Forklift Attachment Safety FAQs

Forklift attachment safety is an important subject to us at In fact, judging from the number of blogs we’ve written on the subject, you could almost say it was an obsession. It’s not just us, though. Our parent company, Bahrns Equipment, has been getting questions about forklift attachment safety for over 40 years. These are some of the most frequently asked questions:

What are forklift speed limits?

OSHA does not set general forklift speed limits. Instead, they recommend safe speed limits depending on the circumstances in the working environment and the stopping distance of the forklift. Some regulations that do apply to safe speeds include:

  • All set traffic regulations, including plant speed limits, must be observed.
  • The forklift operator must slow down and sound their horn at cross aisles and other areas where vision is obstructed.
  • Grades must be ascended and descended slowly.
  • Under all conditions, forklifts must be operated at speeds that allow them to be brought safely to a stop.
  • Forklift operators are required to slow down on wet and slippery floors.
  • When turning, the forklift must be slowed down and the steering wheel turned in a smooth motion. With the exception of very slow speeds, the wheel must always be turned at a moderate, even rate.

These regulations also apply to forklifts in operation with forklift attachments. The same speed that is safe with a normal pallet load of goods or materials may not be safe when using a forklift attachment.

Are there OSHA regulations preventing using fork tips for pushing heavy loads?

While there are no specific regulations, if the load is not safely arranged and stable, the operator could be in violation of a couple of important OSHA safety regulations that require safe loads and/or operator training for “any operating instructions, warnings, or precautions listed in the operator’s manual.” We might add that purchasing polyethylene fork blade protectors will help prevent damaging safe loads that are pushed with forklift tips.

Are there any OSHA regulations regarding front-end forklift attachments?

This is an important question and is answered in an earlier blog, OSHA Forklift Attachments Regulations. In a nutshell, the answer is “Yes.” Check out the blog for further information. At the bottom of the article is a link to a specific page at the OSHA site that goes into forklift attachments in detail.

How can I get approval for a modification/forklift attachment if the forklift manufacturer is no longer in business?

As we also mentioned in the article cited in the above FAQ, forklift attachments that may affect the vehicle’s performance must have manufacturer approval. If the manufacturer is out of business or for some other reason unable to give that approval, approval can be obtained from a registered engineer.

Are forklift work platforms considered aerial lifts by OSHA?

Forklift work platforms are not considered to be aerial lifts by OSHA, but they are considered forklift attachments that affect the vehicle’s functionality and performance. For this reason, manufacturer approval must be received before using forklift work platforms. In addition, all suitable fall protection measures must be taken.

Forklift attachments and accessories greatly enhance the usefulness of forklifts. To find out how, read Forklift Usefulness Extended with Forklift Accessories in the Resources pages of our main site. You’ll find a number of helpful links on our Resources pages, so bookmark the page, because we’re adding more all the time.

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