Operating Your Forklift Boom Attachment Safely

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Forklift boom attachments offer an efficient, productive way to extend the operational value of your forklift. But they are also potentially dangerous forklift attachments that could cause property damage, injury or even death if used improperly.

That’s why understanding how to use a boom attachment safely and requiring anybody using this piece of equipment to follow safety protocols each and every time is so important.

It’s equally important that you create and maintain written paperwork to prove that you are consistently following safety procedures. That way, you can produce this proof for investigators from the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration in the event that an accident occurs.

Forklift Should Be Approved for Booms

Before you use a boom attachment, it’s critical that you determine that your forklift has been approved to be used with booms. This information can be found in your forklift’s owner manual or on the manufacturer’s website. If there is any doubt, you should check with the vehicle maker before using the boom attachment.

Boom attachments are installed onto a forklift using safety restraints, safety pins and other equipment. Make sure that all supplied equipment is applied before using the forklift attachment.

Even if you use all the equipment provided by the manufacturer, the boom attachment can still be dangerous if the people using the equipment haven’t been adequately trained on its proper use. Before anybody uses the boom attachment for your forklift, it’s very important that they receive training on its proper operation. This includes a signed form acknowledging that they have received the necessary training and understand how to properly operate the boom attachment.

Inspect Boom Prior to Each Shift

An inspection of the boom attachment should be performed before each shift. This should include a written inspection form that is signed by the operator and kept on file.

The boom should never be loaded beyond the manufacturer’s specified load limits. this information usually can be found on a decal or metal plate attached to the unit. If you cannot find it, consult your owner’s manual or the manufacturer’s website.

Whenever a boom attachment is being used, the forklift operator should always remain at the controls of the vehicle. The engine should remain running when the boom is carrying a load so that if there is an unexpected event or accident, the boom can be moved or manipulated out of the way without delay.

Secure the Vehicle Being Loaded

When the boom is used to move a load into a wheeled vehicle, it’s important that the receiving vehicle or trailer have its braking system set. You may even want to chock the wheels as an extra safety measure. This prevents the vehicle from rolling away uncontrollably after the load has been placed.

Hard hats and steel-toed boots or shoes are always a good idea in any construction area, but are especially important when a boom attachment is being used. These types of personal safety equipment can help prevent injuries should a load be dropped or tipped.

Employees should be trained to never stand directly below a load that is being held by a boom attachment. In fact, a Controlled Access Zone (CAS) extending outward for ten feet in all directions from the point directly underneath the boom should be established and kept vacant at all times.

Boom attachments for forklifts can make your job easier, but only if they are used safely by everybody.


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