Forklift Bulldozing Never a Good Idea

Bulldozer, not a forklift (Photo via Wikimedia Commons)

Approved forklift accessories can transform your existing lift truck into another type of equipment. A hopper attachment can be used to collect and move materials in a controlled bin from one place to another. A boom attachment lets you lift cabled loads and things other than pallets. A drum attachment or carpet pole lets you lift oddly shaped or unusual loads with maximum efficiency and safety.

While attachments extend the capabilities of your forklift in a designed way, it’s never a good idea to use your forklift in a manner that it was never intended to be used.

For example, forklifts and bulldozers are two different industrial vehicles. So using your forklift as a bulldozer — known as forklift bulldozing — puts undue strain on your vehicle and also can create hazardous conditions that could lead to property damage, worker injury, or even death.

Forklift Bulldozing Defined

Forklift bulldozing is when you use your vehicle to push or move materials along a surface. It can be done either with the forks still attached to the mast or with the forks removed.

While the forklift is a powerful machine with enough force to push relatively heavy loads, that’s not the job it was designed to do. Bulldozers have specialized, powerful engines that are engineered to push heavy loads. They also have bigger tires with extra traction or even treads that can keep their grip even on uneven or hazardous surfaces.

Forklifts don’t have these advantages. So when you try and use your forklift to push loads like a bulldozer, it creates pressures that weren’t anticipated by the designers, which can lead to structural failures, vehicle damage, or even unsafe conditions such as increasing the risk of a tip-over accident.

Forklift Bulldozing Laws

Yet so many forklift owners have tried to use their forklifts as bulldozers over the years that the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration has actually spoken out against the practice, warning forklift owners that forklift bulldozing is unsafe and even potentially illegal.

Forklifts were designed to do a lot of useful things, such as picking up palletized materials safely and efficiently. Using approved forklift attachments, these helpful vehicles can do even more handy tasks around the workplace.

But using forklifts as bulldozers or for other jobs that they were never designed to do is potentially dangers and possibly illegal. Don’t put yourself, your workers, or your business at risk. Avoid forklift bulldozing.

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