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As anyone who has worked with forklifts knows, a forklift is one of the most versatile machines ever made. You can add a variety of attachments that have specifically been designed for the lift to change its ability to handle different types of loads.
It is essential that the use of the variety of attachments available for forklifts be used safely. So, here are some tips to consider when exchanging attachments.
Safety issues to consider when you’re using a variety of forklift attachments include:
• Is the attachment compatible with the forklift?
• Is the attachment fit for purpose?
• Can the attachment be safely attached to the forklift?
• Is the forklift operator trained in using the attachment properly?
Is The Attachment Compatible With The Forklift?
Anyone who uses various attachments on a specific forklift should be aware that the attachment reduces the lift’s capacity and requires the manufacturer to re-rate the lift. This requires that the manufacturer supply a new rating plate stating the safe lift capacity of the forklift with the new attachment.
As a result, it is essential for a forklift operator to check the load that is to be lifted with the new attachment to assure it is within the revised safe lift capacity. If the load is heavier than the safe lift limit, then it can’t be lifted for safety reasons. This prevents the potential of an accident that could result in serious injury to the lift’s operator as well as damage to the products the lift is carrying.
Is The Attachment Fit For Purpose?
Forklift attachments are designed and manufactured to perform specific tasks. Attempting to use a forklift attachment for a job it isn’t specifically designed for puts the forklift operator and employees who work nearby in danger of serious injury. This is what is meant when an attachment is fit for purpose.
For example, let’s say that the purpose of the attachment is to lift an employee to a certain height so that he can reach a product. An attachment needed to perform this is a man-up safety cage. Improvising so that an employee stands on the tines of the forklift or on a pallet or open box can result in serious injury and even possible death.
Can The Attachment Be Safely Attached To The Forklift?
It is essential that you follow the manufacturer’s or supplier’s instructions when installing an attachment on to the tines or carriage of a forklift. The attachment should be fastened securely before any attempt to lift a load. In addition, the connection should be checked to assure that the attachment remains secure. Repeatedly lifting heavy loads can cause the connection to loosen.
When installing the attachment, be certain that it doesn’t interfere with the operation of the forklift mast, including the chains. If you’re using a hydraulically controlled attachment, check the levels of the hydraulic oil as well as connections from the forklift to the attachment to ensure it is safe and secure.
Is The Operator Trained On How To Properly Use The Attachment?
Besides checking an attachment frequently to ensure it is safe and secure, it is also essential that the forklift operator be fully trained in the safe use of the attachment.
The operator should be aware that the addition of an attachment could significantly change the behavior of a forklift as it is being used. A qualified and trained operator should be able to safely operate the forklift and should be aware on how to respond to changes in the behavior of the attachment and lift. He should be prepared to respond appropriately in a safe and efficient manner to prevent the risk of injury or accidents.