My forklift

by Jeroen Witsenboer - www.witsenboeradvies.nl
(Groningen, Netherlands)

Forklift
A mobile industrial power-driven vehicle used to
• Carry
• Push
• Pull
• Lift
• Stack
• Tier
If using front-end attachments (other than the manufacturers’), the truck must be marked identifying the attachment listing the approximate combined weight of the truck and attachment at maximum elevation with a centered load.
The lift truck is based on the principle of two weights balanced on opposite sides of a pivot - fulcrum point.
So, always think about the stability of the forklift.

Driving with an unstable load is prohibited
If the load is not well placed on a pallet and the charge can easily falling off the pallet, then we speak of an unstable load. An unstable load may never picked up and transported. If we take an unstable load, then there is a danger for the driver and surroundings.
For this principle of stability to work, the load of the forks must be balanced by the weight of the lift truck. The properly loaded lift truck does not exceed the rated capacity of the truck listed on the data plate.
When the forklift picks up a load, the truck and load have a new combined CG (the center of gravity (CG) of any object which is balanced in all directions) The stability of the lift truck is determined by the location of its CG, or if the truck is loaded, the combined CG that stay within the stability triangle.
If the CG moves forward of the drive axle, the truck will tip forward.
If the CG moves outside of the lines to the side, the lift truck will tip to the side.

The overall stability of the loaded truck is affected by a number of factors including: size, weight, shape, position of the load, also height to which the load is elevated the amount of forward or backward tilt tire pressure and the dynamic forces created when the truck is moving

These dynamic forces are caused by: acceleration, braking, operating on uneven surfaces, operating on an incline/ramp, turning

These factors must be considered when traveling with an unloaded truck because an unloaded truck will tip over to the side easier than a properly loaded truck.
And remember that OVERTURN is the leading cause of death to forklift operators.
Most vertical mast forklifts are equipped with FOPS (Falling Object Protective Structure) as well that can protect you from different “stuff” falling from your load: small boxes, containers, bagged material, drums that can injure the truck driver or make his work difficult.

Some rules for picking Up A Load
• Ensure the load does not exceed the forklift’s capacity.
• Ensure forks are positioned properly.
• Ensure the load is balanced and secure.
• Ensure bottom of the load is raised to the proper traveling height.
• Drive as far into the load as possible. Slightly tilt back and lift. Before backing up, check behind and on both sides for pedestrians or other traffic. Back, stop, and lower load 2-6 inches from the floor.

Some rules for traveling with A Load
• The operator and pedestrians must communicate!
• No riders/passengers! Only when a truck has a second seat u can transport another person.
• Travel at walking speed.
• All traffic regulations must be met, including plant speed limits.
• Maintain at least 3 truck lengths.
• Be aware of the traveling surface and keep the load slightly off grade.
• Avoid sudden braking. When u step on the brakes it must be done evenly. If u suddenly step on the brake u may create a dangerous situation. The load can slide of the fork, or traffic behind the truck can cause a collision. The truck can also tipping forwardly.
• Turn in a sweeping motion.
• Keep the load slightly tilted back.
• Sound horn when approaching corners and blind areas.
• Lift and lower the load only when stopped.
• Drive up and back down inclines and ramps.

Some rules of Placing & Stacking A Load
• Completely stop before raising a load.
• Never walk, stand, or allow anyone to pass under a raised load.
• Move slowly after raising the load.
• Tilt forward, level only when over a stack or rack.
• Always stack the load square and straight.
• Make sure forks have cleared the pallet when backing out and before turning or changing height.
• Before backing up, check behind and on both sides for pedestrians or other traffic.
• When handling off center loads - Be Cautious!
• The load must always be put down carefully. The driver has to train this skill, it reduces the opportunity of accidents. The chance of damaging the load is reduced as well.

More Safe Operations
• Only loads within the rated capacity must be handled
• Trucks equipped with attachments must be operated as partially loaded trucks even when unloaded
• Avoid running over loose objects
• Under all travel conditions, the truck must be operated at a speed that will permit it to be brought to a stop in a safe manner
• No horseplay or stunts If the load is high obstructing forward view - drive in reverse
• Cross railroad tracks diagonally
• Never park closer than eight feet from tracks.
• Right of way must be given to emergency vehicles.
• Keep arms & legs from the mast and within the running lines of the truck.
• Wear proper work shoes
Wearing good work shoes (preferably safety shoes) gives the feet protection. If something should fall on your feet than u are much better protected. Good footwear is also necessary to operate the pedals of the truck.
• Never drive up to someone standing next to a fixed object.
When u pick up and put away a load, u must pay attention to bystanders. It is forbidden to be under or near the load. The driver must, if this happens, dismiss the bystanders immediately. When the bystanders reject to leave, then the driver must stop his work.
• Powered hand trucks must enter enclosed areas load end forward
• Never pass another truck traveling in the same direction at blind corners, intersections, or other dangerous areas

When leaving the truck the handbrake must always be used. The fork or load should be as low as possible. If this is possible, put the row selector in neutral.
When truck is left unattended:
• Lower forks
• Neutralize controls
• Shut off
• Set brakes

Some rules for Lifting People
• Work platform equipped with fall protection and firmly secured to the carriage or forks
• Falling object protection
• Operator must attend lift truck while workers are on it and be in normal operating position when raising & lowering platform
• A guard must be provided between workers and mast

Never allow an unauthorized person to drive the truck
Only trained and authorized operators shall be permitted to operate a powered industrial truck.
Each powered industrial truck operator must be competent to operate a powered industrial truck safely. What is your definition of competent?

Trainees may operate a powered industrial truck only under the direct supervision of persons who have the knowledge training experience to train operators and evaluate their competence.

Operator training must consist of a combination of:
1. Formal
2. Practical
3. Evaluation of performance in the workplace


Sometimes you need Retrain when:
• The operator has been observed to operate the vehicle in an unsafe manner
• The operator has been involved in an accident or near-miss incident
• The operator has received an evaluation that reveals he/she is not operating the truck safely
• The operator is assigned to operate a different type of truck a condition in the workplace changes in a manner that could affect safe operation of the truck

An evaluation of the performance of each powered industrial truck operator must be conducted at least once every three years. Where? Why? How?


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