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Forklifts are powerful industrial vehicles commonly used in warehouses and construction sites. Ensuring the safety of operators and maintenance personnel when working on or around forklifts is of utmost importance.

This is where the Lockout Tagout (LOTO) procedure comes into play. In this informative blog, we will explore the essential steps involved in the lockout tagout procedure for forklifts, as well as common mistakes to avoid. By following the correct LOTO protocol, you can effectively prevent accidental startups, release of stored energy, and potential injuries.

Before we dive into the details, it’s important to note that CFE Equipment, a trusted provider of forklifts and material handling solutions, offers expert guidance and equipment for lockout tagout procedures. Let’s proceed with understanding the proper process and best practices for locking out and tagging out a forklift.

Why lockout tagout is important for forklifts

When it comes to industrial equipment, it’s important to take the necessary precautions to ensure that everyone remains safe. One such precaution is known as lockout tagout (LOTO). LOTO is a safety procedure that’s used to prevent injuries and fatalities while working on machinery.

There are many reasons why lockout tagout is important, but here are three of the most important:

1. Lockout tagout protects workers from injuries:

When workers are properly trained in lockout tagout procedures, they can prevent injuries by ensuring that machinery is properly shut down and locked out before working on it. Without these procedures in place, workers may be tempted to take shortcuts, which can lead to serious accidents.

2. Lockout tagout protects equipment from damage:

If workers aren’t properly trained in lockout tagout procedures, they may damage equipment while working on it. This damage can lead to costly repairs or even replacement of the equipment.

3. Lockout tagout protects companies from liability:

Workers may be held responsible for injuries sustained while operating machinery. The importance of lockout tagout procedures in companies cannot be overstated. By ensuring that workers are properly trained in these procedures, companies can protect themselves from liability.

Lockout tagout is an important safety procedure that every company should have in place. By taking the time to train workers in these procedures, companies can protect their workers, their equipment, and themselves from liability.

How to properly lockout tagout a forklift

Most people are aware that lockout/tagout (LOTO) procedures are important for preventing injuries while working on machinery. However, not everyone knows how to properly lockout tagout a forklift. In this blog post, we’ll go over the proper procedures for lockout/tagout, as well as some common mistakes people make.

The first step in lockout/tagout is to identify all energy sources that could potentially be hazardous. For a forklift, this could include the battery, diesel engine, hydraulic system, and any other components that could store energy. Once all of the energy sources have been identified, they need to be isolated. It is possible to disable the vehicle by disconnecting the battery, removing the key, and turning off the power.

The next step is to apply the lockout devices. This is where many people make mistakes, as they don’t apply the devices correctly or they don’t use the proper devices for the job. The lockout devices should be applied to all energy sources, and they should be able to withstand the maximum amount of energy that the system can produce.

Once the lockout devices are in place, the machine can be serviced or repaired. It’s important to make sure that all employees who will be working on the machine are aware of the lockout/tagout procedures. They should also know how to properly remove the lockout devices when the job is finished.

Common mistakes that are made during lockout/tagout procedures include not isolating all energy sources, not using the proper lockout devices, and not training all employees on the procedures. By following the proper procedures and using the right devices, you can help prevent accidents and injuries in your workplace.

Procedure for Lockout Tagout a Forklift:


  • Identify the forklift to be locked out and ensure proper training and authorization.
  • Gather the necessary lockout devices, tags, and personal protective equipment (PPE).


  • Notify all affected personnel about the planned lockout tagout procedure.
  • Clearly communicate the reasons and duration of the lockout.


  • Park the forklift in a safe location and turn off the ignition.
  • Remove the key and activate the parking brake.


  • Identify and locate all energy sources that need to be isolated.
  • Follow manufacturer guidelines to disconnect power sources, such as batteries or fuel lines.
  • Securely lockout and tagout each energy source using appropriate devices.


  • By starting the forklift, make sure all sources of energy are effectively isolated.
  • Test controls and switches to confirm the lack of power supply.

        Maintenance or Repair:

  • Proceed with the necessary maintenance or repair tasks while adhering to safety protocols.
  • Keep the forklift immobilized and clearly marked with appropriate tags.

Best practices for forklift lockout tagout

When it comes to lockout tagout, there are a few best practices that can help ensure the safety of your employees and equipment. Here are two of the best practices for forklift lockout tagout:

1. Establish a clear and concise procedure for locking out and tagging out a forklift:

Make sure that all employees who operate forklifts are aware of the procedure for locking out and tagging out the equipment. The procedure should be clearly written and easy to follow. As well as ensuring that it is still being followed correctly, it should be reviewed periodically.

2. Inspect the forklift before beginning any work on it:

Before beginning any work on a forklift, it is important to inspect the equipment to ensure that it is in good working condition. This includes checking for any damage that could potentially cause an accident. A forklift that has undergone any damage should be taken out of service until it can be repaired.

Common Mistakes to Avoid:

        Inadequate Training:

  • Lack of proper training on the lockout tagout procedure can lead to mistakes and accidents.
  • Ensure that all personnel involved receive thorough training on the LOTO process for forklifts.

        Failure to Identify Energy Sources:

  • Neglecting to identify all energy sources can result in incomplete isolation and potential hazards.
  • Identification of electrical, hydraulic, and other energy sources must be done thoroughly.

        Insufficient Communication:

  • Ineffective communication about the lockout tagout procedure can lead to misunderstandings and risks.
  • Clearly communicate the details of the lockout to all affected personnel and provide necessary updates.


Implementing a robust lockout tagout procedure is crucial for ensuring the safety of operators and maintenance personnel when working with forklifts. By following the step-by-step process outlined above, you can effectively isolate energy sources and minimize the risk of accidents and injuries.

Remember, CFE Equipment is a reliable resource for expert guidance and equipment related to lockout tagout procedures for forklifts. Prioritize safety, invest in proper training, and always adhere to best practices to create a secure work environment. Stay cautious, follow the correct lockout tagout procedure, and ensure the well-being of everyone involved in forklift operations.

Note: This blog provides general information about lockout tagout procedures for forklifts. It is important to consult relevant guidelines, standards, and seek professional advice for specific requirements and compliance. Visit CFE Equipment website for further assistance and access to reliable forklifts and material handling solutions.

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