How to Use Work Platform Forklift Attachments Safely

(Photo courtesy of Lombardi Lift)

Work platform forklift attachments are designed to safely allow workers to reach high spaces, such as upper shelves, lighting fixtures, and ceilings. They essentially convert your existing forklift into a cherry picker without requiring the purchase of costly additional vehicles.

Yet despite built-in safety features such as non-skid surfaces and safety gates, work platform forklift attachments can be dangerous to use, especially if they are used improperly or recklessly.

Reaching New Heights

Anytime workers are raised to heights — whether it’s with a work platform forklift attachment, a ladder, or a cherry picker — there’s always the danger of falling. Falls from heights are one of the leading causes of injuries and deaths in the workplace.

So care must be taken when working at heights to prevent falls. The US Occupational Safety and Health Administration requires workers working at tall heights to use personal protective safety equipment, such as harnesses and lanyards that can catch them if they should slip and fall.

But there are other safety measures that should be taken when using any type of heightening equipment.

Load Limits Matter

For example, every lift platform comes with a load limit. Typically, it will be listed on a plate attached to the lift platform itself. If not, check the owner’s manual that came with the equipment or visit the manufacturer’s website online.

The load limit is the maximum weight the platform can support. It includes both personnel and any equipment being lifted with the platform. If you exceed this limit, there is a high risk that the platform could fail.

Even if you are below the load limit, it’s important to be aware that lifting weighted platforms to heights raises the center of gravity of the forklift. Top-heavy forklifts are more likely to tip, especially if the forklift is in motion or if its wheels are turned.

That’s why it’s vitally important not to move the forklift when the lift platform is fully extended with people in it. Instead, move the vehicle where you need it before extending the mast. Take it out of the drive gear, set the wheels so that they face forward, and set the parking brake. This will significantly reduce the risk of a potentially dangerous tip over accident involving the lift platform.

Securing the Platform

It’s also important that the lift platform forklift attachment is secured to the vehicle according to its manufacturer’s recommendations. Typically, platforms have sleeves that fit over the forks and attach via chains, turnbuckles, hoist-grade chains, or wire ropes.

Lift platform forklift attachments can make your existing equipment do double duty. But only if they are used safely and smartly.

 

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