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It seems like every other week there’s a news story about somebody stealing a forklift and using it to wreak havoc. Perhaps they lead police on a slow-speed chase. Or maybe they use the lift truck to smash and grab an ATM machine at a bank.
Even if its just teenagers taking a forklift on a joyride, stolen forklifts almost always make the news. And if it’s your forklift, it can lead to embarrassment and damage to your reputation in the community.
Then there’s the time it will take to go to court to testify against the criminal, not to mention the potential damage to the forklift or other property. As the owner of the vehicle, if it is used to cause damage to property and you failed to take reasonable measures to secure your forklift, you could potentially be held liable.
So keeping thieves from targeting your forklifts need to be a top priority. Here are some tips on how to do just that.
Locking Up the Keys
Despite what you see on TV or at the movies, most criminals don’t know how to hot-wire a car, truck, or forklift. Instead, the majority of forklift thefts are crimes of opportunity: Somebody left the keys in the ignition.
To avoid having your forklift taken by unauthorized persons, make it a rule that forklift drivers need to turn in their keys at the end of their shift. And store keys in a locked safe or lockbox when the vehicle is not in use.
Even in busy operations where another driver is taking the vehicle right back out again, it’s good policy to have the keys turned into a lockbox and have the driver sign them in and out before and after every use. That way there is a record of who had the keys last so if a vehicle is stolen, there can be accountability.
Securing the Forklift
Many forklifts that are stolen are found by passersby unsecured and with the keys in the ignition. It would be expecting a lot for an adventurous teenager, curious drunk, or criminal to pass by such an opportunity.
Don’t give thieves the chance to steal your forklift. When the vehicle is not being used lock it up in a garage. If it is being used at a job site, drive it onto a flatbed and secure the drop ramp with chains and padlocks. At the very least, secure the vehicle’s steering wheel with a lock bar.
The more you can do to remove the opportunity for a thief to take your forklift, the more likely they are to move onto an easier target. Most forklift thefts are easily avoidable by taking a few simple measures to protect your property and your business’s reputation.