Forklift Attachment Safety

When forklift operators are familiar with forklift attachment safety and the different types of common forklift attachments and their uses, they are better equipped to understand what attachment capabilities are and which ones are best suited for their company’s applications.  Training is essential.  While operators may be trained to drive and operate a normal forklift, proper training is also necessary for the attachment they will be operating.  Without forklift attachments, moving certain loads within a workplace would be impossible.  But too many people are under the misconception that forklift attachments are only used for unique tasks or objects when in fact forklift attachments are available to suit nearly any job, making it faster, safer and less hassle.


Normally, a forklift has two tynes moving vertically, carrying pallets or loads from one point to another.  But a forklift has the potential of being so much more, especially with the wide variety of hydraulic and non-hydraulic attachments available in the market today.  With so many choices, a forklift can accomplish countless tasks many operators never even thought possible.  Forklift attachments enable operators to decrease the time it takes to move a load, a company’s manpower, employee hours operating a forklift, the number of employees, the chance of damaging its stock and fuel consumption.


Understanding that load capacity will be reduced and that the center of gravity will be affected, making it less stable than it would be without the attachment, is central to forklift attachment safety.  Therefore, it becomes necessary to drive the forklift as if it were partially loaded before picking up a load.  When you use a forklift attachment, you are putting weight in front of the fulcrum point (the support or point where a lever pivots).  This changes everything.


The best practice when driving a truck with an attachment is to travel at a slow speed, making turns gently and slowly.  Refer to the forklift’s data plate for the truck’s capacity for the attachment you are fitting.  Before fitting any forklift attachments, be sure your employer provides you with the required training to make you competent in fitting, operating and removing such attachments.  As a general rule there are three things to keep in mind before installing an attachment to a forklift.  First, the attachment should suit the truck you are fitting it to and be suitable for the types of loads you are lifting.  Second, the attachment must be properly attached to the forklift by using a suitable locking device.  Third, if the data plate on the truck does not allow for the use of the attachment, it should not be used and considered unsafe.


Only through industry recognized training can forklift operators correctly and safely operate forklifts and forklift attachments.  Such training gives operators the knowledge necessary for understanding a forklift’s normal load capabilities and it’s capabilities after a forklift attachment is installed.  All forklifts are not the same and operators must have training for the specific forklift and forklift attachments they have been hired to use.  Forklift attachments add weight to a forklift and change its center of gravity.  Traveling at slower speeds, making slower and gentler turns are good safety practices.

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