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Forklift work platform attachments offer a convenient and safe way for workers to reach high places … but only if they are used properly and have the right safety equipment.
Falls from high places are one of the most common types of workplace accidents, resulting in dozens of severe injuries and even deaths. Many involve the improper or unsafe use of a forklift work platform attachment.
Using Work Platform Attachments Properly
Most work platform forklift attachments feature a number of safety features that are designed to prevent workers from falling off.
Depending on the model you use, the platform on which workers stand is typically surrounded by iron grab bars, fencing, or simply chains.
The attachment itself slides onto the lift truck’s forks and is usually held in place with a lockable peg or some other type of safety latch. This helps prevent the attachment from sliding off the forklift’s forks should the vehicle’s mast pitch forward.
Keeping Stationary While Working
When the work platform forklift attachment is holding workers and is extended at a height, the forklift should never be moved. Instead, the operator should place the vehicle in park with the parking brake engaged.
It’s also a terrible idea to use the work platform forklift attachment while the vehicle is parked on an incline, ramp, or another uneven surface.
Inspecting Safety Equipment
Like any other type of workplace equipment, lift platforms should be checked regularly for damage, flaws, or wear. It’s a good idea to inspect a lift platform prior to every use.
Even though most work platform forklift attachments are made of steel or some other durable material, they can easily become damaged through collision, accident, or even just as a result of aging. It’s better to take the time to double check to make sure they are in working order than take a chance on one failing.
Some jurisdictions require the use of anti-fall harnesses anytime workers are elevated to a height. These are form-fitting personal safety equipment that is tethered to the lift platform in order to catch the worker should he or she slip and fall while working.
It’s also a good idea never to exit the work platform while it is extended upwards, even if the job you need to perform is just out of reach. A better plan is to descend the platform to the ground, move the forklift into a better position, then re-elevate the work platform.