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The typical forklift a is a highly versatile machine that can lift loads of many different sizes, weights, and shapes. But there are some loads that are just too long, too bulky, or too oddly shaped to pick up safely.
Fork extensions are attachments that fit on either existing forks or directly to the mast and extend the vehicle’s reach, making it able to pick up loads that can’t be normally be handled by the forklift.
Oversized Loads Require Forklift Extensions
One of the most common uses for forklift extensions is to lift longer loads, such as non-standard sized pallets, rectangular crates, or oversized equipment. Using a regular forklift to lift these types of loads wouldn’t just be difficult, it would also be unsafe.
Lifting an oddly-shaped load can cause it to become imbalanced, increasing the likelihood of accidentally dropping the load. Or it can cause the forklift to tip over. Both put the operator and any nearby pedestrians at risk.
But fork extensions can fit completely under longer loads, providing adequate stability and enabling the load to be lifted and moved safely.
Delicate or Specialized Loads
Another use of fork extensions is to lift delicate materials, such as cloth or carpeting. They also are frequently used to lift rolled materials, including steel, and heavier payloads.
Furniture, pianos, carpet rolls, and other unusually shaped items that can’t be moved easily with a standard forklift can be handled safely with fork extensions.
Fork extensions also can speed up operations in some instances. For example, it can take two trips to move two pallets from one place to another. But in some cases, fork extensions let operators move two pallets simultaneously, cutting travel time in half and doubling productivity.
Forklift Extension Size Requirements
The US Occupational Safety and Health Administration limits forklift extensions to no more than one half the size of the standard fork used on that particular type of forklift. So if your forklift is designed to normally use a 48-inch fork, you are allowed to use forklift extensions up to 24 inches long, or fork extensions with a total length of 72 inches.
Forklift operators also must be properly trained on the safe use of fork extensions. Because they extend the length of the vehicle, care must be taken while driving to account for a wider turn radius.
Fork extensions can extend the usefulness of your forklifts. But only if they are used safely.