BITA Warns Against Forklift Modifications

The British Industrial Truck Association (BITA) and the Fork Lift Truck Association (FLTA), groups responsible for regulating forklift use in the United Kingdom, have warned that forklift modifications some companies have offered and widely advertise, are not risk free, can result in consequences concerning health and safety, and void manufacturers’ warranties.

Modification of a forklift without manufacturer’s approval could invalidate the warranty.

Both organizations advocate that the manufacturer of the lift approve all modifications performed on forklift trucks in the UK.

James Clark, secretary-general of BITA, has noted that the standard concerning forklift truck modifications clearly requires that “unauthorized truck modifications are not permitted.”

Both organizations point out that unauthorized modifications or repairs –- even changing tires – could invalidate rental contracts or manufacturers’ warranties leaving users to pay for repairs.

Examples of modifications commonly being offered include mast reductions, drive-in racking modifications and truck head guard modifications.

Some examples of modifications that are of concern to BITA and FLTA include:

· Removal and re-welding of the cab-pillar section as part of a drive in racking modification. It would be difficult to certify the welding and doubtful that the modification would pass an ISO 6055 impact test.
· Fitting a counterbalance forklift truck with extended 15-feet long forks. This could dangerously reduce stability.
· Fork-mounted ‘safe’ access platform modifications that have been advertised as being permitted for routine use.
· Hoists being mounted to overhead guards, reducing strength, impeding operator visibility, and applying loads outside the design limits.

BITA warns that modifications to forklift trucks that are not approved by the manufacturer of the truck can void the warranty and CE marking, making it difficult if not impossible to re-sell the truck.

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