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Any piece of industrial equipment is potentially hazardous is misused or used by somebody without the proper training and experience. But forklift attachments are among the most dangerous because they can affect the vehicle’s stability, capacity and visibility.
The best way to ensure safety while using forklift attachments is to train operators on the use, operation and limitations of each type of tool. Never assume that just because an operator knows how to drive a forklift, they will automatically know how to safely use any type of attachment. Retrain drivers whenever a new attachment is added to the forklift.
Know How to Safely Use Any Forklift Attachment
If you are unsure on how to use the new attachment, consult the owner’s manual or visit the manufacturer’s website. Frequently, attachment producers will post helpful video tutorials that explain in detail the safe operation of their products.
It’s also important to understand the limitations of any forklift attachment, especially its maximum weight capacity. Using forklift attachments can often reduce the maximum load your vehicle can safely lift because the weight of the attachment itself needs to be taken into account.
Like your vehicle, forklift attachments should undergo regularly scheduled maintenance and inspections to ensure they are working optimally. Look at load-bearing components for deformation, especially cracks in the welding. You should also inspect mechanical and hydraulic components and follow the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedule.
Update Forklift Plates with New Data
When a forklift is equipped with attachments that attach to its front, make sure drivers are parking the vehicle so that the attachment is immediately visible to anybody approaching it. Also, change the markings and plates on the vehicle to reflect the new maximum elevation and load capacities. Updated plates can often be obtained by the manufacturer of the attachment.
Never operate a forklift equipped with an attachment beyond the capacity indicated by the manufacturer.
Popular Forklift Attachments
Among the most common forklift attachments are:
- Slipsheet Attachments — These can be used to lift loads without the use of pallets
- Sideshifters — These can shift the vehicle’s forks left or right as needed
- Container Handlers — Large attachments that allow heavy duty forklifts to lift shipping containers
- Carton Clamps — Equipped with a pressure valve that squeezes rather than lifts the load
- Cotton or Pulp Bale Clamps — Designed to grab and hold cotton or paper pulp bales.
- Paper Roll Handlers — Long cylinders that attach to the front of the forklift and can be inserted into heavy paper or carpet rolls
- Barrel Clamps — Side clamps that can life 55 gallon drums or other barrels filled with liquids or other substances
- Rotators — Specialized attachments that can grab and rotate theload
- Telescoping Forks — Extension forks such as those used in reach or turret trucks
- Personnel Platforms — Designed for lifting workers to various heights so they can work on high projects safely.