious hazard and could result in an accident.

Offsetting hazards through design and testing 

Lifting equipment used by people at work falls within the Supply of Machinery (Safety) Regulations 2008. Under this regulation, lifting equipment designed for people must be safety tested before being placed on the market or first used. Manufacturers, like ourselves, must meet additional health and safety requirements to offset hazards where people are being lifted.


Using forklifts to lift employees – safety measures and features

When designing forklift attachments to lift people, we include a range of additional safety features to ensure people are safe and stable while working at height. Some of the safety features to expect on a fork mounted access platform include:

  • Mesh sides and gates
  • Fixed ladders with handrails
  • Maximum load capacities
  • Automatic locking and unlocking gates
  • Bright orange for visibility and safety
  • Safety harness attachment rings
  • Self-draining non-slip floors

The safety features above set our access platforms up for safety. However, the manager of the department or section where the attachment is going to be used is responsible for ensuring operation is safe and compliant. The exact advice varies per attachment.

Some common advice for using forklift attachments to lift employees:

  • Always make sure the access platforms maximum load is not exceeded.
  • The fork truck handbrake must be applied when elevating and lowering the access platform and when it is in use.
  • The mast must be kept in the vertical position (where applicable).
  • Any heel pins must be correctly inserted, retained and positioned in relation to the heel of the fork prior to each use and every use.
  • Any shackle pins should be adequately tightened prior to every use.
  • The fork truck driver must remain seated and in control whilst the access platform is in use.
  • The driver must ensure a slow, uniform pace is maintained, at ground level, whilst moving and positioning the access platforms.
  • Keep the forklift and platform clear of obstructions.
  • Use safety harnesses and ask personnel to attach themselves to the platform via the harness loop provided.
  • The access platform must not be re-positioned whilst in the elevated position.
  • Keep hands and fingers clear of all moving parts to prevent trapping.

Got a question about any of our forklift access platforms? Contact us on 0113 277 1222 or

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